Councillors interrogate the DEMP

At the February 14 Christchurch City Council Meeting councillors had the opportunity to ask questions about the downstream effects management plan (DEMP)  dealing with traffic coming off the motorway in 2020.
This transcript with timestamps was prepared by Mark Wilson and should be used as a guide to the video recording on the city council website.

The answers were provided by independent traffic engineer Dr Shayne Turner or Richard Osbourne who is employed by the city council and works alongside Dr Turner. Councillors’ questions and comments are in bold. Some answers have been abbreviated and/or interpreted by Mark Wilson.

[9.55] Cr Pauline Cotter – Will the community be able to feed into the three traffic demand (TDM) working groups?

Answer – There is a programme steering group of the relevant organisations which is being led by NZTA, planners will get back to her.

Cr Cotter – What about park and ride/bike in QE2 drive and in the Waimakariri?

Answer – not answered

Cr Cotter – The report has preferred options, what is the process around those, you recommend the design start on those very soon?

Answer – CCC have done more consultation than has been legally required to. CCC aren’t able to start anything without the approval of councillors however. Work that would need to be completed before the CNC opens would need to have further consultation, ie intersection upgrades, clearway implementation on Cranford St.

[15.00] Cr Mike Davidson – The PT work is essentially invisible to the community. Has modelling looked at what happens if the modelling looks at TDM measures put in place?
Answer – Only modelling done on HOV lane. The plan did take into account the HOV lane is put in place on the CNC, but no other modelling for TDMs has been done. There is an option for extending the HOV down to Bealey Ave but this is a very complex tool to put through an urban environment.

Cr Davidson – Regarding the separation of community with a raised median strip to stop right turns along long lengths of Cranford St, leaving Innes Rd as the only right turn for West bound traffic, have you looked at the impact of this traffic on Innes Rd?

Answer – Not really, more modelling probably should be done, but there are carparks that could be banned for traffic to pass backed up cars to access local streets through Roosevelt Ave.

[20.40] Cr Phil Clearwater – Is NZTA able to assist in the extension of the HOV lane through to Bealey Ave.

Answer – NZTA recommends HOV on CNC only at the moment, Dr Turner supports it being extended, CCC is working with NZTA on this. But HOV lanes in an urban environment are complicated and can cause unintended rat running.

Cr Clearwater – What about park and ride, are we talking to Ecan and Waimakariri DC?

Answer – CCC are discussing with Ecan and Waimakariri but they are in a different funding stage to us.

[22.50] Cr Deon Swiggs – Is the PT futures group looking at rail/ trains for mass transit as well?
Answer – The group is looking at mass transit along the North South corridors, trains are one type of PT but this is not something to be implemented in the near future.

[24.10] Cr Sarah Templeton – A question regarding Stage 2, Stage 1 looks at traffic moving through the community, Stage 2 starts looking at how the community moves later, is there any community mapping within the plan?

Answer – No the planners haven’t had time to do this, the timeframes have been and are too tight.

Cr Templeton – Is there funding for helping the community to move within the local area?

Answer – Not sure re money, but there is a lot more traffic so mitigating traffic is the focus to help community to move around, so no rat running and upgrading intersections for school children especially ie cycle lanes in some areas like Westminster / Cranford St intersection.

Cr Templeton – Has any community mapping been done from a community perspective of where they go and how they get there ?

Answer – The key aspect of the study is the monitoring of traffic volume increases, so the planners have baseline data on traffic, there is no cycle or pedestrian data yet. CCC could collect more data in this area in key areas such as Cranford / Westminster intersection.

Cr Templeton – It’s not just about collecting data but doing something about it.

[33.00] Cr Glenn Livingstone – Regarding the 30 per cent threshold, relating to street design, how can we nip this traffic growth in the bud before it overtakes us?

Answer – CCC will monitor before and after for at least 10 years. The models show over 30 per cent traffic on major roads, the limitations in the modelling for the other roads is a lot greater. If other roads show more traffic than modelled, the public will certainly inform CCC no doubt. Monitoring will then start and at least two years will be needed to come up with and implement a solution.

Cr Livingstone – How much thought has been given to the consultation approach?

Answer – Three rounds of consultation have been undertaken, Dr Turner has had feedback from community to feed directly into his report. CCC feels it’s been pretty comprehensive.

[38.00] Cr Yani Johannsen – Please clarify the sequencing, CCC is committing investment to a bunch of roading projects ahead of the PT futures business case going to Government, which suggests some rail or light rail transit high occupancy system for the same corridor.

Answer – The motorway is part of the National roads of significance, and a product of the previous government, contracts were signed and now the roads are being delivered. Part of the benefit of this project is it removes vehicles from Main North Rd and Papanui Rd by putting it on Cranford St, that then enables those routes to be used for PT, that route is intended to be the key PT route from the North into the city.

Cr Johannsen – Based on the Christchurch Transport Strategic Plan (CTSP) how does the DEMP address its aims?, which are, reshaping travel demands to reduce oil dependence, invest in green infrastructure and enhancements, and reducing our domestic transport CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2040.

