Submission on Christchurch City Mall 2006

City Mall Plan Submission October 2006



Living Streets Aotearoa, the local walking advocacy group, is pleased to offer this submission on the plans for the upgrade of the City Mall. We would be happy to provide any further information or clarification if required, and request the opportunity of presenting our submission at a hearing. 

Our submission consists of a number of comments that cover a wide variety of issues associated with this project. 

  1. We agree the mall area needs an upgrade. It is old, cluttered and outdated.
  2. We are also pleased that safety issues are addressed with improvements to sightlines and lighting as suggested.
  3. The idea of the garden rooms concept is appealing. We are the garden city and that reinforces that concept.
  4. Design that focuses on sunny areas for meeting places is also welcomed. Whilst we like the concept of the Stewart Fountain it is located in a part of the street that should be utilised as a meeting place.
  5. We are pleased that the Mall is acknowledged as a meeting place. Many would favour small intimate seating areas. We do have one concern. With two schools in the area is there enough room for those students to sit in groups? The large seating place used by many of them is being replaced. Youth are always being moved out of public places. This is Christchurch
  6. We wonder what is the recommendation for bicycles in this area? Are new bike stands part of the design and can people cycle in these areas? People should be encouraged to cycle in these wide pedestrian areas. This will create extra people movements adding to vibrant streets. Overseas studies show that the sales revenue generated by a square metre of cycle parking is greater than that generated by a square metre of car parking. If shopkeepers were aware of this there may be more incentive to improve bike parking as well as safe cycling access to the city centre.
  7. The idea of bringing the tram into the mall area is appealing. This adds character to the area and has the potential to make the tram another part of the public transport network. This works well in Melbourne where trams run through the Burke St Mall. The only downside to this idea is accessibility. Thought would need to go into special tram platforms so that the elderly and disabled could get on and off the vehicles.
  8. We think you are being impatient with the desire to bring cars back into many of these pedestrian areas. As the city fills with more inner city residents and zoning creates more areas with 24-hour activity, life will return to the streets. Our mall areas should be seen as reserves and never be returned to car traffic again. Christchurch was ahead of its time when it created its extensive mall network, why ruin that now?
  9. The supposed benefits that are listed for allowing traffic back into the mall don’t stack up, are vague and aren’t backed up with evidence. The heavy traffic volumes in central Christchurch make it an unpleasant place to walk around and we believe shopkeepers are aware of this and want customers to be able to stop right outside their store and avoid having to walk even a short distance. Most purchases don’t involve heavy goods which might require a vehicle to be close by. Encouraging more vehicles into the area is likely to reduce pedestrian levels and business in general.
  10. Why is there more need for car access? Central Christchurch already has excellent car access and the highest level of car parking for its size in Australasia (Laird, Newman, Kenworthy Bachels - Back on Track: Rethinking Transport Policy in Australia & New Zealand, 2001). There is strong evidence that giving more car access will cause decline in the city centre with supporting statistics from around the world (Newman and Kenworthy – Sustainability & Cities, 1999). Of the three major centres in New Zealand there is a reverse relationship between car usage on the one hand and wealth and thriving city centres on the other. Wellington has the highest dependence on public transport, highest income levels and most thriving city centre. Christchurch has the lowest reliance on public transport, the lowest income levels and the most depressed city centre. Auckland comes in the middle on all counts.
  11. Similar changes were made recently at New Brighton Mall with a road being put back through the pedestrian mall. Has there been any evidence of beneficial effects of the kind being suggested for City Mall? The New Brighton shops look just as under-used now as they did before the work was done. If there is no evidence of improvement why repeat the exercise on a larger scale in the city centre?
  12. The City Mall is at its busiest at events such as the Buskers’ Festival. The pedestrian area is crammed from wall to wall with people. What is going to happen if there is a road going through City Mall? Even if it is closed to traffic temporarily it will be harder to hold such events.
  13. The trend in many overseas places is to create more car free areas. Your consultants tell you that per head of population Christchurch has more pedestrian space than Melbourne, inferring we have too many pedestrian spaces. Melbourne has a terrible record for providing car free areas. Look to Europe and you find many cities creating more car free spaces. In Stockholm, several inner city areas have been recently converted to pedestrian only zones.
  14. Returning motor vehicles to these areas goes against the current Christchurch City Pedestrian Strategy of creating more walking friendly places.
  15. We do not support the reintroduction of car movements to the city mall. An exception is delivery vehicles however they should have restricted entry out of shopping times and not on Thursday and Friday evenings when many come to the area for after work drinks.
  16. The retailing mix is a big part of the key to create more vibrant areas. High Street has been very successful. There is no reason why this can’t translate through the entire area. The point of difference for the inner city should be interesting and quirky shops, and landmark shops such as Ballantynes. Inner city shops should be the design hubs of the city.
  17. Why is there no proper market in central Christchurch? A market would add interest and attraction to the city centre and probably result in revitalization of ancillary services (cafes, bars etc.). This would attract people to the city centre at alternative times. The impact of the Lyttelton Farmers Market to the local businesses and township vitality has been significant.
  18. We wonder where new pedestrian signage and maps will be? Christchurch residents should have the lovely signs that Wellington has. They give clear directions and times to places of interest.
  19. We urge you to consider street design that is the most appropriate for sight impaired and disabled people and design that is in keeping with the environment.


The branch members of Living Streets Canterbury have prepared this submission. We are a regional branch of Living Streets Aotearoa. Wendy Everingham has coordinated the submission. 1-4 Harmans Rd, Lyttelton.

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Living Streets Aotearoa is the New Zealand organisation for people on foot, promoting walking-friendly communities. We are a nationwide organisation with local branches and affiliates throughout New Zealand.

We want more people walking and enjoying public spaces be they young or old, fast or slow, whether walking, sitting, commuting, shopping, between appointments, or out on the streets for exercise, for leisure or for pleasure.

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