A major investment in walking and cycling improvements for the Wakatipu Basin has been endorsed, with $14 million in funding approved to commence the first stage of the programme.
The Way to Go partnership made up of Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC), Otago Regional Council (ORC) and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has completed a business case that clearly demonstrates the need for significant investment in an active travel network.
QLDC General Manager Property and Infrastructure Peter Hansby said the completion and Transport Agency endorsement of the Wakatipu Active Travel Network business case is a major milestone for transport improvements in Wakatipu.
“Across the Wakatipu Basin there are 190km of existing trails for walking, hiking and cycling. These routes are very popular, but they’re mostly used by recreational users and tourists. The routes are incomplete and do not currently form a comprehensive network that connect people’s homes, workplaces, education and other destinations. Some of the routes are too steep, while others are too narrow, inadequately lit or are too close to fast flowing traffic, causing safety concerns,” Mr Hansby said.
“To give locals and visitors genuine choice in how they move about the Wakatipu Basin and encourage people to cycle or walk, the existing network of trails, tracks and routes must be improved and expanded,” he said.
The programme of work, which is currently partially funded through QLDC’s 2018-28 Ten Year Plan, will include upgrades to a number of existing trails as well as several new trails, connecting key destinations such as Arrowtown, Arthurs Point, Kelvin Heights, Jacks Point, Lake Hayes Estate and Shotover Country, Fernhill, Frankton and Queenstown.
NZ Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships Jim Harland said the Transport Agency was very supportive of the programme, which constituted a good package of work. “Our funding support acknowledges that this network of cycling and walking paths is a critical investment for Queenstown and QLDC and will help to deliver viable transport choice, better connect local communities and even enhance people’s health.”
Otago Regional Council Team Leader Public Transport Julian Phillips said the improved connections to bus stops were a positive move.
“These tracks and routes will give bus users a lot more freedom when it comes to switching between transport modes—going from bike to bus, for example—and will make accessing the Wakatipu Basin public transport network easier for a lot of people.”
Buses on the Orbus network have two bike mounts at the front of each bus.
Stage one is planned to commence this financial year, and includes routes from Jack’s Point to Frankton and from Lake Hayes Estate North through Frankton to Frankton Track. Detailed design is about to get underway for a raft of routes including from Lake Hayes Estate South across the Kawarau River to Wakatipu High School and Remarkables Park.
View the full business case:
Wakatipu Active Travel Network Single Stage Business Case (external link)
Queenstown Lakes District Council, the New Zealand Transport Agency and Otago Regional Council have joined forces to develop and deliver a safe, connected and accessible transport network for Wakatipu.
The partnership is known as Way to Go and recognises that all three agencies have an important role to play in driving change.
There has already been a significant amount of planning work completed to identify potential solutions and the group will continue to build on this, focusing on the following projects:
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