Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Parking for 2 cars - In Christchurch more important than 2 million bus passengers?

Aldwins Rd Looking eastwards

Aldwins Rd looking westwards

Anyone catching buses in Christchurch nowadays knows what a bloody mess it as become, with many patrons having to spend two-three hours a day getting to-fro work, just to ensure they won't miss transfer connections.  There is no point heading out from home now "only" an hour before you have to start work, a lecture or be at an appointment -  if you have to make transfers or rely upon cross town services - there is a huge chance services will be so far out of kilter - up to 20 minutes late - that you'll miss connections and be putting your job at risk or missing that appointment. Where as most motorists are having to allow an extra 15 minutes in their journeys to allow for road and drain repair works and ensuring traffic hold ups, bus passengers may have to double journey time, on journeys already three times longer than the equivalent car trip. 

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know why Metro lost such a staggering number of passengers following the earthquakes (despite very small numbers leaving the city, and almost everyone back at relocated work and study locations within eight weeks of the Feb 22 2011 high velocity mega-quake ). Nor why regrowth of the bus system, outside one or two selected routes, is so slow to come back, when you see pictures such as those above. 

This is the Aldwins Road approach to Eastgate, the scene of continuous road works and large scale sewer replacement works now for over two years.  Were Metro and Council transport officers "in" on the planning the traffic flow patterns for here, or dozens of similar major long term projects? One can only suppose so, but perhaps they just attended to say "Yes Bill, sure, we'll deviate the buses here and there as necessary, thanks for the schedule of planned works."

OR did they say "This route is vital - before the earthquake we were carrying nearly two million trips a year on the Orbiter - tens of thousands of people depend upon it each week, not only to get around the city but to transfer to and from other routes. This Aldwins Road corridor is also used by other routes. It is imperative if there are to be major ongoing roadworks on this route that we keep bus-flow channels open absolutely as far as possible. If these buses get out of kilter, they can all start clumping up and services run 15-30 minutes late, which can mean an extra 30 -60 minute wait for some transfer passengers further down the line. We are not just talking impact on the services in Eastgate area here - we are talking of adding in city wide delays, screwing everyone around. That sort of thing, unreliability, just absolutely kills patronage and will cost or  waste millions.if transport dollars. Also, the more people we can get out of using cars, the shorter the queues and delays for motorists at these same bottlenecks."

Did I just hear a Tui laugh? 

My guess (with plenty of clues city wide) the thinking is this is not the time to be using emergency powers or council initiative to be taking parking lanes away from people!!  [We saw that in Harper Avenue in the months after the big one!]. And God forbid - just for buses to use? That sure would be crazy  - of course we know it would only take a few thousand dollars to install some concrete footings and overhead signage which can bolted and changed by an overhead truck over the months and years ahead  as roadwork patterns change, for cars direction as well as buses, but no, we are not even going to go there.  

The buses approaching this intersection often took two to three light changes to crawl up from Linwood College (Harrow Street /Linwood Avenue Corner), as much as eight minutes to go 500 metres. At 6.15 pm in the evening, not even the very peak of the rush hour.

Despite plenty of side street parking - or "temporary long term" potential to keep road work signs out of lanes when not needed as a traffic deviation device - just two cars were given complete dominance of this lane.  It says everything, a city that will not commit to quality public transport. 

Inactions speak louder than words!! As usual. Thousands of times each week.


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