New Zealand council plans to demolish houses to make way for cycle path

Christchurch council decides to demolish two houses rather than remove car parking in order to build new route

You might think that you’d always be in favour of a new cycle path, but what if that meant having your house demolished?

That’s the proposal from the city council of Christchurch, New Zealand, which is currently consulting on a plan for a new cycle path that would see the demolishing of two buildings containing four flats in order to build the path between two cul-de-sacs.

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The Quarryman’s Trail will, if built, will connect the south west suburb of Halswell with the centre of Christchurch, and was originally intended to be built along the busier Milton Street which runs parallel to the two cul-de-sacs. However, this plan was scrapped last year as it would have meant removing all of Milton Street’s car parking, a move that the council thought would prove unpopular with local residents.

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Speaking to Steffan Thomas, Christchurch’s transport operations manager, said that as well as meaning that car parking could be retained, the new route would be more direct, be safer for cyclists, and also be cheaper, even with the need to buy properties.

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However members of the local community have also raised opposition to the new plan, fearing that it would turn the two cul-de-sacs into major thoroughfares.

“It’s difficult for everyone to agree because of the different routes and how it affects everyone quite differently,” said Julie Tobbell, chairwoman of the local residents’ association. “We’re very supportive of encouraging more cyclists and less confident cyclists on the road. But it’s a matter of doing it correctly and in the best way.”