A Canterbury University cycling expert wants the Government to provide kerb and channel separation to protect cyclists from traffic.
The Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt) appears to be open to the idea.
Professor Simon Kingham said international experience showed more people would bike to and from work to help reduce the country’s petrol consumption.
“Many cycle planners from around the world, including in Portland [in the United States], which is one of the urban cycle success stories, often say ‘build a separate cycleway and cyclists will support it’,” he said.
“Cycling is so good and has so many benefits. It relieves congestion, reduces obesity, helps climate change, and we should do all that we can to encourage more people to cycle.”
A Scirt spokesman said that if there was an opportunity to separate cycle lanes from traffic during a full road reconstruction, this “betterment” would be considered.
However, Christchurch City Council, the NZ Transport Agency and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority would need to determine whether funding was available.
“Scirt’s scope of works is to rebuild to the same level of service that existed before the earthquakes – in other words, generally replacing ‘like with like’,” the spokesman said.
Cycling advocacy group Spokes Canterbury secretary Chrys Horn supported the idea, saying it was “false economy” to replace “like with like”. “We have an opportunity to make roads more cycling and walking- friendly . . . and here we are going hell for leather making what we had before, which wasn’t ideal,” she said.
She said hundreds of people had put forward those views during Share an Idea, and often it was not about extra expense.
If kerbing needed replacing, it would cost the same to widen the footpath to include bikes and narrow the road, she said.
– © Fairfax NZ News
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