Pedalling some good news for cycling and cyclists

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Report by NewsroomPlus.com

Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced a $333 million cycleways investment on 25 June 2015 that he says will “change the face of cycling in New Zealand”.

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Here is a one-stop shop of the announcement details and responses to the announcement, as supplied via and collated by NewsRoom_Plus. You might call it singing from the same cycleways.

The Minister’s Media Releases: 

The Minister has announced that, on top of the 13 cycleways projects announced in January, a further 41 will receive funding under the Urban Cycleways Programme.

“This is the single biggest investment in cycling in New Zealand’s history,” he says.

The programme is designed to pull together a range of funding sources to build the best possible cycling network that benefits all New Zealanders.

“The Government’s $100 million Urban Cycleways Fund has helped generate an overall investment of $333 million in cycling, getting world-class projects underway much sooner than may otherwise have been the case.”

More than $87 million will be spent in provincial centres, including Whangarei, Hamilton, Tauranga/Western Bay, Rotorua, Gisborne, Hastings/Napier, New Plymouth, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Blenheim, Nelson and Dunedin.

Together with those announced in January, these projects will make cycling a safer, more attractive transport choice for thousands of people around the country.

“The projects announced today will draw on the $90 million remaining in the Urban Cycleways Fund, as well as $107 million from the National Land Transport Fund, and $99 million from local government,” Mr Bridges says.

The Urban Cycleways Investment Panel assessed and recommended the projects to receive the funding.

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From the NZ Transport Agency, in conjunction with local councils: 

Funding boost to deliver more than 50km of new cycle facilities for Hawke’s Bay

Hawke’s Bay is already regarded as one of the best places in the country to cycle, and its star is set to rise following the Government’s announcement that more than 50km of cycle paths will be accelerated as part of the Urban Cycleways Programme.

Hastings District Council, Napier City Council and the NZ Transport Agency are together welcoming the funding, which will enable a huge extension to the region’s hugely successful iWay programme.

The extension will provide will provide 54.5km of both on-road cycle lanes and wide, off-road pathways, creating safe and convenient connections between residential areas, employment areas, schools and education centres, reserves and recreational areas.

Construction is expected to begin as soon as this year.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said with 92 percent of submitters to Napier City Council’s 2015-2025 Long Term Plan backing the Council’s plans to enhance the city cycle trails, the announcement was timely. Without Central Government and community funding the three-year project would likely take closer to 18 years.

“We have the support of our residents and Hawke’s Bay is recognised as one of the best places to cycle, now we can get on with our programme.”

Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule said news of the Government’s further investment in new cycleways was “very welcome”.

He said it would significantly enhance what was already a wonderful asset in the region.

“Through the iWay and the Rotary Pathways projects we already have more than 200 kilometres of cycleways across Hawke’s Bay. Adding more than 50 kilometres in the urban areas will link more of our suburbs together and connect those to the rest of the cycling routes. It will cement our reputation as the cycling capital of New Zealand.”

Transport Agency Central Regional Director Raewyn Bleakley says the projects will provide better connected facilities, give workers and school students a safe and healthy alternative, and also help to get cars off the road, which will improve traffic flow, particularly during busy peak times.

“Hawke’s Bay has an extensive and superbly managed network of cycleways, and through the extension of the successful iWay programme, the region will go from strength to strength as one of the best places in New Zealand to hop on a bike.

“Cycling is a key priority for the agency. Getting more New Zealanders cycling will connect people with a greater range of employment, education and social opportunities and contribute to a more environmentally sustainable future for our transport network.”

Across Napier and Hastings, a combined programme of investment totalling around $9m will be delivered over the next three years using investment from the Urban Cycleways Fund.

The Urban Cycleways Programme is designed to take full advantage of all available funding sources, including the National Land Transport Fund and local government, to enable high-quality projects to get underway much sooner than may otherwise have been the case.

The NZ Transport Agency anticipates the total investment in cycling in New Zealand over the next three years will be around $380 million to $400 million, delivering more than 250km of new urban cycleways and greater network connectivity.

More information and maps about the Napier-Hastings announcement, please refer to the attached fact sheet. To find out more about the Urban Cycleways Programme you can visit the NZ Transport Agency website http://www.nzta.govt.nz/UCPTO.

iWAY NAPIER EXTENSION

This project will provide 36.5km of both on-road cycle
lanes and wide, off-road pathways to complete the local network throughout Napier, connecting residential areas with employment areas, schools and education centres, reserves and recreational areas.

