Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Christchurch city politicos and admin "Totally incompetent" ?? YOU BE THE JUDGE!

Dame Bazley, head of the ECan junta has described Christchurch City Council " as totally incompetent" after the failure of Council to meet multiple deadlines  for the erection of a super bus shelter.  

This situation involves less than a years planning  and raises question of whether Bazley is being premature and unfair   How effective the Christchurch City Council is in building quality public transport  infrastructure is probably better evaluated across a longer period, as for example in the city's low end alternative to a full rapid transit strategy.

"Totally incompetent" ??  YOU BE THE JUDGE!


Bus lanes expected to reduce Chch travel times
MATHIAS, PeterThe Press. Christchurch, New Zealand: Jun 13, 1996.

Riccarton Rd bus clearway scheme axed
MATHIAS, PeterThe Press. Christchurch, New Zealand: Jul 25, 1996.

The council last night voted 12-10 against a plan to create clearways during peak hours for buses, taxis, and cycles after hearing from business and community leaders who said there was overwhelming opposition to it.

Eight Years later....

More bus lanes planned             
Stan DARLING,  . The Press  Christchurch, New Zealand] 11 Aug 2004: A; 15.
Buses -- love or hate them -- could be the only realistic answer to Cristchurch's growing congestion woes. STAN DARLING looks at plans to give buses a head start over cars and finds out why some retailers think bus lanes are the road to ruin. FACT BOX - Christchurch could have three bus- priority commuter routes by June 2006 -- from Belfast, Queenspark and Princess Margaret Hospital to the Bus Exchange.

Nine years after the first attempt to introduce bus lanes, on Riccarton Road

Buses put before cars; Bid to ease arterials
WATSON, LoisThe Press. Christchurch, New Zealand: Apr 17, 2006. pg. A.2
Buses will get priority over cars on three of Christchurch's busiest thoroughfares under a plan to address the city's growing traffic- congestion problem. As early as next month the Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury (ECan) hope to unveil plans to help buses move more quickly along:
* The Main North Road/Papanui Road (QEII Drive to the city).
* Colombo Street/Cashmere Road (Princess Margaret Hospital to the city).
* The Queenspark bus route (to the city via New Brighton Road/ Shirley Road/Hills Road).

However not  so fast,...it was not to be in 2006 ….. but rather two years again, after the “bus boarder” trial

Bus-boarders won't work
WILLIAMS, ChrissieThe Press. Christchurch, New Zealand: Aug 14, 2007. pg. A.9
Letting buses block the road to let passengers on and off is not the solution to Christchurch's public transport problems, writes CHRISSIE WILLIAMS.
Richard West attempts to justify the Christchurch City Council's expensive bus-boarder trial in Hills Road, Shirley (Perspective, August 7). He is correct that buses need priority on congested roads, but the bus- boarder is not a cost-effective or acceptable method to use on Hills Road. It is also not prudent when introducing bus priority for the first time in the city to choose a method that is not easily understood and significantly disaffects other road users. It is puzzling why the council has chosen such an option.

Despite such patently obvious commonsense and wisdom …

Boarder trial extended; HILLS ROAD BUSES
GATES, CharlieThe Press. Christchurch, New Zealand: Oct 10, 2007 pg. A.6
The controversial "bus boarder" trial on Hills Road will be extended for another six months, despite widespread criticism of the scheme from the local community.  Christchurch City councillors voted yesterday to continue the trial at two bus stops on Hills Road until April.

And finally …. 2008 ..."bus lanes are a coming, are a coming"  

$3m bus-lane project aims to target congestion"

AnonymousThe Press [Christchurch, New Zealand] 02 Aug 2008: A.13.Transit New Zealand has announced plans to construct bus lanes along Christchurch's Main North and Main South roads. The work, to cost up to $3m, will begin next year if funding can be found. Transit's Canterbury manager, Colin Knaggs, said that with the proposed Papanui Road bus lane, there would be a continuous lane from the city centre to the Northern Motorway.?

Oh Oh - a further one year later….

Bus lanes useless AnonymousThe Press [Christchurch, New Zealand] 01 Aug 2009: A.17. Work on the Papanui Rd bus- priority lane is to start in August. The Hills Rd bus boarder scheme has been dropped (July 31).  This trial was a waste of ratepayers' money, achieving nothing. The proposed bus lanes may slightly speed up bus trips, but will they be another expensive waste of money

Finally ….

