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Chch could become a state of the art cycle-friendly city

Christchurch could become a state of the art cycle-friendly city

August 22, 2013

A University of Canterbury (UC) transport expert believes Christchurch could become a state of the art cycle-friendly city.

Dr Glen Koorey is a senior lecturer in transportation engineering and has researched the possibilities of Christchurch rebuilding to become the best city in New Zealand for cycling.

He is giving a public lecture on campus next week (August 21) about how Christchurch could be rebuilt to better cater for cycle commuting and cycling in general. See preview video clip here: http://youtu.be/2-02J3otaBY

``People love the concept of making cycling more popular and safer in Christchurch and other cities, but they are a little concerned about the traffic. I've done a lot of research into cycle crash rates, factors in cycle fatalities, effects of cycle lanes and separators. We can see how successful reshaped cities are in formerly car-dominated places like Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver where they have really embraced cycling.

``Embracing cycling is not expensive. The Christchurch City Council plans to spend $70 million on cycleways and cycle-friendly streets over the next few years. It sounds a lot but they are probably going to be spending $2 billion on transport in the next decade.

``Then there are the benefits. It’s more economic and healthier to cycle. And those that still drive are better off as there are fewer cars on the road. The national economy benefits as well, as less money is spent operating cars (which can be spent instead on local businesses) and, potentially, we can make savings on our national roading budget as well, due to reduced maintenance and congestion demands.’’

Dr Koorey has had meetings with council staff and councillors on how the rebuild will consider Christchurch becoming a more cycle-friendly city. Some of his research students have also provided the council with helpful research material.

A recent study at Auckland University found that completion of the entire Auckland cycling network (a cost of about $600 million) would generate benefits in the order of 20 times as great, in terms of health (by far the biggest benefits), safety and reduced driving costs.

Dr Koorey says it is not hard to envisage that similar investments throughout the country would have equally impressive economic returns. See here for details of his UC cycle lecture next week: http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/wiw/.

ENDS

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