Sep 21, 2017

Council approves parking compromise on disputed cycleway plan

Christchurch city councillors have ended a long running battle over 500 metres of cycle path on Ferry Rd, choosing an option that retains parking spaces for local businesses and a church.

But the option is the least safe of the three proposed plans for the stretch of Ferry Rd, with one cycling advocate claiming the local businesses "held the city to ransom".

Councillors amended the option, calling for staff to provide separation between cyclists and pedestrians at busy spots, maximise set backs at driveways, focus on priority and safety for cyclists at all intersections between Fitzgerald and Moorhouse Aves and increase the "buffer zone" between parked cars and the cycleway. The councillors on the infrastructure, transport and environment committee voted unanimously for the compromise option.

he original plan for the small stretch of the cycleway on Ferry Rd between Fitzgerald Ave and Wilsons Rd would have removed all but 10 of the 70 parking spaces, but the compromise plan retains 53 parking spaces. Local businesses and the Grace Vineyard church were concerned the original plan would adversely affect them.

The original plan proposed a dedicated lane for cyclists on both sides of Ferry Rd, but the compromise plan features wider footpaths on either side of Ferry Road to create a shared route for cyclists and pedestrians.

Cycling advocate Don Babe said the original option would have been much safer for cyclists.

"We can't see why the whole city should be held ransom by one church and three or four businesses."

Cyclists would have to stop at intersections, as vehicles turning off Ferry Rd would have right of way, he said.

It is possible it could cause accidents because it is hard to look behind you to see if someone is turning into a street you are coming towards."

Babe was relaxed about sharing the path with pedestrians.

Traffic engineering consultant Ray Edwards, who represents the Ferry Rd Business Owners Group, was pleased with the decision.

"It is the best compromise solution," he said.

"The original proposal removed all the car parks. It was a ridiculous solution because it massively favoured priority for cyclists at a significant disadvantage to local business. It was not a surprise that local businesses strongly opposed it."

Pastor David MacGregor, of Grace Vineyard Church, thanked councillors for choosing the compromise option.

"I feel slightly emotional. Thank you so much. I am really grateful for you guys listening to us.

"I am so grateful that you have compromised. It means so much to us. It would have really hurt us if they had done that."

Councillor Sara Templeton said local businesses did not need to be scared of new cycle lanes.

"It is really difficult to retrofit major cycle ways into existing infrastructure with existing businesses who are scared of a change, but they do not need to be scared.

"We will look back and wonder why the transition was so hard."

Councillor Aaron Keown said compromise was required for the cycle lanes.

"If we keep battling communities we won't have them on board and having them on board is a key part of changing these cycleways."

Councillor Pauline Cotter said it had been a "long journey" to a decision on the cycle lane.

"We have had to carefully balance and compromise because we want the best for everyone."

 - Stuff