CERA is asking for ideas of how to rebuild Christchurch into an even better place that it was before the quakes. This site is an attempt to harness the ideas and knowledge of local cyclists and wanna-be-cyclists to create a persuasive vision of how Christchurch could become a world leader in urban recreation

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cyclling solutions - area by area

(New to this site? Then try starting here Whats it all about.)
Sometimes a idea is so damn good that many people come up with it almost at the same time. Taking all the red zone land next to the Avon and turning it into a park is one such idea. Thankfully, our friends in the Avon River Park group have already put the idea into works. Nevertheless, its a brilliant idea and would make an awesome addition to the cycle network east of the square.

Matthew Scott of St Martins takes the idea a little further and dreams of "leaving work early on a balmy summer evening to head out along the Avon River park to the south shore spit where I'll grab a ice cream at my favourite cafe and enjoy the smell of the see before heading back into town and then to home"

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Recreation Should Start From Home

"For me it all started when my mother-in-law got a new bicycle and began cycling. We went out cycling on the road together, but I wanted to show her the joy of mountain biking. What she needed was really easy beginner tracks like those available across town at Bottle Lake and McLeans Island. But I didn't want to spend twice as long in the car getting there as actually cycling!

It was then I started thinking that RECREATION shouldn't be a DESTINATION. Instead it should be an INTEGRATED part of our EVERYDAY lives. I feel we shouldn't have to pack the car and then drive across town to partake in quality recreation in natural outdoor environments.

Only when we can start the recreational journey from our own homes will we have enough time to regularly enjoy recreation. Only then will society as a whole start to experience the health and happiness benefits of regular exercise"
-Clare McLennan, Hoon Hay

SOLUTION: Instead of just building cycle ways to help commuters get around town, build the cycleways in green corridors and add single track routes of similar difficulty to those built at Bottle Lake and McLeans Island, alongside as much of the cycleway network as possible.
MOTIVATION: Why single track? Cycling and in particular single track is a recreation pastime already enjoyed by many families on within Christchurch. It is a good recreation activity for the city to invest in because it appeals to people of different ages and abilities and the same facilities can be used by both beginners and more experienced people.

The combination, of a quicker 2m wide sealed path with a longer winding single track running beside it would would allow for a diverse range of users. For example

1. Parents would be able to go for a walk, at the same time as over 7s can MTB or run on the single track. Instead of children complaining that the walk is boring it now becomes an adventure. The children start dragging the adults out and everybody can travel at their own rate.

2. Young children on scooters or in push chairs on the sealed path see the older children on the single track and have something to aspire to.

3. Runners can make use of the softer and more interesting surface to run along.

4. Since the single track follows a similar route to the cycle way the safe crossing points can be used by both commuters and recreational riders. Children can have some adventure on their way to school.

Furthermore, MTB is an activity with a certain degree of managed risk and thus appeals to many children and teenagers. The opportunity to evaluate risk on one's own terms is a scientifically essential part of growing up, however in our modern cities there is fewer opportunities for children to do this in a managed way that is acceptable to parents. Grant Schodier talks about this in this recent TEDxEqChch talk which you will find a link to on the side bar on the right

What can we do to make 'Recreation start from home' for Christchurch people? How do you see this vision embodied in our city?
Please comment below (using either facebook or blogger). Your ideas will be incorporated into the document and ideas credited to you.

Ideas for creating an awesome cycle way network

Properties that make for a good cycle network:
1. Safe for cycling. This is paramount but it is worth noting that many of the current on-road existing cycle ways are not particularly safe because of the actions of drivers. For example, the curves in the road are often places where many drivers will cut the corner into the cycle way which is not pleasant for anyone cycling.

2. Continuous routes - rather than just segments. When going from A->B cyclists can't just cycle the nice or safe bits and skip the rest. But sometimes our cycle ways do that. They just stop, without giving cyclists any good option.

3. Direct and fast. If the routes are too winding or have too many traffic lights many commuters will simply hop back on a busy road. Traffic lights are a pain to everyone, but more so for cyclists who have to apply physical effort to get back up to speed, and also tend to cool riders down in winter. Also traffic lights are seldom timed for bikes which can be a pain.

4. A nice environment. It's true some commuters put their head down and just zoom, but for others the environment will be a decisive element on whether they decide to cycle or take the car instead. A natural and relaxing environment with few hassles will sway some people to take the healthier option.

Innovative ways which we can achieve the above:

1. How to Make it safe
a. Good lighting. While cycling is most fun in the daylight, in Winter it gets dark pretty early so our cycleways need to take that into consideration. There is not point building a safe cycling route and then having people avoid it at night in winter when cyclists are hardest to see. Therefore the cycle way should be well lit
(Thanks to Theresa McLennan, Upper Riccarton)

b. Use rumble strips (as used on the side of state highway 1) for on-road cycle ways to provide instant feedback to remind motorists that they are crossing into the cycle way. This would be a great way to improve the safety of cycleways on busy roads and especially in areas where space is limited. In particular, all bends in the road where motorists habitually cut the corner into the cycle lane should get this treatment.
(Thanks to Ian Ross, Hoon Hay)

2. Continuous Routes
a. Cycle specific road signs would make cycle ways more easy to follow, especially for tourists. Once there is a good network of cycleways, then it make sense to help people to use them to get around. The best car routes from A->B aren't necessarily the best cycle routes (due to busy roads that are unsuitable for cycling or short cuts not avaliable to cars) so it is logical that the cycle network would need it's own set of road signs to help people get around.

