Christchurch residents cycle more than any other city in New Zealand, with census figures showing that 7% of people in Christchurch cycle to work, more than the nationwide average of 2%.
Following the earthquakes, a series of major cycle routes were developed in response to community desire for more travel choice and safer cycling options. In 2013, Christchurch City Council approved 13 cycle routes which would connect suburbs to the central city via local attractions.
The, which WSP was lead consultant on, was one of these.
WSP worked closely with the University of Canterbury and Riccarton Bush Trust to meet their needs and to maintain the residential character of the areas the cycleway passed through and the heritage of the Riccarton Bush site.
This extensive collaboration has shaped a design that is cognisant of heritage, protected trees, ecology, business and community needs whilst ensuring a high level of service for cyclists.
The paths had to feel very safe as the purpose of this was to attract the interested but concerned rider, as opposed to the confident and experienced rider.
As such, the cycleways were designed to be suitable for a 10-year old to ensure widespread uptake.
WSP put together a project team from across a number of disciplines including civil, geotechnical, structural, urban design, ecology, archaeology, planning and marine, with safety expertise from its Nelson office and information from WSP Research.
Just 18-months after opening, Christchurch City Council’s Uni-Cycle route has increased cyclist usage by 49% - three years ahead of predictions.