CCC Annual Plan Due 1 April
Please make a sub Now. Even a short sub counts and Spoke’s sub is counted as one by Council.
The link provides links to both the summary and complete draft Long Term Plans.
Spokes supports Council’s moving forward the completion dates of Major Cycle Routes, MCR’s. Spokes also appreciates the focus on keeping rates rises and borrowing to a minimum.
Council can do more to achieve its goals. To that end Spokes offers our concerns.
Just what is the commitment to cycling at Council?
In the Annual Plan summary, page 12, it is clearly stated that the Major Cycle Routes, MCR’s have been advanced to secure central government funding which may not be available in the future. This is forward looking and sensible. Given that this funding also funds underground utility improvements, kerb and channel upgrades and intersection improvements it is a pragmatic way to repair quake damage and upgrade infrastructure at significant savings. It is estimated that between half and two thirds of MCR expense is due to non-cycle specific improvements.
Good on Council for moving forward on the MCR’s and getting the maximum benefit for ratepayers from central government contributions. But that should not be the main impetus for deciding on funding for cycling or the projects to be advanced. Completing the MCR’s and the local cycle networks to connect them is forward looking and sensible.
Council has promoted the focus on the MCR’s as a way to get the ‘interested but concerned’ cyclists onto their bikes. It has been successful. The infrastructure already delivered has exceeded user numbers projected through 2030.
Funding support for cycling aside from the MCR’s is weak. The ratepayer contribution to cycling infrastructure is woefully out of balance with the numbers of people choosing to cycle in Christchurch.
About 7%+ of Christchurch commuters are on bicycles. Growing that percentage will significantly reduce the funds required to expand existing roads and build new roading infrastructure.
What are the shortcomings? Cycle parking receives $20,000.00 total funding in 2019-20 and again in 2020-21 years with no funding in 2021-22 year. Funding for car parking is $724,000 in 2019-20, $6.844mill in 2020-21 and $572,000.00 in 2021-22. Please increase funding for cycle parking to 10% of car parking funding.
In 2019-20 cycle parking receives 02.7% of the car parking budget. In 2020-21 cycle parking receives 0.029% of the parking budget. In 2021-22 cycle parking is not funded.
Cycle parking, like cycle infrastructure generally, has been grossly neglected for decades.
Funding to create the local cycle links needed to connect the MCR’s and to make streets safer for commuter cyclists who need to get from a to b efficiently is grossly lacking.
NZTA provides up to 66% of the funding for the MCR’s. MCR funding reduced by 60% offers a conservative indication of the percentage of the total (Roads and Footpaths plus Transport allocations) budget provided for cycle infrastructure.
In 2019-20 cycling infrastructure, primarily the MCR’s receives just shy of 13% of total funding. In 2020-21 this jumps to 19.45% and in 2021-22 it plummets to 4.2%. And that includes the MCR funding which benefits quake replacement and upgrades, as much as 50% of the costs.
Subtracting the funding for the MCR’s, which Council has stated clearly are being built to secure the NZTA funding and which provide even greater overall infrastructure benefits, cycle funding in Christchurch for the three year period drops to just $6.9 mill or 1.74% of total funding. Nearly $5mill of that is to give cyclists a way to get off of Cranford Street, now to be turned over to cars thanks to the Northern Arterial Extension.
That reduces non MCR cycle infrastructure Council funding to just half a percent of the total roading spend. Clearly cycle funding is driven by the desire to secure central government funds and in an attempt to mitigate one of the worst car centric roading debacles in Christchurch. The actual needs of people who cycle have negligible impact on funding decisions.
People who cycle, or would like to are offered 0.5% of transport funding for much needed cycle infrastructure to provide the local cycle networks to connect the MCR’s. This coming from a Council which features a focus on reducing emissions and confronting climate change. It is clear that those who drafted this plan lost sight of both need and policy.
Quoting from the Mayor’s letter in the consultation document one of the non-prioritized featured goals is “• Increasing active, public and shared transport opportunities and use.” The MCR’s alone do not achieve this goal. The minimal additional funding is a paltry contribution towards achieving it.
The Mayor goes on to report that “It is also vital that we develop an emissions reduction programme to ensure that we meet our targets of net carbon neutrality by 2030 as a Council and 2050 as a city.” To achieve that goal will require drastic cuts to transport related emissions. Active transport achieves the greatest cuts possible.
Council has adopted some laudable policies and goals. To achieve them requires major funding for active transport. Moving people out of cars and onto bikes, scooters, etc has the potential to greatly reduce both capital and maintenance expenses. In turn rate’s rises and borrowing can be reduced and our city can achieve the promise of being a great place which people choose to live in.
Spokes asks that at least 7% of all transport spending be guided by the needs of people who choose to cycle. As active transport becomes more common this percentage will need to increase.