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Gearing up in cycling across New Zealand

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Cycling is an integral part of New Zealand’s land transport system and is now the fastest growing mode of transport in several cities and towns across the country.

Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith (left) and Transport Agency Regional Director

Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith (left) and Transport Agency Regional Director Central Raewyn Bleakley join Longburn Primary School pupils on a ride to celebrate the opening of the first of the new urban cycle pathways that received funding through the UCP earlier this year.

The 2015-2018 Urban Cycleways Programme(external link), announced last month by the Prime Minister, will see $296 million invested in 41 projects in 15 urban centres across over the next three years. Around one third of that investment will be spent in the Central region.

This significant funding increase in cycling will help create a more user-friendly, connected cycleway network across New Zealand, encouraging more people to cycle more safely, more often.

“Making urban cycling a safer and more attractive transport choice is a strategic priority for the Transport Agency,” says Chief Executive Geoff Dangerfield.

“Getting more New Zealanders cycling will relieve congestion during peak travel times, connect people with a greater range of employment, education and social opportunities and contribute to a more environmentally sustainable future for our transport network.

“To put it simply, cycling is good for our cities, it’s good for the environment and it’s good for our health”.

The Transport Agency is working closely with local authorities to accelerate the delivery of cycling networks in our main urban areas.

“We’re also working to improve safety, and perceptions of safety, for cyclists,” says Geoff. “This includes safer networks in all our main urban centres, improving attitudes towards cycling, and building mutual respect between cyclists and other road users. The recommendations from the recent New Zealand Cycling Safety Panel report are at the heart of this work programme”.

The Urban Cycleways Programme is designed to take full advantage of all available funding sources, including local government and the National Land Transport Fund, to enable high-quality projects to get underway much sooner than may otherwise have been the case.

Transport Agency Regional Director Raewyn Bleakley says the programme builds on the significant investments already being made in cycling including through the model communities in Hastings and New Plymouth, the New Zealand Cycle Trail network and other projects including the Roads of National Significance.

“It’s really encouraging to see so many successful cycling initiatives in our region,” says Raewyn. “Just this month in Palmerston North we celebrated the opening of the Longburn Shared Pathways, the first of the new urban cycle pathways that will eventually cross New Zealand”.

Raewyn joined Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith at the launch in Longburn, where they addressed a crowd of 200 at Longburn Primary School before setting off on a 10 minute cycle from Longburn to Palmerston North along with students from the school (pictured, above).

It is anticipated that the total cycling investment in New Zealand over the next three years will be around $380m to $400m, delivering over 250km of new urban cycleways.

The Transport Agency’s goal is to increase the total number of annual cycling trips by 10 million in the next four years.

Find out more about the Urban Cycleways Programme, including specific investment in your region.

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