Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sure to Rise Christchurch - the dwatted plays town planner!!

Disaster for many but also opportunity - this blogster believes that city should investigate buying the site of these shops (now demolished), rebuild the chemist on a new corner site 50 metres northwards, and  take the opportunity to join Tennyson Street and Somerfield Street. This would allow removal of the awkward Strickland Street/Colombo St intersection  200 metres northwards and be part of creating a easy flow continuous secondary arterial ring road linking QEII Drive in the city's north to Barrington Street in the south.

Every man and his dog has now become a town planner of the new "Sure to Rise" post-earthquakes Christchurch.  I may as well join the throng, though I confess to only the most limited knowledge of relevant statistics (such as traffic stats). As a full-time by choice bus user I don't normally give too much attention to the needs of those pesky motorists!

My concept is based on six ring roads, concentric rings pulsing outwards from Cathedral Square in which road management devices (to varying degrees) enhance ease of traffic movement along each of the ring roads. Add to this five or six outer suburb-CBD busways - corridors partly off road and partly on laned sections of road (where necessary) with priority traffic light triggers and the occasional underpass or overpass. Long term I believe the corridor for a commuter (and freight) rail line from Styx to Islington and Hornby ..then to city and a rail terminus/complex beside the Colombo Street rail overbridge. [search "busway" or "railway" for  postings previously made on these topics]


I believe Christchurch should reduce the one-way system to the outer-most circuit, clockwise direction only - St Asaph St, Montreal St, Salisbury St; Barbadoes St - and one way traffic is only within this loop - the roads that connect to the outer four avenue (such as Montreal north of Salisbury Street corner) become two way again, allowing people greater opportunity to flow on and off this rapid access corridor. This takes rapid access much further away from the central shopping. office and hospitality areas and makes this roading system more of a "get around the central city (CBD) system" that can be entered and left at any point, though obviously works only in one flow direction. A large round about, not a through-way, so to speak

My reasoning is that this still allows rapid access across the CBD - notably and probably most commonly travel in an "L" shape (eg Salisbury then Barbadoes to get to CPIT from Carlton Mill) for local city area and inner suburb residents and from any part of Christchurch doing business and shopping etc in and around the CBD area. In a sense the "L" shaped journey becomes a de facto diagonal, a way to cut across traffic to get to a different quandrant within the area between the four avenues. Built as a rapid access corridor "around the CBD only" it discourages the use of the central areas for through traffic from further away eg Shirley across to Addington.  As it currently stands I suspect alot of people are drawn to travel through the central block (within Four avenues and Hagley Park) because it represents a superior choice to less than effective arterial roads skirting the city centre. (More of this further down)

Enclosed within the one way system would be four two way, in some parts widened boulevards (perhaps with new names) Tuam Boulevard; Manchester Boulevard; Kilmore Boulevard and Durham/Cambridge Boulevard. These would have trees and ideally four lanes with the roadside lanes "slow lanes" combined bike/bus/slow car lanes. Where there are no buildings (or no longer buildings) widening is possible so that on-street parking could be inset. Where large buildings built to the current footpath line exist there would be yellow lines (no parking) retaining the entire street width at this section for moving vehicle lanes and trees and footpath. The inset sections of new buldings between the larger non-earthquake damaged buildings would create little partly sheltered bays at various points along each boulevard, room to park or include outdoor cafes or shops with outside display racks etc

Some arms of these Boulevards over and beyond the square defined above could become major "village streets" ...higher density inner city areas would have "village" style focal points for instance in smaller boutique shops and low rise  apartments above in Manchester Street south of Tuam corner. (For my previous posting on this area and ideas for attracting the pre-retirement more middle of the road types see "Will the REAL Garden City Stand Up", posted back in January)

Green streets [Kilmore, Manchester, Tuam. Cambridge/Durham] - including severely damaged retail streets pushed wider (where possible) and converted to Boulevards; orange retained clockwise (only) one-way system but with two way links to four avenues; pink existing four avenues (to include Deans Avenue)


It is not suggested that the next ring out - beyond the Four Avenues - be a "heavy" ring road such as the Brougham Expressway or QEII Drive  but rather just enhanced arterial roads. Part of the "fourth ring" suggested (from the centre) exists already - Barrington Street/Whiteleigh Avenue/Clarence Road/Straven Road/Idris Road/Glandovey Road/Heaton Street/Innes Road. Typical of the sort of arterial road type enhancement that might occur is south of Fendalton Road, where street side parking has been removed by yellow lines, allowing an extra Southbound lane on Straven to clear the lights.

What is missing in my mind is the other eastern and southern part of this "fourth loop". I believe Emmet Street in Shirley should be connected to Barrington Street in Spreydon by a more or less continuous arterial road running down the eastside, including Stanmore Road. All the existing connections that do not meet exactly would be straightened out to create clear simplified run + intersections. Thus Emmet Street straight across (at lights =L) Shirley Road, down Stapletons veering into alignment with +L Stanmore Road straight down to connect directly to Nursery Road across Moorhouse Ferry (in new intersection pattern) to Wilsons Road past AMI, veering left into Opawa, then (new much needed lights and possibly road widening) to Ensors - straight across Wilsons(south) into St Martins Road, veering right (new T intersection favouring this arterial) into Tennyson Street - until crossing Colombo Street at Beckenham shops. Perhaps Christchurch's annoying habit of often changing the names of straight streets, just because they pass through an intersection, could be addressed and reduced to much longer and more logical sections eg "Tennyson Road" from Opawa Road intersection right through to it hits Barrington Street?

The catastrophic collapse of older shops on the westside of Colombo Street at Beckenham [see opening photo above] and their subsequent demolition leaves the road open for the council to connect Tennyson Street straight across to Somerfield Street (shifting/rebuilding the intact Chemist shop onto the high profile corner to create a straight alignment) and allowing the current clumsy Strickland/Somerfield St/Colombo St intersection to be removed and the land used for added retail or hospitality businesses.

These "clean intersections" - four way +, will allow much smoother traffic flow, than many current situations, not only at Beckenham but also such as at the bottom and the top of Stanmore Road. The plus side of widespread demoltion of quake hammered buildings on corner sites (and not just on the proposed ring roads) is that it will allow road widening intersections to create extra lanes, "queue jumper" lanes for buses and safer bicycle lanes. I imagine these secondary ring roads will take a lot of pressure off arterial roads near Malls, particularly as oil prices starting levelling off or decreasing car use.   

The fourth ring from the city centre (after the boulevard ring, the clockwise only one-way ring, and the Four Avenues ring) joins QEII Drive in a fairly straight run down through Stanmore Road to Tennyson Street, giving clear access to areas currently convoluted by out of date rioading layout.

Noted - The fifth ring road is the existing  major ring road/expressway system which includes QEII Drive, Greers Road, Brougham Street etc.

The sixth "ring" would be some variation of Halswell Junction Road, Carmen Road/Russley Road, Johns Road/ Prestons Road, Mairehau Road) skirting the south-west and north of the city.  

Six rings to rule them all! Pesky motorists!

Running rings around suburban areas of Christchurch probably not a CBD priority I suspect but hugely beneficial to city residents in general.

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