Most motorists prove quick to adapt; Bus drivers 'encouraged' to use $30 [million lanes GREENHILL, MarcThe Press [Christchurch, New Zealand] 07 Oct 2009:
Motorists have so far resisted the temptation to illegally take advantage of Christchurch's first major bus-priority lane. The first section of the Christchurch City Council's $3 million bus lane in Papanui Rd, from Bealey Ave to Innes Rd, opened yesterday. It is one of 10 priority routes planned across the city over the next nine years at a cost of about $30m. The lanes are not continuous but run for large sections of the routes. 
......except the actual congestion points where the main delays occur

....and then predictably the Government changed to one less sympathetic to public transport

Funding shortfall blocks bus-lane project
GATES, CharlieThe Press [Christchurch, New Zealand] 18 Nov 2009: A.6.
The bus-lanes scheme will be reviewed by Christchurch city councillors next year after a Government review of transport spending placed more emphasis on road funding.The review this year granted more funding for state highways, but less for walking, cycling and public transport projects. A bus-priority lane from Papanui to the city centre is already in place and construction of two others from Queenspark and down Colombo St will start in the new year. But the future is uncertain for planned priority routes leading to the city centre from Riccarton, Sumner, New Brighton, Halswell, Cranford St and on the Metrostar and Orbiter routes.
Council environment general manager Jane Parfitt said councillors would review the bus-lane programme in February as part of annual spending plans.  "We will have to look at the timing of some of our capital projects to make sure everything is in line with the funding. We have a (bus priority) programme over the next 10 years and funding has been reduced so council needs to look at them all."

Hands up those who think the city needs to do its homework!!

Back to school  -  Please answer the following questions.

Was the bus lane in Riccarton Road needed? Was this the most urgent place for bus lanes in the city?  If not why was it attempted? If so.why is it still not built after 17  years?  Bob, what’s your answer here?

If it is clear there is “political resistance” to bus lane major arterial roads through commercial areas and this is too strong to over-ride,  – even back 17 years ago, let alone now – why were all of the various other alternatives not assessed? Tony you went on that $28.000 junket to the USA and Canada – you must have a deep professional understanding of public transport?

The two main longer distance commuter transport corridors in Christchurch are South to Hornby, Templeton and Rolleston; north to Northlands, Redwood, Belfast and Kaiapoi/Rangiora. To make a profound difference obviously these route corridors need special assistance - something more than just bus lanes (even if they did exist). 

For example Auckland spent $284 million on the Northern busway; $20 million on the inner city busway (over Grafton Bridge) and de facto $26 million on permanent bus lanes on the Mangere Bridge duplication. This is not counting about $1.5 billion on commuter rail upgrade. 

Nor does it address  the $600 million plus on Wellington commuter rail upgrade.  Wellington is a city with a metropolitan population only 8% bigger than metropolitan Christchurch. 

Almost all except the busway stations came from Government funds so clearly Christchurch had a huge case to at least get some reasonable amount - say minimum  $1-200 million, for specific projects.  Garry you were around in those days, perhaps you could tell the class about all those more sophisticated busway projects in Christchurch the Government turned down.

ESSAY QUESTION ; What sort of competent council would fart around for 13 years when they had a Government in power sympathetic to funding designated public transport projects into the hundreds of millions, including in other cities of comparable size?  Provide examples of such an administration; suggestion - include a sensible major project that ticked all the boxes that was investigated by that administration

In every class there is a smart ass kid!

Road connection
The Press  Christchurch, New Zealand28 Nov 2002:. (letters to editor)
Sir--The proposal to build a road connecting Rutland Street with Grassmere Street seems an excellent one. Where the thinking is flawed is the proposal to build a full-scale road for all vehicles. Is this not a unique opportunity to create a bus-way corridor -- a simple unobtrusive tar-sealed strip controlled at each end by barrier arms activated only by a device in the bus? This would allow peak-hour express buses serving North Canterbury and suburbs north and west of Papanui quick access to and from the city in rush hours via Springfield Road, Rutland Street, and a bus-only corridor, to Northlands  .As virtually all these services would run outside school hours, it would have minimum impact on the school and allow a de facto merger of school and reserve area. These services would completely by-pass the slow vehicle queues up and down Papanui Road and Cranford Street during rush hours, placing commuter buses at the distinct advantage they deserve.- DAVE WELCH St Albans, November 25

Eleven years ago, and many, many messages, letters, submissions sent since,  and still not ever, ever checked out by any qualified transport organisation or professional transport consultancy, never once have I read of exclusive bus corridors being studied or  supported by any politician or local news media. 

The busway concepts referred to above,  in a neat 5 page format were sent to Garry Moore and Ecan in 2005 – and in a bit more rough and overly long format to 31 local body candidates in 2007 local body elections. Despite the huge success of segregated busways in Ottawa** and huge success of busways in Brisbane and Auckland (where 48% of transit commuters to the city now travel on the Northern busway [buses every 3 minutes in peak hours] - despite the fact the busway cost only one sixth the cost of the total suburban rail upgrade to build) and success of busways elsewhere; despite two meaningless generalised studies of commuter rail potential in Christchurch, no city council study has ever be done and published on busway options for Christchurch. 

** The public transport systems of Greater Ottawa, including the adjoining city (across the Ottawa River) of Gatineau. with a combined population of 1.4 million (about Auckland size) carry 123 million passengers a year and the highest annual number of passengers per capita of any smaller cities of North America. Indeed ranking in this significant category an astounding third after New York and Montreal. Only 2 million of these passengers are carried on light rail, the rest by bus including 35km of segregated central city bus-ways, though some new light rail is also

Added 2018 ..... 

Auckland's northern busway and its phenomenal growth in ridership 

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