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General traffic or limited use for City Mall roads?

15 December 2006

Should general traffic and the tram be allowed to use two one-way slow roads through the City Mall, or should they be reserved for use by cyclists and service and emergency vehicles?

The two roads - that were always to form part of the upgrade - are on Cashel Street from Oxford Terrace to High Street and on High Street running to Hereford Street.

Just what level of traffic is allowed to use the roads will now be the subject of a special consultative procedure, required by the Local Government Act 2002, early next year when the public will be asked to voice their preferred option.

Following submissions from the community, hearings will then be heard in late March or April and Councillors will make a final decision about the level of vehicle usage in May.

This decision will not hold up detailed design plans or construction as the roads have always been in the plan, the decision is about what sort of vehicles will be allowed access to the roads.

Christchurch City Councillors last week passed the amended City Mall concept design aimed at revitalising the area, which strongly reflects community input following consultation earlier this year.

This decision means staff can begin on detailed design plans to come back to Councillors for comment – probably in March 2007.

Council Project Manager Clarrie Pearce says these plans will provide much more detail on the proposed City Mall upgrade.

"The plans will also answer questions on traffic management, the tram, materials and planting," he says.

Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore says he is absolutely delighted with Council’s foresight in putting an integrated and comprehensive plan in place.

"The whole idea of the City Mall upgrade has always been to encourage retailers, people and residents back into the central city," Mr Moore says.

At the meeting Councillors also approved the installation of a concrete base along a portion of High Street that would occur during construction; the base would initially be covered by pavers that could be uplifted and reused should tracks need to be put in for a tram extension.

A report on the viability of expanding the tram in the central city is due before Council by June 2007.

Council Central City Planner Maurice Roers says it is hoped that construction of the City Mall upgrade will begin in June 2007.

"It is expected the entire project will take three years to complete."

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