A light-rail network for Christchurch will be investigated as part of a package of measures to revitalise the central city.Sigh. For those who recall...
Public-private funding deals and putting social housing closer to the city centre and key suburban areas will also be explored if a report is adopted by the Christchurch City Council on Thursday.
The ideas came from a North American study tour last year by Mayor Bob Parker, council chief executive Tony Marryatt and strategy and planning manager Mike Theelen.
The 16-day trip included visits to San Francisco, Vancouver, Seattle and Portland and cost ratepayers about $30,000. A light-rail system was mooted by Parker late last year.
Theelen said that despite the high initial costs of rail, the cities visited said a rail network's carrying capacity and durability outweighed bus systems.
Lyle Lanley: Now I'm here to answer any questions you children may have about the monorail.Light rail always seemed more of an ... Ashburton idea....
Ralph: Can it outrun The Flash?
Lanley: You bet!
(other kid): Can Superman outrun The Flash?
Lanley: Eh, sure. Why not.
(crouches at Lisa's desk)
Hello little girl. Wondering if your dolly can ride the monorail for free?
Lisa: Hardly. I'd like you to explain why we should build a mass transit system in a small town with a centralized population.
Lanley: Ha ha. Young lady, that's the most intelligent question I've ever been asked.
Lanley: Oh, I could give you an answer, but the only ones who'd understand it would be you and me. And that includes your teacher. (Lisa giggles) Next question: you there, eating the paste!
As for Portland as example, see the Cascade Institute's withering analysis.
There's no way that there would be enough traffic on a Rangiora - Christchurch - Rolleston line to cover the costs. And that's the only run where it could make sense. I'd suggest reading Liberty Scott on light rail issues in NZ, but his blog's currently doing a strange auto-redirect to his RSS subscription feed if you use Chrome, so be warned.
If I voted, and if Anderton came out against this potential boondoggle while Parker supported it....
Update: Dave Guerin points me to his coverage of a shonky-looking proposal for a gondola linking Massey University to Palmerston North. See here and here, and here.