Greens announce new Christchurch rapid public transport and $1 billion for nationwide cycling projects

The Green Party today announced a $418 million transport plan for greater Christchurch focused on creating a new network of rapid public transport lines, a city-wide bike share scheme, and safe cycling infrastructure. It accompanies a commitment to invest over $1 billion nationwide over ten years to complete cycling networks in our towns and cities, especially around schools.

The Green Party’s plan for Christchurch includes a commitment to fast-track three new rapid transit lines by 2022, including:

  • An Airport Line – bus rapid transit from the city to Riccarton, the University and Airport.
  • A Northern Line – passenger rail connecting Rangiora to the city.
  • A Southern Line – passenger rail connecting Rolleston to the city.

The plan also includes a commitment to improve cycling in the city by:

  • Partnering with councils to deliver a bike share scheme across the central city and surrounding suburbs.
  • Investing $135 million over 10 years to create safe, city-wide cycling infrastructure, prioritising routes around schools.
  • Making the default speed limit outside schools 30km per hour.

“National has neglected public transport in Christchurch since the earthquakes, and Christchurch deserves better,” said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

“The clearest message we heard about how to rebuild Christchurch was a desire for fast, reliable public transport, less traffic in the city centre, and safer cycling across Christchurch.

“Traffic in the city has gotten worse as public transport has become less frequent, less reliable and, understandably, less popular. The Green Party will change that.

“A new rapid bus line from the City to the Airport would use high-capacity electric or hybrid-electric buses, separated from general traffic, completing the journey in less than 30 minutes.

“The Airport Line will connect the university to the city, support more medium density housing close to the city and help ease traffic congestion in Riccarton. The route will be protected and able to be upgraded to higher-capacity light rail over time.

“There’s also a clear need for public transport from the north and south that can by-pass traffic congestion. It now takes, on average, 10 minutes longer to drive from Rangiora to the city, and 7 minutes longer to come in from Rolleston, than it did in 2008.

“The new Northern Line rail service will allow people to get from Rangiora to Riccarton in 30 minutes or less. It will connect to the Airport to City line in Riccarton, providing a 5 minute transfer into the city.

“A Southern Rail line will connect the growing number of people living in Rolleston and Hornby to the city with a fast, easy rail commute.

“Better funding for public transport will also mean more frequent bus services on existing routes.

“We’re also committing to the roll-out a city-wide bike share scheme of around 300 bikes across central Christchurch and surrounding suburbs.

“Bike share is fantastic for people who want to get across the city quickly but don’t want to take a car, sit in traffic, and deal with the hassle of parking.

“These are the first steps towards creating a congestion-free, rapid public transport network for Christchurch. Ultimately we expect more rapid public transport lines would connect to other parts of the city.

“Making cycling safe will make our cities more accessible, reduce congestion, pollution, and improve public health.

“A $1 billion investment in cycling right across the country is equivalent to the cost of just 3 km of National’s planned East-West motorway in Auckland.

“All funding from the government will come from reallocating spending away from low-value motorway projects within the National Land Transport Fund,” said Ms Genter.

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