The Greater Christchurch Partnership has released an Interim Report from the team investigating a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system for Greater Christchurch.
Speaking on behalf of the Partnership, Mayor of Christchurch Lianne Dalziel said the interim results help us understand the feasibility of some mass rapid transit scenarios in the context of long-term population growth, and it has showed that further investigation was warranted.
“The investigation has found that MRT will need to be supported with population and employment growth close to stations along the route,” she said.
“It lends support to work the Partnership has already began to plan for, such as the development of a Greater Christchurch spatial plan to proactively shape our sub-region.”
On behalf of the Partnership, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and the local councils have been investigating the likely implications of various scenarios for a frequent and high capacity public transport connection running north to Rangiora and south-west to Rolleston.
The Interim Report looks at how MRT could work as Greater Christchurch grows over the next 30 years, by assessing three scenarios, including a scenario utilising the existing heavy rail corridor, and two street running scenarios using either buses or light rail. Under all three scenarios, the report finds there would need to be higher population density around the stations along the route to secure the viability of the system.
Mayor Dalziel said “This report provides good technical information for further conversations about concentrated growth. It also shows that each scenario has strengths and weaknesses.”
She said the Interim Report was not intended to identify the preferred route or the preferred type of mass rapid transit system at this stage. “The focus of this initial work is on feasibility. It has analysed a short-list of possible scenarios to better inform the Greater Christchurch Partnership about the actions and policy decisions that need to occur if we are to make MRT viable,” she said.
“As a technical foundation, the report shows MRT could have a role to play as part of a wider city-shaping investment.”
Mayor Dalziel said this meant the findings needed to be considered in the context of broader planning for future growth. “This is why we are proposing that the next phase of MRT be fully integrated with the development of the spatial plan that the Partnership is preparing for Greater Christchurch.”
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