Growing cycling and walking in town is becoming a step closer.
Last year, Wairoa District Council successfully attracted $1.9 million through the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Transport Choices 2022 fund to specifically encourage alternative transport.
The pathway project supports a partnership approach with Council partnering with Tiaho Primary School and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngāti Kahungunu o Te Wairoa to develop footpaths and cycle lanes near the schools and link up with the Mountain Bike Park and river walkway.
A draft design is being worked on and will be shared with the community once complete.
The Transport Choices 2022 fund is based on climate change and reducing vehicle emissions.
Through a combination of education and access, Council intends to plant the ‘seed’ to grow cycling and walking through primary school students, staff and parents.
A 400m safe zone around Tiaho and Te Kura schools is proposed with improvements such as shared paths and protected cycle lanes on the road. This zone includes sections along Clyde Road, Kitchener Street, Black Street and Rutherford Street which all provide access to the two schools to make cycling and walking to and from school a safer and more attractive option than it currently is.
Wairoa District Council Chief Executive Kitea Tipuna said this is an excellent opportunity to involve today’s younger generation in the goals of the future and also improve cycling and walking connections in Wairoa.
Mr Tipuna said this funding is specifically for alternative transport, so it can’t be put against other criteria. “As we all know, a significant amount of infrastructure work is needed throughout our district and region. This funding was allocated before Cyclone Gabrielle and is separate from the recovery rebuilding work. Through this investment, we will offer new options for walking and cycling, which is good for Wairoa and the environment.
“The goal is to support safe, green and healthy school travel while delivering strategic cycling/micro-mobility networks and creating walkable neighbourhoods.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little praised the Council engineering team for the innovative approach that the funders recognised and supported. “Linking in with schools is a great way to partner with our community, and this project also provides the opportunity to improve our infrastructure and all with external funding at no cost to the ratepayer.
“The concept of starting with our younger generation is great, and I look forward to seeing more connected pathways, safe cycling zones for our children and an increase in the use of bikes.
“We want cycling and walking to be an easy, safe and attractive choice for locals and visitors in the Wairoa district, and this is a step in the right direction.”
Wairoa District Council also received an additional $20,000 for bike parking and an event to support the activation of the cycleway opening. Staying in touch with the community and involving local people is key to the development.
Photo Caption: This map provides an indication of what the new pathway project in the Wairoa township could look like.
25 August 2023
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