Northern Arterial – CCC decision welcomed

Christchurch City Council (CCC) today voted on the Christchurch Northern Corridor project. We applaud their decision today as a step in the right direction. I predict that the decision will likely delay the opening of the Christchurch Northern Corridor south of QE2 Drive.

Elected members unanimously passed the recommendations by the joint Linwood-Central-Heathcote and Papanui-Innes community boards to reject the Downstream Effects Management Plan (DEMP) for the Christchurch Northern Corridor. The recommendations were passed in a slightly amended version from what the joint community boards resolved; see below for the details.

protest prior to the city council’s meeting

The likely delayed opening is due to concerns that the negative impacts from significant increases in traffic volumes have not been addressed for the St Albans community. For example, under the city council’s original proposal, traffic volumes on Cranford Street were expected to more than double from an existing 21,000 veh/day (to 48,000 veh/day within 5 years), effectively splitting the community in half.

I have been helping the St Albans community since an initial meeting on 9 March 2019. We’ve had a few dozen meetings since; it’s been a very time-consuming process. But we have significantly shifted the project over the last 3 months; from the initial “how do we mitigate the negative effects of all this additional traffic” to a conversation about how to minimise the amount of traffic that we get in the first place.

The alternative plan that I developed during the 9/10 March weekend uses two of the four lanes of the Northern Arterial for express bus services. This proposal has been adopted by the St Albans Residents’ Association; we have since been asking for bus priority lanes so that commuters have convenient and reliable travel options rather than car travel being increased.

The agencies delivering the project are, at this point, considering a city-bound high-occupancy vehicle lane and express bus services for four hours per day. We argue that’s not good enough yet, and we will further work with the agencies to advance their thinking.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel summed up the situation as follows:

This is an issue that was inherited from an earlier time, and I don’t think that anyone in their right mind today would actually prioritise these so-called “Roads of National Significance” over the top of the absolute need to face up to the reality of our dependence on fossil fuels that single occupancy vehicle use absolutely encourages. … This is what the climate emergency was all about, is actually facing up to the reality that things do need to change.  There is a frustration that you can hear in my voice. Times up! Times up for our dependency! We actually have to find a better way.

We need healthy streets to live on

Resolution

The 13 June 2019 city council resolution was passed unanimously:

15. (LCH & PI) Christchurch Northern Corridor Downstream Effects Management Plan
Council Resolved CNCL/2019/00114
That the Council:

  1. In order to comply with the conditions for the Northern Arterial and Cranford Street Upgrade Designation staff proceed with the proposed Stage 1A package of works as outlined in the report. Noting that the designs proposed will provide for a safer environment for all users and the community.
  2. To help address the issues raised by the community through the consultation processes that staff also proceed with the Stage 1B package of works as outlined in the report.
  3. Staff work with the strategic partners (NZTA, Environment Canterbury and Waimakariri District Council) to deliver the package of Travel Demand Management measures outlined in the report with a view to these being implemented prior to the opening of the Christchurch Northern Corridor. Reporting on progress will occur back to the Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee as part of the bi-monthly transport report, and a further consideration of the matter be brought to Council if there are any undue delays in delivering the Travel Demand Management package of works.
  4. That staff report to the Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee on the monitoring programme and outcomes of the work undertaken in Stage 1A following the opening of the Christchurch Northern Corridor.
  5. That staff investigate and report back to the Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee on the following:
    a. A park and ride facility near QE2 drive.
    b. Pricing mechanisms to manage future traffic demand.
    c. North and south-bound peak-time Public Transport lanes on Cranford and Sherborne Streets.
  6. Note that staff will continue to engage and consult with the community on any further interventions highlighted from the monitoring programme and recommended by the independent traffic expert.
  7. Note that the appropriate community boards will remain closely involved and regularly updated as per 4 and 5.

Moved Councillor Davidson | seconded Councillor Cotter