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Bus priority measures considered in ChCh

Tuesday 4 April 2006

Bus priority measures considered for Colombo, Papanui & Queenspark corridors

Ways to help buses move more quickly along three of Christchurch’s main arterial routes are being considered by Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury and will be made available to the public within the next few months.

The three corridors being looked at for improvement are Main North Rd/Papanui Rd (QEII drive to the city), Colombo St/Cashmere Rd ( Princess Margaret Hospital to the city) and Queenspark bus route (to the city via New Brighton Rd/Shirley Rd/Hills Rd).

“These have been identified for some time by the Councils as corridors that could benefit from bus priority measures to help buses break through traffic congestion and make public transport more reliable,” Council transport planner Robert Woods said.

“Among the measures that will be considered are bus stop improvements, special traffic signal controls for buses, bus lanes and other methods that will safely give buses priority along the corridors,” he said. “People tend to think that bus priority simply means bus lanes but there are a wide range of tools that can be used.”

Introduction of some of the bus priority measures is likely to be later this year in keeping with the targets of the Council and Environment Canterbury’s joint Public Passenger Transport Strategy. The aims of this strategy are to increase the use of buses, reduce the amount of car use and avoid the undesirable effects of growing traffic congestion including increased and variable travel times, traffic noise, pollution and reduced safety.

Slow journeys and growing unreliability were identified during public consultation on the strategy as the most important factors deterring Christchurch residents from using buses more often. “These can be addressed most effectively by giving our buses a higher status on congested roads,” Mr Woods said.

“I think traffic congestion on the three corridors we are considering has got to the point that most motorists will be able to understand that changes are needed. In time, we hope drivers will envy bus passengers, leave their cars at home and traffic congestion will be greatly reduced,” he said.

The first of the bus priority proposals could be made available to the public as early as May. Councillors will be asked to approve them and work will start on implementing the first of them.

More information about this project can be found at www.ccc.govt.nz/environment/transport/buspriority. Brochures will shortly be available from Council Service Centres, Christchurch City Libraries and Civic Offices, Tuam St

Background

Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury are partners in the Public Passenger Transport Strategy. The Council is responsible for maintaining and replacing all infrastructure associated with streets (eg the road and its markings, the footpaths, traffic signals, traffic signs, bus stops etc), while ECan is responsible for planning, procuring and administering bus service contracts that run on the Council’s streets and that are provided by the three current operators (Red Bus, Leopard and Christchurch Bus Services).

ENDS

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