Cyclists will be the big losers in the new central city traffic plan a Canterbury University transport expert says.
Professor Simon Kingham said yesterday the plan to include faster moving motor vehicles would scare people on bicycles. He said slowing maximum speeds in the inner core to 30km/h would encourage more people to cycle.
CERA recently released An Accessible City, a new draft chapter of the Christchurch central recovery plan.
The plan is focused on how the transport system needs to be 'affordable, resilient, environmentally sustainable and practical'.
Said Professor Kingham: "There is a wealth of evidence that shows that reducing the speed of vehicles from 50km/h to 30km/h significantly reduces the risk of a pedestrian or cyclist dying in a collision with a car.
"In the UK reducing speed limits to 30km/h is a growing trend and this reduction has been described as the most cost-effective way to improve quality of life.
"All Christchurch cycle priority routes in the draft plan should have 30km/h limits. At the moment they do not. More than half of road deaths and serious injuries in the UK occur on roads with 30km/h limits. Lowering urban and residential speed limits to 30km/h has been found to increase urban journeys by just 40 seconds maximum.
"Why don't we reduce the speed limit for the whole central city to 30km/h? Why stop there, why not do it in all residential streets too? Let us too reap the benefits of the most cost-effective way to improve quality of life."
Professor Kingham said another feature missing from An Accessible City was rail. There was no reference to it in the plan.
He said it should be at least discussed in an open forum, rather than dismissed behind closed doors, which it seemed to have been.
The new transport plan includes big-picture information on future road layouts, providing for pedestrians, cycles, public transport and private vehicles, speed zones and streetscapes, parking and service vehicle requirements.
Particular features include a clear central city road use hierarchy that prioritises walking, cycling, cars and public transport on different transport corridors.
An Accessible City, the transport chapter of the recovery plan, is a real change in direction away from a car focused city centre towards one that allows people real choice to walk, cycle or use the bus. It promises to provide good quality infrastructure for these other modes, he said.
The draft plan is now open for consultation and people have until February 1, 2013, to make submissions through the CCDU website at www.ccdu.govt.nz.