Pedestrians get priority in Christchurch transport plan

Traffic will be slowed and pedestrians will be given priority in post-quake Christchurch under a draft transport plan the public is invited to have their say on.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the plan prioritises streets for buses, cycles, pedestrians, and cars to improve travel across the rebuilt city.

Cathedral Square will be "largely pedestrian" and the CBD's speed limits reduced to 30kmh.

Pedestrians will have priority on central streets, with walkways to Hagley Park.

Transport was excluded from the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan when it was launched in July.

The new Accessible City draft Transport Plan has today been released and the public had been invited to make comments and contributions.

Public transport routes and infrastructure will encourage bus travel to and from the central city.

The Bus Interchange will be located in the block bounded by Tuam, Colombo, Manchester and Lichfield streets.

It will also cater for inter city coaches, airport transfers and taxis.

City centre routes will be high frequency and every 10 minutes in peak periods.

Bus stops will be on every two city blocks.

"It won't be hard to get around," says CCDU head Warwick Isaacs.

The plan includes capacity for 6000 off-street car parks.

A "super stop" will be near the hospital with good access to the Metro Sports Facility, health precinct and South Frame in the blueprint.

The city council is also considering repairing the heritage tram system.

Mr Brownlee said the plan was another milestone on the road to recovery.

He praised the inclusion of two traffic speed limits, with a top speed of 30kmh in the CBD and 50kmh on arterial routes.

The public has until February 1 to have a say on the plan.

Neither Brownlee nor Isaacs would say how much it will cost to implement the plan, until after the consultation period.

Mayor Bob Parker gave cautious support to the plan, saying the public now had to "get stuck in" and have their say.

He said the overall vision was "very close" to the acclaimed Share an Idea scheme earlier this year which invited the public to say how they wanted their rebuilt city to look.

All the elements were there, including a cycle-friendly city. It just needed to be implemented, he said.

Mr Parker said the speed limits and the one-way streets could cause controversy, as it was thought the one-way systems were "canyons that divided the city".

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