Christchurch retailer Richard Ballantyne has suggested a smaller Cathedral Square with more cars allowed in it. He claims that the Square cuts the CBD in half, and questioned whether the bus interchange was correct for the city, suggesting convenient, cheap strategically placed car parking in the city centre was needed.
Strangely, he uses Victoria Square as an example of what is possible even though much of its success is down to the closure of two roads in the late 1980’s. It’s also disheartening to see that the myth of Christchurch having poor car parking in the CBD continues to be thrown around as a fact. Perhaps people need to travel a bit more! Cheaper more convenient car parking does not guarantee more access to the CBD. Car parking is not the only reason people avoid the CBD and, in any case, who would pay for it? The public? When there is no guarantee that it will magically revitalise the CBD I see no way that this would, or could, ever happen.
Its even more worrying that all this talk from Ballantyne comes with an anti-public transport stab. Improving public transport is one of the best ways to improve urban spaces, we have seen that all around the world (and in Christchurch there is a LOT of improving that could be done!). Why would we go backwards? Thankfully, I really do believe that we are starting to see a change in the publics attitude towards public transport, and half silly ideas such as this will get shot down.