Benefits: The Napier iWay network provides a unique opportunity to use a series of wide storm drainage reserves through the urban area to create wide, off-road pathways, and will offer safer and connected routes for people to cycle to work, and for over 8,000 students who live within 500m of the routes to cycle to schools. These routes will form the backbone of the cycle network, largely separated from traffic, with the potential to attract an increased demand for cycling. The network is expected to attract around 700 new riders each day.

Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2015 and be completed by 2018.

iWAY HASTINGS

This project will provide 18km of on and off-road cycling routes, providing a connection between Napier and Hastings and links between residential areas, schools and employment areas, including a connection between north-eastern Hastings with the industrial area of Whakatu. The project will also connect Havelock North to State Highway 2 heading north, and south to Te Mata Park.

Benefits: This project will strengthen the network links in areas that still need attention, and provide safer and more connected routes for the growing numbers of users. These improved links will be particularly valuable to school children and adults with little previous cycling experience. The completed network is expected to attract over 350 new riders each day, with over 1,500 riders each day in total.

Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2015 and be completed by 2018.

+ Napier City Council: New Cycling Projects For Napier

Further to the NZ Transport Agency media release regarding money from the Urban Cycleways Fund being put to good use in Hawke’s Bay, here are some facts related to Napier you may be interested in:

·  Napier’s iWay extension comprises 36.5km of both on road cycle lanes and wide off road pathways to connect residential areas with employment areas, schools and education centres, reserves and recreational areas.

·  It is an opportunity to use a series of wide storm drainage reserves through the urban area, and to increase the number of safer and connected routes for people to cycle to school and to work.

·  It is expected to increase the number of people regularly cycling in Napier

·  Public consultation on the proposed routes will occur before they are confirmed

·  The proposed routes include: the Kennedy Road arterial route, the Westminster Ave connector, which will be a continuation of an existing off-road route running south from Prebensen Drive, and the old Tutaekuri River route, which will run north-south, parallel to the Georges Drain route and along another wide reserve area, connecting with Ford Road, allowing good connections via a short length of on road cycle lanes to the off road pathways on Prebensen Drive.

· Construction on the first routes is expected to start later this year and continue until 2018.

For more information, visit www.nzta.govt/UCP

New funding a major boost for safer urban cycling in Whangarei

Cycling in Whangarei will become an easier, safer and more enjoyable option following the announcement of a $4.8 million investment in cycling routes in the District.

The Government and Whangarei District Council (WDC) have announced a combined $4.81 million investment from local funds, the Urban Cycleways Fund and the NZ Transport Agency’s National Land Transport Fund today.

Over the next three years work on constructing the new 6.5km Kamo route as well as completing the Onerahi and Raumanga/Maunu routes is expected to total about $7 million.

The NZ Transport Agency’s Northland Regional Director, Ernst Zöllner says a major focus of the programme is to encourage more children to cycle safely to school.

“This is a key piece of infrastructure that will serve more than 5,200 students whose schools are within 500m of the route. It will separate cyclists from the high-volume traffic and reduce the pressure on State Highway 1 by providing an alternative off-road transport choice.

“We all know cycling is good for our environment and our health. This project, along with cycle training and education, will make it easier and safer for Whangarei residents to take part in physical activity, and that will improve the health and wellbeing of the community.”

Construction on the Kamo route is expected to begin in early 2016 and be completed by the middle of 2018. It’s estimated it will be used by more than 600 people a day. The 6.5km off-road route will follow the existing railway corridor between residential areas north of the city and the CBD, providing a connection for residential areas, the Auckland University Campus (Whangarei) and key recreational areas such as Kensington Park.

Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai said the contribution by the NZ Transport Agency and Government was to be celebrated.

“We have already made good progress in our District, with up to 7000 people a week using the Hatea Loop at peak times in summer, the Raumanga track almost completed, and work on the route to Onerahi about to kick off again.”

“The evidence shows that if these facilities are provided our people really will get out there and use them. We have an active mind-set and live in a pretty friendly climate, so we stand to get enormous benefit from these initiatives.”

The funding is part of a nationwide Urban Cycleways Programme which will see $296 million invested across 41 projects in 15 urban areas over the next three years to establish cycling as an integral part of the New Zealand transport network.

“Cycling is a key priority for the agency. Getting more New Zealanders cycling will connect people with a greater range of employment, education and social opportunities and contribute to a more environmentally sustainable future for our transport network,” says the Transport Agency’s Ernst Zöllner.

