Its becoming pretty obvious that one of the key issues in the rebuilding of Christchurch is going to be transportation. There are a lot of myths about getting around Christchurch. Some people call it the ’10 minute city’, a nod to the ‘fact’ you can get almost anywhere in 10 minutes within Christchurch. Well I certainly don’t know who came up with that but it hasn’t been applicable over much of the city for quite some time now!
The fact is, Christchurch isn’t an easy city to get around. I realised this when I travelled overseas; you know there is something wrong when you find it easier and simpler to get around a city of multi-millions than Christchurch! Our car dominated culture isn’t pleasant either, I think even the most hardline car lover would have to admit that clogged streets and car-parks don’t make for an enjoyable community experience.
It is therefore exciting to see that this is leading to quite a lot of support for a reformation of our transport system, and transportation culture, as a key part of the rebuilding of the city. My only hope is that the Government listen to what the community wants and does not impose its own vision of what it thinks a city should be on the people of Christchurch, because I fear the answer will be cars and carparks and nothing else. Hopefully that doesn’t eventuate.
I came across quite a neat forum where people can express their ideas on the rebuilding of Christchurch, called Reimagine Christchurch. One thing I noticed is that people seem to be really keen on the idea of a sustainable, people friendly city with improved cycling and pedestrian access and better public transport (trains, trams, light rail and even a nod for a Vancouver style ‘Skytrain’ are all mentioned). People have a lot of different ideas, and a lot of different ways about how to implement them (for example, some people want a dense city, others a more spread out city of clusters) but the common thread seems to be sustainability, a city for people, and big role for active and public transport. I particularly like the ‘relegate cars to 4th class citizens in central city’! Most of all, it’s exciting to see people are in support of making Christchurch such a great place. Who knows, in 10 years time we could be the envy of the rest of the country.