Businesses and residents in St Albans are none too impressed with the design Christchurch City Council has come up with for the Papanui Parallel cycleway.
And they told the council staff undertaking the first consultation meeting at the St Albans Community Centre on November 11, what they thought of the proposal.
One business owner described it as a “man-made disaster” and compared it with the impact of the quakes on St Albans, which they are still dealing with.
Businesses at Edgeware Village object to the removal of 25 car parking spaces, which will make it more difficult to shop there and could bankrupt some businesses. Removal of parking on the east side of the affected St Albans roads is also going to rile residents.
Residents and businesses also object to the planned double cul de sac in Trafalgar St, near Sheppard Place, which may well slow traffic down but will push more people towards shopping in Merivale and not Edgeware Village as there will no longer be a through route.
Like the planned arterial route extension down Cranford St, the strangling of Trafalgar St will split the suburb in two.
The business owners were irritated because the council staff had not contacted them to discuss the impact of car parking spaces being removed. They do appear to have consulted a group called Accessible Canterbury but not groups representing those likely to be the most impacted by changes. The detailed plan had come as a “nasty surprise” in the last week. SARA, the residents association likewise has not been consulted, despite repeated requests to councillors and council staff on previous occasions that they do so on matters concerning the community and so much earlier than a month before submissions close.
The removal of street parking will also affect residents, particularly those less well off and living in large housing blocks without off-street garaging. Trees will also be removed but most will be placed back somewhere in St Albans, according to council staff at the meeting.
However Council staff assured those at the meeting that the plan was not set in concrete. They did however reveal that a much larger document had been prepared and three other route variations had been rejected but did not go into much detail. Some people at the meeting regarded this as council staff making their minds up and trying to direct councillors and residents towards a fait accompli by only providing information about their preferred option and not others in the consultation document.
If there was a consensus at the meeting, it was that the council should look at traffic-slowing alternatives to strangling Trafalgar St with a double cul de sac, consider putting part of the cycleway down a street they had earlier rejected as an option and having two way cycleways on one side of the road on more stretches, because there just is not the space in narrow St Albans streets.
The needs of residents and business owners in St Albans need to be taken into consideration just as much as the future cyclists’ needs heading to their homes in Papanui and beyond have already been.
The proposed Papanui Parallel cycleway, which is planned for completion in 2017, starts at Bealey Ave, runs along Colombo St, turns left into Edgeware Rd briefly to access Trafalgar St. It then turns right into Rutland St and continues until the reserve area where Rutland St bends. The cycleway continues on to the Northlands Mall area on a new pathway.
The next public meeting is a lunchtime meeting on November 17 at North City Church followed by another early evening meeting at Paparoa St School on November 23. Submissions are due in by December 2. A decision will be made in mid February.