In the electorate

Columns
Thursday, July 2, 2015

Last week I met with two very different groups which both raised the same topic: traffic. Members of both the Ohoka Village Protection Association and WAIYouth were affected by the accident that delayed travel times to Christchurch in some cases up to two hours.

Accidents will happen – there’s nothing we can do about that. But the news the Cranford Street extension has been dropped from the Christchurch City Council’s Long Term Plan is disappointing. The Western Belfast Bypass project won’t be affected– and is still expected to re-route 50 percent of traffic driving through Belfast. The Northern Arterial (the new highway connecting QEII Drive to the northern motorway, which includes the third laning of the Waimakariri Bridge going north to Tram Road)  will also go ahead.  The potential impact of the Cranford Street extension decision is on the dispersal of traffic on the city end of the Northern Arterial, creating over time further congestion on Main North and Marshland roads, and Cranford Street.

I’ve arranged an urgent meeting with Transport Minister Simon Bridges. I will also be pushing for both councils and the New Zealand Transport Agency to get around the table to work on solutions. This issue is bigger than one council – we have got to work together on solutions to give North Canterbury commuters reliability of travel times.  

I’m in a unique position because my electorate is larger than the Waimakariri District border and covers both Waimakariri residents and residents falling under the Christchurch City Council. As greater Christchurch redraws itself, we are becoming more aware that changes in one part of the system can impact on fellow Cantabrians. The Cranford Street extension won’t only impact on commuters in Christchurch but also on commuters in North Canterbury. As the issue develops, I will keep you updated and I am keen to hear your views, whether you live in north Christchurch or North Canterbury.