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Last reviewed: Fri, 04 Apr 2014

Cycleways in Christchurch

We’re on our way to making Christchurch a cycle-friendly city with a connected route of safe cycleways.

As part of this we are planning to develop 13 major cycle routes that will encourage the large group of people who think they would cycle, or cycle more, if it was safer.

To achieve this means making some significant changes to the way we prioritise the transport network in favour of cycling on these routes.

Funding for the Major Cycleways project was approved in the Christchurch City Three Year Plan 2013-16 and Council staff are working out the best way to deliver the project over five years.

Staff are working to develop design standards to apply to the network as well as determining the exact alignment of individual cycleways. They are identifying any land access issues, establishing criteria for prioritising route construction and setting up discussions with those likely to be affected as well as a method to select the best option for some sections of routes. Work on some elements of the Major Cycleways is expected to begin in 2014. Some stages have already been developed, such as stage one of Little River Link (Southern Motorway link) from Hornby to Addington and Northern Line Cycleway from Northcote to Christchurch Boys’ and Girls’ high schools.

Council selects cycleway names
In November 2013, the Council asked the public to suggest names for each of the 13 routes. The Council has adopted names for all 13 routes along with bilingual options in Te Reo Māori. Councillors endorsed the recommendation of the Environmental Committee that the chosen names be based on those that received the most public votes in an online poll. The vote was held from 1-15 February 2014 after the Council asked the public to suggest names for each of the 13 routes from mid-November 2013 to 12 January 2014.

View the route names and alternatives in Te Reo Māori.

Read the report to the Council, including full voting results.

First work set to begin
Community consultation is getting under way on the first elements that will make up the Major Cycleways. Construction on sections of two routes is expected to begin later in 2014. Staff are developing detailed designs and processes to ensure the new cycleways are consistent and predictable in their quality and level of service. In the meantime, some areas of work have been identified to progress including:

  • Installation of eight new signalised road crossings. These will provide a safe crossing point where traffic volumes are high and where the existing routes will become part of the future cycleways network. Consultation is underway on the first of these, to be located on the Northern Line Cycleway.
  • Construction of the section of the Papanui Parallel through Rutland Reserve.
  • Construction of Uni-Cycle, connecting Canterbury University and College of Education with the Central City.

A report was presented to Council on 27 March updating progress.

Netherlands expert returns

Dutch transport expert Leo de Jong returned to Christchurch for a week at the end of March 2014. Mr de Jong spent time working with staff on detailed designs, developing standards for the routes, and prioritisation of route construction. In November Mr de Jong and Mark Brussel, also from the Netherlands, said they felt Christchurch was on the right path with its cycleways plans. Click here to read the media release.

Dutch transport experts Leo de Jong and Mark Brussel reviewing plans to build 13 cycleways in the city
Reviewing plans to build 13 cycleways in the cityReviewing plans to build 13 cycleways in the city
Reviewing plans to build 13 cycleways in the cityReviewing plans to build 13 cycleways in the city

Click to read the media release about their visit.

Background and timeline

Improving the safety and accessibility for cyclists was a strong theme for recovery to emerge from the Share an Idea discussion in 2011. People said they wanted the Council to invest in cycle paths to provide more choices and safer routes for people travelling to work, study or play.

The Council adopted the Christchurch Transport Strategic Plan in 2012. It set out a 30-year vision for transport in the city including a range of transport options to meet the needs of the community. It proposed a network of 13 recreational areas with the Central City cycleways providing safe, convenient connections between suburbs, business and shopping zones and The Council allocated $34 million for the cycleways in the Christchurch City Three Year Plan 2013-16. The remainder of funds for the $68.3 million project was allocated in the 2017, 2018 years.

To help determine the look, feel and function of the cycleways, Cycle Design Guidelines were developed. The Council adopted the Guidelines in April 2013.

Click here for a description of the routes.

Need to know more? Check out our FAQs on Cycleways.


Pre-earthquakes: Christchurch is acknowledged as a city suited to cycling and with high levels of participation. Land Transport New Zealand research in 2006 revealed that 15 per cent of people regularly cycle, and a further 32 per cent would consider cycling but don’t due to concerns about their safety.

2011: More than 3,500 cycling-related suggestions are made through Share an Idea, a way for the public to say what they wanted the rebuild to focus on.

July 2012: The Accessible City chapter of the Central Christchurch Recovery Plan promotes enhancements to the quality and connectedness of cycling opportunities in the Central City as one of the key measures crucial to recovery. An updated version is released in November 2013 by Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.

November 2012: The Council adopts the Christchurch Transport Strategic Plan, a 30-year vision for getting around the city. It proposes the development of an extensive network of cycleways, along with supporting programmes to encourage Cantabrians to cycle as part of their everyday travel and activities. It recognises that investment in safe cycling is a priority for the city to create a range of transport options for residents.

February 2013: Mayor Bob Parker proposes the inclusion of funding for all 13 cycleways in the revised draft 2013-2016 Three Year Plan. The total cost of the project is $68.3 million.

April 2013: The Council adopts the Cycle Design Guidelines. The Guidelines set out how the city’s cycleways would look and propose a mix of separated and shared cycleways and recreational pathways.

June 28, 2013: The Council signs off on the Three Year Plan 2013-16, which confirms support for the cycleways and sets funding of $68.3 million over five years, of which $34.5 million is to be spent in the first three years. The remainder of funding is carried over to 2017 and 2018.

July 2013: A project team is formed to begin detailed analysis on how to deliver the project.

November 2013: Dutch transport experts Leo de Jong and Mark Brussel visit the city to review Major Cycleways plans and tour the city.

November 2013: Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee releases a new chapter of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan − An Accessible City, which puts an emphasis on cycle and pedestrian-friendly streets.

November 2013 − January 2014: Canterbury people are asked to suggest names for the new routes.

February 2014: A public vote is held to find the names that will be put to the Council for consideration. Results are posted on

March 2014: Consultation begins with communities affected by Major Cycleways work in Papanui and the Deans Avenue area.

March 2014: The Council adopts names for each of the 13 Major Cycleways routes

June 2014: The Council confirms the project delivery will be over five years.


Authorising Unit: Communications

Last reviewed: Friday, 4 April 2014

Next review: Saturday, 4 April 2015

Keywords: bicycle paths, biking, cycle, cycle lane, cycle lanes, cycle path, cycle strategy, cycleways, cycling