Papanui Councillor responds to bus lane criticism

Last week the City Council approved a time extension for the trial of the bus priority lanes on Cranford Street. Staff requested the extension so that any final decision could be coordinated with other design work currently underway in the area east of Cranford Street (see Newsline link here). This decision was the subject of a subsequent opinion column in The Press by Mike Yardley. In the post below, Mike Davidson – Councillor for Papanui provides some further explanation of the purpose of the trial.

The opinion piece by Mike Yardley is a typical whine piece from him….negative and anti-Council! He either didn’t know why the trial is in place or wants to mislead people.
Here are a few facts about the peak time bus lane trial. The reason for the trial was to look at the impact on the transport network, not to look at patronage uptake. This trial is not a trail for the new express bus service from Waimakariri.
Council had originally wanted a year long trial, but because of the concern on the impact on the wider network, a 3 month trial was agreed to. The trial showed that the wider network was not impacted by the bus lane, so therefore staff requested the extension, so we can have 1 years worth of data when we make a final decision .
Patronage numbers were not required or relevant to the decision we were making and not one Councillor asked staff for patronage data prior to the meeting, even though we had the report well in advance of the meeting. It was noted in the report that Council did not have the patronage data – just one query from a Councillor before the meeting would have given Council staff time to get it from ECan, instead the waited for the public meeting to grandstand.
The majority of Councillors were happy with the information provided by staff to make an informed decision.
The one piece of data that helps inform if a bus lane is effective is journey time. This information has been asked for in the past, was provided and was positive.

In regard to the clearway, you only have to look at Curletts Road to see what happens when you install a peak-time clearway… you get 4 lanes 24/7. We also know that increasing capacity creates induced demand and although there may be a small gain at the very start, it doesn’t take long to lose the gain and have congestion over both lanes.
Also with this stretch of road, it’s not a capacity problem, it is the intersections, especially Cranford/Innes. Having a clearway might not give the benefits people think it will, but will completely sever this community more than what this motorway project has already done.
The one thing this community has been very vocal about is saying no to the clearway.

Council has a small number of Councillors that have a habit of voting against initiatives that focus on community, the environment, climate change mitigation, etc. and a media commentator that comes across as their personal cheerleader…Twisting things and misleading the public.

Council made the right decision on continuing this trail and comments that Council staff withheld information or dropped the data ball are completely false.

So what do we know. The small section of bus lane on Cranford Street is creating 60 seconds of journey time savings. and overall the express bus from Tram Rd to the bus exchange in town is taking less than 17 minutes. That is the information that needs to be shared widely not some lies about Council staff withholding data from Councillors.

I also wrote a letter to the editor in response to Mike Yardley’s opinion piece that I see didn’t make today’s paper, although two anti letters did. I assume it was because I sent it just before 3 and will appear in tomorrow’s paper.

I will now take my starry eyes outside, smell the flowers and enjoy the rest of this beautiful day 🙂