The Urban Cycleways Programme is designed to take full advantage of all available funding sources, including the National Land Transport Fund and local government, to enable high-quality projects to get underway much sooner than may otherwise have been the case.

The NZ Transport Agency anticipates the total investment in cycling in New Zealand over the next three years will be around $380 million to $400 million, delivering more than 250km of new urban cycleways and greater network connectivity.

To find out more about the Urban Cycleways Programme you can visit the NZ Transport Agency website http://www.nzta.govt.nz/UCP

From Christchurch City Council: 

Funding boost for Council cycleways network

A multi-million-dollar funding investment by central government will provide significant momentum to the delivery of a world-class network of cycleways in Christchurch, says the Council’s transport spokesman.

Phil Clearwater, who chairs the Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee, believes the funding assistance for seven of the Major Cycle Routes couldn’t have come at a better time.

“The Major Cycle Routes network is a significant piece of work that is integral to the 30-year plan for transport in the city. Being able to deliver $65 million of the $156 million programme over the next three years for a local investment of $23.5 million represents great value for Christchurch ratepayers.”

Mr Clearwater says the Council hopes to confirm its local funding commitment to the project in the next few days through the Long Term Plan 2015–25.

The Urban Cycleways Fund contributes $19.04 million, while there is potential for a further $22.57 million from the National Land Transport Fund.

“Our transport plan for the future identifies that we can’t keep building roads that cost a lot to maintain and get clogged up. We need to provide alternatives and the Major Cycle Routes network is one of those,” Mr Clearwater says.

Having this support from central government will help the Council deliver the first, high-priority sections of the Major Cycle Routes network. The seven routes selected for assistance provide important connections and were assessed by staff to be among the first to be built.

“They link the city centre with schools, the University of Canterbury as well as popular shopping, business and recreation areas,” Mr Clearwater says.

“We have heard a consistent message from our community about the need to deliver safer options for people who choose to ride and to know this has support at central government level is an endorsement of our plans.”

Don Babe, Chairman of cycling advocacy group Spokes Canterbury, describes today’s announcement as a Goldilocks moment for people who want more choice in their transport.

“In addition to the Council listening to the wishes of ratepayers, central government has also realised that there are few transport projects that provide benefits to so many people as cycling infrastructure.

“It is hoped this expenditure will provide the infrastructure to encourage those potential cyclists who would like to ride but are concerned about safety to try cycling. If this includes a lot of school children, the impact will be felt by society for a number of years.

“Congratulations to our local and national government for making these steps.”

Mr Clearwater says, “Everyone benefits if we can change the way people get around our city. However, to get the full benefit of the Major Cycle Routes we need to build the whole network and today’s announcement will help the Council achieve its aim of reshaping the way people get around our city.” 

A factsheet outlining the seven routes and funding proposals can be found on the Urban Cycleways Programme website, http://www.transport.govt.nz/land/land-transport-funding/urban-cycleways

There is information about the Major Cycle Routes on the Council’s website, www.ccc.govt.nz/cycleways

From Local Government New Zealand:

Local communities benefit from Urban Cycleways Programme

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) is pleased to confirm that 17 regions around New Zealand will benefit from Urban Cycleways Programme developments over the next three years.

LGNZ acknowledges the strong partnership between local and central government to make this happen, and welcomes the contribution from the Urban Cycleways Programme.

LGNZ president Lawrence Yule says this funding will assist many cities and regions across New Zealand.

“Given their population base, it’s good to see Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington contributing to and receiving significant investment.  However, an additional 27 projects across 12 other provincial centres will receive funding and make their own contribution under the Urban Cycleways Programme,” says Mr Yule.

LGNZ says local government and councils’ significant contribution to central government’s investment highlights the importance of cycling in cities, and will go a long way to help improve transport in urban centres across New Zealand.

“This investment, together with central government funding, will increase the vitality of our regions by providing more transportation options and encouraging people to get on their bikes, rather than jump in their cars,” says Mr Yule.

“Today’s funding announcement will invigorate regions around New Zealand, providing a safe and healthy transportation alternative.”

“Cycleways offer a healthy, environmentally sustainable transportation alternative for New Zealanders that will improve our cities,” says Mr Yule.

“Funding from the Urban Cycleways Programme means that some projects in design can now be realised.”

From the Green Party:

Government Cycling Announcement

The Green Party today welcomed the adoption of its cycling policy by the National Government.

“We campaigned hard on a sensible approach to safe cycling investment last year,” said transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

“We are thrilled to see the National Government match the levels of funding for cycling that we proposed in our comprehensive transport budget.

