Christchurch motorists have behaved in a much more considerate way since 22 Feb 2011. Rocky roads, blocked off streets and big changes to traffic flows now means snarl ups, grid lock and long queues are common. I used to think that being stuck in traffic for two changes of lights was gridlock. Well, that is now normal in many parts of town. A trip that used to take 10 minutes can now take 40 minutes at the wrong time of the day.
The interesting response to all of this has been one of tolerance, acceptance and consideration. It is now the norm to let traffic join a queue from a side street. Buses are given right of way when pulling out of bus stops as a matter of course. We, as harassed motorists, are giving constant consideration to our fellow road users including the poor cyclists who now spend a lot of their road time in mountain bike country,.
This new behaviour is good.
Right now we have about 30 road crews out working across Christchurch on earthquake recovery. As we get seriously in to the 2.5 billion horizontal infrastructure (pipes, cables and roads) you can expect to see over 150 road crews working daily across the city. This is going to put further strain on our transport systems and constantly change traffic flows. As this pressure increases the new behavioural patterns being witnessed today are going to be even more important. The new considerate Christchurch drivers will also make it easier to adopt a defensive driving stance, as we get used to the imminent changes to the intersection road rules.