The transport plan for central Christchurch has finally been released, and it’s another piece in a rather underwhelming jigsaw puzzle. There are a few things that are going to piss off some people – Tuam St being changed to a one-way street, whilst Kilmore, Salisbury and Lichfield St are reverted to two-way from their current one-way. Also, the speed limit for the “core” of the CBD will be dropped to 30km/h – though as Eric Crampton pointed out on twitter, that’s effectively what we have now.
While the plan says lots of nice things about cycling and pedestrians, call me cynical (go on, do it. I dare you) but I can’t help but be underwhelmed by this announcement. The transport plan on it’s own won’t do much to revitalize the inner city, but then, what will? There are two things in the plan that I do have problems with – the bus exchange, and the widening of Manchester St. The bus exchange is going to go onto the Tuam St site of the old CCC / Millers building – which is a magnificent building which could and should be saved, not knocked down to create a bus terminal. Secondly, the widening of Manchester St will see a bunch of buildings torn down – some of the last remaining ones in the CBD, as well as ones that have been built since the quakes – so they can get a bus lane in. Manchester St was very prone to traffic jamming pre-quakes, so I’m not convinced that running buses down it will sort that issue out.
It will be interesting to see how the new Council responds to this plan, and whether they agree with all the aspects of it. After all, they – not the government – are ultimately the ones who are going to have to administer it.