“We hope they will soon adopt other smart, green transport policies, like funding the Auckland Central Rail Link to start on time, and keeping our electric freight trains.

“A smart, green approach to transport will give Kiwis greater choice, cost less, protect the climate and create happier, healthier towns and cities,” said Ms Genter.

And from the Cycling Advocacy Network. CAN is New Zealand’s national network of cycling advocates, and seeks to work with government, local authorities, businesses and the community on behalf of cyclists, for a better cycling environment.

Cyclists Applaud Massive Investment Programme.

Kiwis keen on cycling have hailed the biggest single investment in cycling in New Zealand’s history, announced today in Rotorua. Advocates for cycling have praised the scheme as ‘forward-thinking, clever groundwork’.

The Urban Cycleways Programme (UCP), managed by the NZTA, facilitates a record $333m million in spending for 54 selected urban cycling projects nationwide. $100 million of this is from the UCP, the remainder from Land Transport and local authority budgets. Councils throughout the country have drawn up detailed bids for the funding, which were assessed by an NZTA-led Investment Panel. Cycleways in cities from Whangarei to Dunedin will be built under the plan.

Cycling Advocates’ Network (CAN) were quick to commend UCP as ‘smart investment’. CAN interim project manager Will Andrews told press, ‘This is awesome. It’s forward-thinking, clever groundwork by the Prime Minister and Simon Bridges. It will boost the liveability of every town it touches by helping people choose not to use the car for short trips.’

The hard work for local councils now begins, in confirming their portion of projects’ budgets, getting the detailed design right, and convincing local voters of the many benefits and spin-off gains that flow from people swapping their car for a bike for certain journeys. 

‘Let’s hope this awesome announcement will be accompanied by rapid training of engineers in cycleway design, and by education of all road users in how to share space’, Andrews continued. ‘There will still be many streets where cyclists share with motor vehicles, so it’s important to keep improving the environment -especially in CBDs- with low speed limits and good junction design. But this is a tremendous initial step and a day to celebrate for anyone who wants congestion-free liveable NZ towns.’

Wellington cycleways were the subject of an additional release from the Minister, and from local National list MP Paul Foster-Bell: 

Minister of Transport: Wellington cycleways receive $53.3 million

Transport Minister Simon Bridges has today announced multi-million dollar funding to accelerate nine cycleway networks in the Wellington region, helping boost the city’s status as ‘the coolest little capital’.

Projects to receive funding under the Government’s Urban Cycleways Programme include the Melling to CBD route, and routes in the CBD and Eastern suburbs.

Lower Hutt’s Beltway path and Eastern Bays shared paths will be funded, as will Upper Hutt’s Rail Corridor Route. The Hutt River Trail will be sealed and widened, while funding will be available for Porirua’s Onepoto-Wi Neera Shared Pathway and Stride N’ Ride Kāpiti Coast.

“These projects are among 41 nationwide, which will make cycling a safer and more attractive transport choice,” Mr Bridges says.

“The Government’s $100 million Urban Cycleways Fund is designed to pull together a range of funding sources, and will result in a total investment in urban cycleways of $333 million over the four-year programme.

“The Urban Cycleways Programme demonstrates how central and local government can work together, delivering high-quality infrastructure which will encourage more people to ride to work, school, and everywhere in between,” Mr Bridges says.

New funding to speed up development of Wellington cycleways

Paul Foster-Bell is delighted locals will soon enjoy cycleways around Wellington sooner than previously planned thanks to $6.5 million of funding from the $333 million Urban Cycleways Programme. “The Wellington CBD and Eastern routes are important initiatives that will improve the health of our community.  “This new funding will accelerate the build, meaning we’ll all be able to take advantage of the cycleway earlier,” said Foster-Bell.

The Wellington CBD cycleway crosses the centre city and the Eastern route will connect Miramar, Seatoun, Lyall Bay and Houghton Bay into the CBD via cycleways both around the bays and through Newtown. Both will connect up to the existing Oriental Bay cycleway.  “These cycleways will complement other transport options we have here and the option to cycle safely will be another drawcard for the Capital.”

“It’s great to see central and local government co-operating on the cycleways, and I acknowledge the matching $6.64 million contribution by the Wellington City Council, with the remainder of the total $19.5 million project costs coming from the National Land Transport Fund. This cycleway is one of 41 similar projects around the country designed to encourage cycling by making it safer and more attractive. National’s commitment to providing safe and accessible urban cycleways is changing the face of cycling in New Zealand.

ENDS

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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