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Public consultation for extension of the tramway

27 March 2008

The Christchurch City Council is initiating the second phase of its tramway extension consultation, calling for submissions on the proposed route in central city.

“The Council has approved a route extension to the tram for consultation, and over the next three weeks we will be seeking public response on the overall route extension,” says Dave Hinman, Principal Adviser Central City and Projects from the Council’s Strategy and Planning Group.

Mr Hinman says a significant public support for an extension of the tram through City Mall - revealed during the City Mall refurbishment consultation in 2006 - led to a tram study in 2007 which found that an extension of the existing tram route could bring a number of benefits to Christchurch and to the central city in particular.

The proposed tram extension would rejuvenate this part of the central city by bringing more movement and people, attract additional tourists by expanding the existing tourism experience and create a route that would attract more locals to use the tram, as well as having some capability for integration with a future light rail service, he says.

The Council has considered the detailed location of the tram tracks in each of the streets comprising the route and, following a traffic safety audit and an underground services study, confirmed the extension to Manchester Street as the preferred route, he says. The preferred route also has the potential to be further extended in the future, for example along High Street to the Roman Catholic Cathedral, the Music Centre and Christchurch Polytechnic, he adds.

The preferred route for the tram extension branches off the present line in Worcester Boulevard at Oxford Terrace, travels south along Oxford Terrace beside “the Strip”, turns left (east) into Cashel Mall, then along Cashel Street to Manchester Street, right into High Street, through High Street Mall, Colombo Street and Cathedral Square, rejoining the existing line behind the Cathedral, as illustrated in Map 1 below.

The public consultation, which starts on Monday, will seek to determine whether the tramway should be extended and the appropriateness of the route.

Apart from the overall route consultation, the Council is specifically calling for public comment on the location of the tramway in Colombo Street/Cathedral Square, where the two options available offer both advantages and disadvantages. (See Map 2)

Meanwhile, a Special Consultative Procedure (SCP) is already underway, calling for submissions to be made on the proposal to allow trams into the City Mall (currently designated for pedestrians and service and emergency vehicles only). The draft Annual Plan has set aside $550,000 for the installation of tram rails as part of the City Mall reconstruction.

A Public Information Session on both tram proposals will be held at Our City, O Tautahi (corner of Worcester Boulevard and Oxford Terrace) on Wednesday 9 April, 2008 commencing at 6.00 pm.


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