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 www.nzta.govt.nz/UCP(external link)
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