This bi-directional separated cycleway (known as the ‘Morey St Cycleway’) along Morey Street, Rotorua, was implemented in 2016. It is in the immediate vicinity of Mokoia Intermediate School and Owhata Primary School (two Rotorua schools participating in the “Bikes in Schools” programme) as well as being near Rotorua Lakes High School, an early childhood centre, a retirement village and a special needs unit.
The cycleway was not included in Rotorua’s original cycle network planning, but the closure of a nearby pathway through a reserve that previously provided an important walking and cycling link obliged Council to provide an alternative, safe connection for school students. As such, the project budget was limited and Council had to find an innovative, low-cost way of achieving the objectives within a short time frame, with the added pressure of this having become its first cycleway project and therefore carrying a high risk to the cycleway programme’s reputation.
It was decided to reallocate road space to reduce the traffic lanes and provide a 3 m wide bi-directional separated cycleway. Plastic bollards and wheel-stops were used as separators. Green coloured surfacing and cycleway markings are used intermittently at some driveway crossings. Note that, although on-street parking had been removed from Morey Street several years prior to the cycleway installation, up to that point, some residents had continued to park on the road, sometimes overhanging the footpath.
The Morey Street cycleway was installed in conjunction with upgrades to the adjacent Brent Road (already planned), which involved provision of a shared path and better provision for school drop-offs. To the south, there are existing cycle lanes on Warwick Street.
Some residents opposed the cycleway initially, due to the perceived removal of on-street parking (in reality, this had already occurred several years prior) and concerns about hitting a cycleway user when accessing their driveway.
Many residents who were initially opposed to the project took their concerns directly to the Council’s Chief Executive, rather than engaging with the project team.
Some separator units in a particular section have been repeatedly removed by vandals.
Whilst practical, the separators used are not considered aesthetically pleasing.
Although the cycleway was specifically designed to allow easy transit of rubbish trucks (being 2.85 m wide), some bollards have been damaged by rubbish trucks,
The plastic bollards have since faded in colour.
The end treatments, where some cyclists have to switch back to the other side of the road, could be better indicated.
Extensive public engagement (including letterbox drops of consultation material and formal meetings with residents and schools and individual meetings with concerned residents) achieved buy-in from the majority of residents.
Many of people’s initial concerns were appeased once the cycleway was installed and they got used to it being there.
School students in particular enjoy the cycleway – resulting in a 180% increase in active travel to school along Morey Street (from Council surveys) since it was opened.
The cycleway effectively operates as a shared path – being used not just by cyclists but also pedestrians and people with push scooters, skateboards and mobility scooters.
Some motorists have indicated that they now drive more slowly along Morey Street because the road feels narrower.
Installation and maintenance
The installation was quick and easy to undertake, requiring only a truck-mounted generator and basic handheld tools.
It was possible to quickly readjust position of bollards and wheel stops to accommodate residents’ requests – which helped induce community buy-in.
Choice of separation device
Having achieved community buy-in, Council should find it easier to replace the separators using another style with improved aesthetics, permanence, and durability, later when budgets allow.