3. Direct and fast
a. Design the main comuting cycleways for both round town and into the city travel when suburbs are designed. As we are redesigning a lot of areas as part of the rebuild cycle ways there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design good cycle routes.

4. A nice environment
a. Use a nice smooth tar seal on the cycleways. It is worth noting that the quality of the seal makes a big difference to cyclist comfort particularly on road bikes. In order to encourage a wider cross section of the community, cycle paths (including those on roads) should have smooth seal.

b. Keep it free of glass and other punture-causing items. These after all are the bane of cyclists! Getting the routes away from main roads and liquour store should help with this.

This is a general list of techniques that seem like they would work in Christchurch. For more detailed solutions of how Christchurch could be made more bike friendly see Cycling solutions - area by area

So how do you think we should create a awesome cycle way network?
Please comment below (either using facebook or blogger) and your comments will be incorporated into the document and ideas credited to you.

The steps CERA should take to build a great cycle way

Christchurch already has a good number of parks, some walking and cycle short cuts, and various sections of on road cycleways that marked in different ways, However the collection is a bit haphazard. Quite often there are lovely bits of road/cycle way that simply end at the other side of the park etc . What we need is RELIABLE network of cycleways that people can ride to negotiate the town.

In the next year CERA should
1. Make incorporating good access routes into the central city for cyclists and pedestrians a priority in the new plan for central Christchurch..
2. For the new subdivisions to be built in Christchurch, land should be reserved for green corridors that support recreational and commuting (cycling and walking) routes.
3. Identify properties in Christchurch which have been targeted for demolition in other areas of Christchurch were a they could improve the existing network.
4. In Spring, reinstate cycle ways removed immediately after the February earthquake - eg. Clarence road. Make a celebration of the return of the cycle ways and announce the commitment to make Christchurch a cycle friendly city.

Over the next three to five years CERA should
1. Link up existing cycleway sections to provide continuous routes that link into the cycle access routes into the central city. The cycle routes should be highly visible and easy for the public, whether or not they are currently cyclists or not to identify. They should be also easy for people to follow, because they are signed and do not have 'gaps'.
2. Get cyclists who live in the local area to help design where cycle routes go.
3. Get the community involved in designing and building recreational routes all over Christchurch that provide a variety of opportunities, including for walking, running and mountain biking

What do you think CERA should do to help cyclists in Christchurch?
Please comment below (using either facebook or blogger). Your ideas will be incorporated into the document and ideas credited to you.

What's this site all about?

CERA is asking for submissions for how to rebuild Christchurch, which are due on 22nd July. This site is an attempt to harness the ideas and knowledge of as many local cyclists and want-to-be cyclists as possible to create a persuasive vision of how Christchurch could become a world leader in urban recreation See: The steps CERA should take to build a great cycle network

At the moment the vision is about:

1. Linking together our parks, and existing on road and off road cycleway segments into a coherent network of continuous cycle routes. This will make it easy for people (including current no-cyclists) to identify safe, enjoyable cycle routes. See: Ideas for creating an awesome cycle way network

2. Adding value to our communities by creating a pleasant environment around the cycle routs and adding off road single track where possible for recreational cycle and running use. See Recreation should start from home

3. Getting local communities (the 'experts' on a particular locality) involved in designing and building these green corridors. See Cycling solutions - area by area

(It is worth noting that the CCC has been done a good job in improving urban design in the last few years as can be seen in the South West District plan(2009). However, the earthquake has provided us with an opportunity to make more substantive changes to Christchurch and how we do that is what this web site is about.)

Why should we (Christchurch) do this?

1. To make Christchurch a great place to live and work to help us attract high quality and innovative people to live here and grow our business capability.

2. To improve the quality of our air and freeing up the roads (thus making it possible for everyone to get quickly round the city when they need to) by taking cars off the road

3. Improving the quality of life for many Christchurch people by helping them experience the emotion and physical benefits of regular exercise by providing recreational opportunities close to home.

4. Reduce the health costs associated with illnesses of modern lifestyle such as diabetes, obesity etc. The health benefit of each mile commuted has been measured by a Danish study to be $0.25-$1.0 per mile commuted by bike.

5. To provide a safe environment for children and young adults to travel and experiment on their own terms in order to develop well-balanced, emotionally stable, adaptable people.

How you can get involved:

1. Demonstrate your support for creating world class cycle routes in Christchurch by liking our facebook page.

2. Encourage people in your social networks to support our facebook page.

3. Adding your thoughts of how we can implement this vision in your local area and in Christchurch in general. You might like to add photos, ideas from here and abroad of ideas that work.

4. Add your name to the list of local 'experts' and put your name down to take an active part in making this vision happen.

How would you like to see this vision implemented? How can we share this vision with the people and politicians of Christchurch?
Please comment below (using either facebook or blogger). Your ideas will be incorporated into the document and ideas credited to you.