Covid, not congestion, slows traffic to a trickle

Traffic on Christchurch’s busiest roads dropped by 76 per cent over the weekend, with all but essential trips paused during the Covid-19 alert level 4 lockdown.
ChristchurchCity council transport operations manager Steffan Thomas said traffic counting data showed vehicles on Moorhouse Ave west of Antigua St numbered 10,030 on August 14 and 8149 on August 15.
By contrast, the road had 44,368 users on Saturday and 34,521 on Sunday.
In Riccarton Rd west of Division St, traffic fell to 4860 vehicles on Saturday and 4146 users on Sunday.
The same area the weekend before saw 19,101 vehicles on Saturday and 16,155 on Sunday.
Papanui Rd followed the same pattern.
Just 3573 vehicles were recorded north of Holly Rd on Saturday and 2880 on Sunday, dropping from 18,014 on August 14 and 14,738 on August 15.
Cranford St also recorded fewer users north-west of McFaddens Rd, with 5366 on Saturday and 4850 on Sunday, compared with 27,031 and 22,120 the week before.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency senior media manager Andy Knackstedt said there was a combined drop in total traffic of 69.6 per cent along SH74 between Main North Rd and Radcliffe Rd.
"When comparing Sunday to the previous week there is a 70.2 per cent drop in light traffic and a 42.9 per cent drop for heavy traffic," he said.
Looking further back, the drop off was even steeper.
"Traffic volumes were 79.8 per cent lower last week than during the same week in 2019."
Environment Canterbury public transport general manager Stewart Gibbon said the daily passenger average throughout the greater Christchurch area was about 3000, compared to the pre-lockdown weekday average of 35,000.
For example, on August 13 there were 36,437 passengers, whereas last Friday under level 4 there were 2854.
Weekend totals were lower still.
On August 15 there were 14,007 passengers, whereas on Sunday there were 2276.
There had been no significant issues of people unwilling to comply with mask regulations, he said.
"There has been police presence on the network and we have been supplying customers with additional messaging around restrictions and compliance."

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