How hard can it be to map a cycle route in Christchurch? I hit the “Edit” button on Open Street Map to find out.
The Christchurch City Council (CCC) is developing a programme of 13 major cycle routes to connect suburbs to the central city. “Papanui Parallel / Puari ki Papanui: This cycleway will connect Northlands and the Northern Line Cycleway to the Central City”. The CCC website has a page on the Papanui Parallel with detailed plans of the approved scheme design for every section of the route. ( https://www.ccc.govt.nz/transport/cycling/major-cycle-routes/cycle-routes/papanui-parallel/ )
Only a small stub of the Papanui Parallel was visible on the osm cycling basemap on the north side of the intersection of Colombo Street and Bealey Avenue. Construction of the Papanui Parallel is nearly finished so it seemed appropriate to update.
My first step was to address the route as a relation. I used the Little River Rail Trail as a guide, as the Little River Link Trail is an official project referenced by both the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and CCC. The Little River Rail Trail is tagged as "rcn"; the Coastal Pathway, by way of contrast, is tagged as "lcn" even though the link to CCC cycle projects is unclear; so I tagged the Papanui Parallel as "rcn" - a regional cycle network. Someone seems to have set up a CCC custom tag, so I also tagged the Papanui Parallel as “ccc=cyclingroute”.
Starting at the southern end of the Papanui Parallel, Sheet 17 of the plans seemed fairly straight forward. “Bike Lanes” on the left and right side were clearly “tracks” as being “separated from the road by curbs, parking lots, grass verges, trees or another physical barrier, but is running parallel and next to the road”. ( https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:cycleway )
This all seemed relatively straight forward until Sheet 15, near the intersection of Colombo and Cannon Streets, where the northern cycling track crosses the road to join the other in a two-way cycle track on the western side of Colombo Street. I inserted an “Other” node tagged as “cycleway=crossing”, and split the street centre line with it.
Sheets 12 to 13 presented the next complexity as the separated cycle tracks merge into what is NZTA describes as “neighbourhood greenways” ( https://www.nzta.govt.nz/walking-cycling-and-public-transport/cycling/cycling-network-guidance/designing-a-cycle-facility/between-intersections/neighbourhood-greenways/ ).
I tagged that section of Trafalgar Street as “highway=living_street”, being a “road with very low speed limits and other pedestrian friendly traffic rules”. I couldn’t find any documentation about any changes to the speed limit so I left “maxspeed=50” unchanged for the time being. I also tagged the street as “cycleway=shared” just in case that helped. I also managed to override the ccc custom tag with “ccc=cyclinggreenway”, to try and record the official nomenclature.
The last editing dilemma I faced was at the northern end of the Papanui Parallel, on Sawyers Arms Road. A previous editor had drawn the cycleway as a parallel line to the street centreline. This is allowable practice according to the Key:cycleway wiki, but its usage here seemed out of context. The Northern Line Cycleway nearby is truly separated from the railway line it runs parallel to, and similarly the Little River Link is truly separated from the Christchurch Southern Motorway by a reasonable distance. In the context, I felt it most appropriate to delete the separate cycleway line along Sawyers Arms Road and tag the street centreline with a cycle “track” on the right hand side of the road. I hope the original contributor forgives me.
The route appeared in the Bicycle Tags Map in minutes. ( http://mijndev.openstreetmap.nl/~ligfietser/fiets/index.html )
A quick test of Graphhopper, however, showed it did not take a route down the trickiest parts of Trafalgar and Colombo Streets that had taken me so long to edit.
A quick drive down the route showed it was real and not just a plan on a website. After several attempts amounting to about 3 hours work, I had finished.
Adam Heinz is a cyclist, citizen of Christchurch, and a staff member of the Christchurch City Council.