A $7.2 million Victoria St revamp will go ahead despite opposition from some retailers and a Christchurch City councillor. The council approved the creation of a plan to develop Victoria Street into a shared area for pedestrians, cars, buses, and bicycles.
Cr Yani Johanson opposed the motion, saying the proposal was dangerous and too expensive. He was particularly worried about bicycles sharing road space with buses. A group of local retailers last week submitted against the project's plans to reduce parking spaces. Johanson said the plan would also slow traffic in the central city, mainly because of changes to the intersections at Bealey Avenue and Montreal St. "We actually need to have a much more holistic approach to what we do with traffic coming in from the north." He also opposed the cost of the plan, and an additional $1m to be spent in the 2018-19 financial year on intersection improvement. "I don't support $8m going into Victoria St." The money should be spent fixing roads in the suburbs rather than "gold plating" the central city, Johanson said.
Cr David East voted for the resolution, but said he had some reservations. "I do have an ongoing concern about the propensity to throw out bike lanes and our bus lanes together, and we don't seem to be thinking outside the square and trying to separate our cyclists form traffic. East suggested the cycleway could be moved into a shared space with pedestrians on the footpath. Cr Pauline Cotter, who was involved in the proposal as a member of the council's environment committee, said the community was happy with the process and "generally happy" with the outcome. "I think we've reached a good compromise and we're achieving the outcome we want.”
The council's plan is to make Victoria St a 30kmh zone, and reduce the amount of through traffic. It will also remove 20 per cent of the roadside parking spaces. The project, which will begin next March, includes the length of Victoria St between Kilmore St and Bealey Ave. The council expects work to be finished by October 2017. It excludes two major intersections: Victoria, Montreal, and Salisbury streets, and Victoria, Durham, and Kilmore streets. The council will undertake consultation on development of these intersections as a separate project early next year.
The Press, 22 September 2016.