Christchurch: Creating a World-Class Cycling Network in a Transition City
The New Zealand city of Christchurch suffered a series of devastating earthquakes in 2010-11 that changed the urban landscape forever. A new rebuilt city is now underway, largely based on the expressed wishes of the populace to see Christchurch return to being a more people-oriented, cycle-friendly city that it was known for in decades past. Currently 7% of commuters cycle to work, supported by a 200km network of mostly conventional on-road painted cycle lanes and off-road shared paths. The new "Major Cycleways" plan aims to develop approximately 100km of high-quality cycling routes throughout the city in 5-7 years. The target audience is an unaccompanied 10-year-old cycling, which requires more separated cycleways and low-volume/speed "neighbourhood greenways" to meet this standard. This presentation summarises the steps undertaken to date to start delivering this network. Various pieces of research have helped to identify the types of infrastructure preferred by those currently not regularly cycling, as well as helping to assess the merits of different route choices. Conceptual cycleway guidelines have now been translated into detailed design principles for the different types of infrastructure being planned. While much of this work is based on successful designs from overseas, including professional advice from Dutch practitioners, an interesting challenge has been to adapt these designs as required to suit local road environments and road user expectations. The first parts of the new network are being rolled out now, with the hope that this will produce an attractive and resilient network for the future population that leads to cycling being a major part of the local way of life.