|Not a member? Sign up now!|
Several million dollars are coming to New Plymouth District to help develop it as a model walking and cycling community.
Today the NZ Transport Agency confirmed New Plymouth and Hastings as the recipients of a combined $7 million over two years to develop walking and cycling initiatives, to encourage people out of their cars.
New Plymouth’s share of the funding is $3.71m.
“This is a huge development for New Plymouth’s sustainable transport future and a massive endorsement of the great plans we have for the district,” says Mayor Peter Tennent.
“What is developed here will have implications for the rest of the country because this isn’t just about New Plymouth District, but about how our plans and developments can be picked up and applied to any other centre in New Zealand.
“You could consider this as an extensive research project to find out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to changing a transport culture to where walking, cycling or public transport are people’s first choices,” says the Mayor.
The NZTA funding combined with money from NPDC will result in $5.4m being spent on infrastructure ($1.46m in year one and $3.94m in year two); and $1.17m on community programmes ($0.585m each year).
“The Council’s share of these projects is already in our budget – for example, walkway improvements – which we can apply to these projects,” says General Manager Community Assets Anthony Wilson.
“The difference is that with the Model Walking and Cycling Communities programme, we’ll be getting a substantial subsidy on top of that money which we were going to spend anyway.
“We have concentrated on projects that we can complete in the programme’s two-year time-frame, but we have plans for future years as well because it is an ongoing process to move people out of cars and onto bikes or their feet.”
The two-year programme will have three facets: Enabling people to walk or cycle through developing the infrastructure, educating people on how they can use sustainable transport, and encouragement.
One part of the Council’s programme is to develop an interactive website that can also be used on smart-phones for people to log their walking/cycling/public transport trips, plan their routes, challenge their friends, keep track of calories burned, set goals and pick up tips.
“We’re also planning an Active Transport Hub in the central city where walkers and cyclists can access storage facilities, showers, cycle repair and hire, a café and information.
“There will be programmes with schools around the district, cycle skills training for all year six students, travel planning, initiatives for adults, and substantial walkway improvements in key areas.
“A key part of our programme is that this isn’t just about the Council, but about the entire community. We’ll be developing our partnerships with businesses, volunteers, schools, community groups and other Government agencies to make sure we deliver a great legacy of sustainable transport that will also benefit future generations,” says Mr Wilson.
NPDC Model Walking and Cycling Community programme
Shared pathways projects, prioritised for maximum impact (identifying the pathway upgrades that will attract people from the roads and Coastal Walkway along these new links).
Complementary local and state highway on-road cycle improvements.
The ongoing opportunities for expanding the network – Waitara and beyond. (The 9km Coastal Walkway extension could be completed if the model communities project continues beyond year two.)
The Active Transport Hub: A place with storage facilities, showers, cycle repair and hire, café and information in central New Plymouth.
“NPDC Dream Street” and shared space in the city centre: A residents-led street makeover to slow traffic, promote safe road use, and create a streetscape that’s a place to meet, play and take pride in.
Other infrastructure: Bringing the schools’ presence into the street, improving safety and movement through accessways, improving key crossing points for pedestrians.
Two examples of the shared pathways projects:
The Valley Retail Centre Connection: An alternative off-road connection for the community to access the Waiwhakaiho Valley retail centre and nearby residential areas. The existing pipe bridge will be raised as part of improved flood protection in a shared project with Taranaki Regional Council.
Bell Block Industrial Connection: The recent Bell Block Bypass has provided a Council-funded underpass ($350,000) to reconnect the residential and industrial areas separated by SH3. This project will provide an all-weather hard surface linking the expanded Coastal Walkway, the picturesque Mangati Valley and the expanding Bell Block industrial area, providing a safe and easy alternative to commuters.
Cycle skills training to all year six students.
Captain Car Door.
Kids Involved in Driving Down Speed, Share the Road, and pathway campaigns.
The model community funding will enhance the reach of existing initiatives and allow widespread adoption of national campaigns, e.g. Bikewise, Safer Journeys, as well as skills and maintenance workshops, adults returning to cycling, and workplace education campaigns.
Wild West Bike Fest.
School gateway projects: Give schools on busy roads a significant presence, particularly during school start and end times, through speed restrictions, streetscaping, signage and road marking.
Travel planning, surveys and modal mapping – Smartmoves: All schools will be surveyed on current transport use by students and teachers, and issues will be identified to help promote walking and cycling as the number one choice for families travelling to and from school.
Movement website: An interactive website that can also be used on smartphones for people to log their walking/cycling/public transport trips, plan their routes, challenge their friends, keep track of calories burned, set goals and pick up tips.