Answer – CTSP needs to be read in its entirety. The CNC including the NART is consistent with the CTSP (no other reason was given). In terms of climate change, it is an issue for this but what the NART seeks to achieve is to take traffic off Main North and Papanui Rd. There is also a cycle lane along the CNC and an HOV lane will be most probably implemented on the motorway as well. But yes the CNC raises some issues in regards to the CTSP.

Cr Johannsen – The DEMP has nothing in it regarding the effects on the central city plan with all this traffic, we are trying to reduce and slow the traffic?

Answer – The Christchurch recovery plan does look to reduce the number of vehicles coming into the city, but a large number of the vehicles using this corridor will be people coming from North Canterbury working in the central city, that’s why we need to consider work on park and ride and other PTs and cycleways, But once the commuters are on the corridors we need to manage the corridors and reduce the traffic going across them in the future.

Cr Johannsen – What happens to the traffic once it hits Bealey Ave?

[46.45] Mayor Dalziel – The requirements of the resource consent deals only with the downstream impacts.

[47.00] Cr Cotter – Bealey Ave and Innes Rd West are out of scope of this plan, but the Papanui/Innes Community Board requested work to be done around both of those areas.

[47.15] Cr Davidson – I thought there would be something covered in this meeting regarding this.

[47.25] Cr Johannsen – Is there a map saying we won’t consider traffic effects beyond Bealey Ave?

Answer – No, but Madras and Barbadoes are streets CCC encourage commuters to use.

Cr Johannsen – The key part of the central city plan was to have traffic use the 4 Aves and reduce traffic speeds and volumes within.

Answer – Traffic with no destination within the city should use the Four Avenues, traffic heading into the city should use Madras, Barbadoes and Durham St.

Cr Johannsen – Do you have evidence that when you build motorways and widen roads that it displaces traffic from other corridors, some local examples of where this hasn’t happened locally is Brougham and Moorhouse Ave, or Blenheim Rd and the Southern Motorway?

Answer – the models predict reduced traffic volumes on Marshlands, Main North and Papanui Rds. These models have been peer reviewed.

Cr Johannsen – We don’t have any historical evidence that volumes will decrease on these roads?

Answer – It’s very difficult to take examples from other places and apply to this situation.

[51.20] Mayor Lianne Dalziel – Unfortunately its case of build it and they will come is a truism of only bridges and motorways.

[51.35] Cr Davidson – Will the clearways on Cranford St Create a greater danger for cyclists whilst in time of use?

Answer – The recommendations are for people to use alternative routes, ie the Papanui parallel and/or other secondary routes, but yes it’s more dangerous during times of use.

Cr Davidson – Part of the DEMP is to provide safe cycling passage east of Cranford St is in stage 3, there will be a period of time where cycling in the community is more dangerous than it is now?

Answer – Again, cyclists should use the Papanui parallel until the secondary route is built.

Cr Davidson – There are cycling commuters that will take the most direct route and they have a right to, I’m concerned about this.

Answer – To accommodate cyclists on Cranford St, widening of the road would be needed, that then inhibits people getting in and out of their driveways. There are lots of examples where a route is prioritised for a specific mode in other countries.

Cr Davidson – That’s not in line with the Government Policy Statement on transport where they want mode neutrality, and a focus on active transport, this plan is saying you can bike down here but it’s dangerous.

Answer – none given.

[54.45] Cr Cotter – The signalised crossing by English Park, is that going to cause the traffic to back up and encourage rat running?

Answer – It needs further investigation to see if it would cause rat running, but the traffic signals can be phased to allow a green wave of traffic to move through. It does need more modelling as well as South of Berwick St in terms of what roads get clearways. A different type of modelling tool would need to be used in those areas.

Cr Cotter – Can the community feedback bring aspects of Stage 3 forward to Stage 1 and vice versa?

Answer – Yes and that’s why the CCC are going out for more consultation.

[57.45] Cr Johannsen – Have we engaged with the central government or the local MPs?

Answer – We are seeking today your approval to engage on this.

[58.10] Cr Templeton – Requests a resolution to work with local communities on local access needs.

Answer – Assurance is given this will happen.

[1.03;15] Mayor Dalziel – In 2012 CCC adopted the CTSP which include the NART and Cranford St upgraded, it was at that time, there was no turning back. Would that be a decision I would make today, NO, would I make a decision to increase access for vehicle traffic from the North into the city, NO. But it wasn’t a series of decisions we were involved in. But it’s not an immediate impact, the impact begins in 2020, next year, that’s why I support the resolution to receive the DEMP, so we can get feedback from the community. The final sign off won’t happen for some time yet but it does look like some of the work will need to happen before the 2020 situation, others can wait till we see the actual effects. It’s the traffic demand management that’s the key. If we don’t get people out of single occupant vehicles and onto public transport then the whole premise this was designed on simply fails. The CCC, Waimakariri District Council, Ecan, NZTA need to work hand in glove to make that happen.

Councillors Davidson, Johannsen, Swiggs and Scandrett voted against receiving the DEMP.

DEMP= Downstream Effects Management Programmes
CTSP = Christchurch Transport Strategic Plan
NART = Northern Arterial, the link between the northern motorway and Cranford St

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