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Councillors sign off on bus priority measures for Colombo and Papanui bus routes

15 May 2008

Council today adopted proposals for part-time bus lanes and a variety of other measures to improve bus travel along the Colombo Street and Papanui bus routes.

The proposals reflect the previous in-depth consultation with the public and interested parties along the routes. Planners have worked to provide solutions to issues consultation had raised such as loss of parking outside businesses.

On both routes, buses will have a separate lane between 7am and 9am on the inbound route and between 3pm and 6pm on the outbound routes. Outside Thorrington and Selwyn House schools the bus lanes will operate between 4pm and 6pm.

During these hours, cars will not be able to drive or park in the lanes which will be shared with cyclists. However at all other times cars will be able to park in the bus lane.

Mayor Bob Parker says "Staff have found excellent solutions to most issues raised during the consultation and we believe we now have plans which will improve the reliability of travel along this route and ultimately deal with congestion issues as more people turn to bus travel.’’

This comes at a time when rising oil prices allow people to turn to public transport as the most cost-effective and sustainable solution to traffic problems, he says. Bus priority is about making buses more attractive as a means of travel.

Councillors had asked staff to propose bus priority options for the Papanui Road / Main North Road, Queenspark and Colombo Street/ City South routes as part of the Council’s Public Passenger transport Strategy, a joint venture between the Council and Environment Canterbury, says Mr Parker.

City Environment General Manager Jane Parfitt says "These routes were identified as areas where growing congestion is causing significant delays in bus travel time. We are providing measures to help the bus to go first so it can arrive at its destination consistently on time. It’s a win/win situation.’’

"We are pleased the designers have come up with a range of different options suited to the varying needs of each of these routes. They have ensured cycle lanes are improved in all areas and have addressed a wide range of safety issues to help the bus come first."

"Some of the proposed changes caused public debate,’’ he says. "However if we accept that increased use of public transport is the way to deal with the growing problem of traffic congestion in Christchurch, we have to be prepared to adopt the measures to make this happen"

"In many cities around the world, measures which get people out of their cars and on to buses are widely accepted and the designers working on the Christchurch corridors have incorporated the best and most effective of these in their plans.’’

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