The NZ Transport Agency says power pole removals, scheduled to take place on Wainui Road from next week, are the first step in further development of Gisborne’s cycle network.
Emma Speight, Director Regional Relationships, says the Government’s urban cycleways programme (UCP) aims to get more Gisborne people - especially children - on their bikes, by delivering a network of cycling routes east of the Turanganui River.
To that end, new cycling and waking paths are currently being designed in a joint effort from the NZ Transport Agency and Gisborne District Council through Tairawhiti Roads.
“Together the new cycleways and shared paths will connect with employment areas and schools in the CBD and provide local road links to schools in the area adjacent to the route,” Ms Speight says.
“They will provide safer and more direct connections for people cycling or walking to the Gisborne CBD, separating residents from the logging trucks and other traffic using the main corridor into town.”
Ms Speight says the removal of power poles on Wainui Road is the very start of work to build a new separated cycleway from Sponge Bay to Craig Road, along the west side of Wainui Road, so that locals - including Kaiti School students - can bike and walk safely on a parallel path separated from State Highway 35.
“This path is an extension of the popular Muriel Jones walkway, which opened in November 2014. Construction of the new path will start in January, and we expect it to be open for users by June 2018.”
In addition to two new paths – on Wainui Rd and Rutene Rd – secondary networks will be developed along Crawford Road, De Lautour Road, Huxley Road, Iranui Road and Score Road to provide feeder routes to schools.
Ms Speight says project teams will be asking for ideas and feedback from local communities over the next few months.
The cost of the improvements is $4.3 million, mostly funded by the Urban Cycling Fund. Once complete, the pathway network is expected to attract over 800 people each day.