Trees on the middle of Riccarton Rd ‘extremely dangerous’

CONGESTED: Central Riccarton residents are unhappy at plans to plant 27 trees on the middle of Riccarton Rd.

Trees could soon line the middle of Riccarton Rd – but the city council proposal has been slammed by residents.

It is planning to plant 27 columnar hornbeam trees along the median of Riccarton Rd between Clarence and MatipoSts.

In a strongly worded letter to Mayor Lianne Dalziel, city council chief executive Karleen Edwards and Wigram MP Megan Woods, the Central Riccarton Residents’ Association said the proposal is “extremely dangerous”.

CRRA chairman Garth Wilson said about 80 members were asked about the trees and 90 per cent opposed it.

“Riccarton Rd is narrow as it is and ambulances and fire engines inevitably have to travel down the middle of the road because of traffic build up, especially since there are four sets of traffic lights from Clarence St to Matipo St,” the residents said.

Riccarton Rd is not wide enough to be a boulevard, the residents said.

“The new trees . . . will cast a shadow on the southern side of Riccarton Rd and prevent sunlight reaching that side, which in winter will lead to damp and slippery footpaths for pedestrians.”

The trees are part of stage two of the Riccarton Rd upgrade, scheduled to begin early next year. Stage one of the project included bus lanes from Deans Ave to Harakeke St and was fully completed last month.

But the bus lanes were deemed “unusable” by Red Bus chief executive Paul McNoe, who said parked cars often blocked bus lanes.