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Christchruch: Surgery For Colombo Street - Q&A

SURGERY FOR COLOMBO STREET


Nip-and-tuck procedures are being used to unclog Colombo Street traffic.

The improvements to the main south artery to the heart of the city follow consultation with Colombo Street businesses, bus and taxi operators.
The Christchurch City Council’s Transportation Planning Engineer, Paul Roberts, says the $190,000 changes will help the revitalisation of Christchurch’s central city.
“Colombo Street is the city’s main artery,” he says. “You cannot have a strong heart to the city with weak, clogged arteries.”
The improvements will unclog the traffic flow although no radical surgery is required, Mr Roberts says.
He says all that is required is a series of small “nip and tuck” changes.
The big winners from the changes will be Colombo Street businesses, taxi and bus operators and their passengers, he says.
A number of 60-minute metered parking spaces will be replaced with free 10-minute spaces.
One of the key improvements will be the restriction of right-hand turns from Colombo Street across the traffic flow into Gloucester, Hereford and Tuam streets, Mr Roberts says.
The overall focus of the changes is to improve access for people wanting to reach destinations along Colombo Street but not motorists using it as a through road.
The one-way street system is designed to provide convenient movement through the central city and motorists should use these streets, rather than Colombo Street, to reach destinations along side streets, he says.


Further information: Paul Roberts: 371 1618.

To: Chief Reporter / Council Reporter
From: David Gee - Journalist
Media statement 10 October 2000


Colombo Street Questions and Answers


Q. What’s the problem with Colombo Street?

Colombo Street, our city’s main artery has become clogged. That’s causing real problems for Colombo Street businesses, motorists and travellers that use it. Bus and taxi operators said their passengers got anxious over delays, and many motorists were just fed up with the whole situation.


Q. Why is it so important to relieve congestion along Colombo Street?

Colombo Street is the city’s main artery. It’s the premier shopping street in Christchurch, and an important transport route making it essential to the health and vitality of the heart of the city. Revitalising the heart of the city is a top priority, and that means the main artery needs a clean bill of health. Without it, our city’s heart could go on dying.


Q. How were the solutions developed?

We studied the traffic flows to try and identify what was causing the problems. We also talked to businesses, bus and taxi operators about their concerns. We discovered that motorists making right hand turns across the traffic flows at a few key intersections were responsible for much of the congestion. These were people using Colombo Street as a through route or a short cut – they weren’t trying to reach Colombo Street shops or businesses.

If we could discourage people from using Colombo Street as a short cut, or a through route, it would function better for people wanting to shop or visit destinations along it, and make it easier for buses and taxis to travel along this important transport route. That in turn would be better for Colombo Street businesses.


Q. Are we going to see big changes?

The solution to improving the flow of traffic on Colombo Street isn’t the radical ‘surgery’ some people imagined. That’s because motorists making right hand turns across the traffic flows at a few key intersections cause much of the congestion on Colombo Street.

By removing these right hand turns (a little ‘nip and tuck’ surgery) at the Gloucester, Hereford and Tuam Street intersections, the traffic will be able to flow smoothly along Colombo Street. Motorists will still be able to turn from side streets onto Colombo Street, which will assist shopper traffic but discourage through traffic.

The Moorhouse Avenue intersection will be changed to make it more efficient. Right hand turns from Moorhouse Avenue into Colombo Street will be removed, and a new bus, taxi and cycle only lane created. U-turn lanes will be provided at the intersection to allow safer access to shops and amenities such as the Harvey Norman complex and Pak ‘n’ Save.


Q. What do the Colombo Street businesses think about these changes?

We consulted Colombo Street businesses, taxi and bus operators about what changes might be required to improve Colombo Street.

Businesses told us they wanted good access and plenty of car parking. We agreed to change some 60-minute metered spaces for 10-minute free spaces. In addition, 200 new car parks will be available off-street above the Bus Exchange at the Crossing.

Taxi and bus operators wanted fewer delays to ensure their passengers reached their destinations on time. Bus and taxi (and cycle) only lanes will be installed to allow these road users to get ahead of traffic queues.


Q. How will these changes affect motorists?

As well as relieving congestion and speeding up the traffic flow the improvements will make Colombo Street safer for motorists, without cars turning right across the traffic flow. Motorists wanting to shop along Colombo Street will find it easier to drive and the new free 10-minute unmetered parking spaces are sure to prove popular. The only motorists who may feel disadvantaged, are those using Colombo Street as a through route or a short cut. They will now need to use alternative routes, such as the one-way system, which they may find more convenient anyway.


Q. What difference will these changes make for bus and taxi passengers?

Bus and taxi passengers will be big winners from these changes. Short bus and taxi lanes will allow buses and taxis to get ahead of traffic queues, ensuring their passengers get to their destinations on time.


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