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Network Of Cycling & Walking Tracks Across Manukau

26 August 2002


Plan For Network Of Cycling And Walking Tracks Across Manukau


Manukau City Council is proposing to create a network of interconnected cycling and walking routes across the city. The proposal is part of a long term project to provide more transport options and to reduce the decline in cycling and walking over recent years.

It envisions safer routes, exclusive cycling lanes, shared walking and cycle paths alongside arterial roads, and other changes including secure cycle parking facilities at places such as bus and railway stations where cyclists can connect with trains or buses.

Between 1996 and 2001 there was a big drop in bike riding or walking to work within the city. People are driving more instead. In the five years to 2001 the number of trips fell from 3.9% of all trips to 2.9%. The council wants to reverse that trend.

The plan proposes changing public attitudes in order to get more community backing for walking and cycling as a practical alternative to driving. It got the support of the council's transport committee and is to go before the full council later this month. If adopted, there will then be a public consultation period.

Councillor Ian McGechie, chairman of the council's transport committee, says "Manukau is basically a flat city and therefore ideal for cycling and walking, which provide exercise and cheap transport. But we don't have the facilities and networks to make it easy for people to cycle or walk long distances."

The plan calls for cycling and walking to become viable transport options that are as safe as practical, easy to use, direct and pleasant. They will link in with the network of parks in Manukau.

It would have an impact on the way new roads and designed and built as it proposes to cater for cyclists in a variety of ways when planning roads and upgrading current ones. They include exclusive bicycle lanes beside


footpaths, bicycle/car parking lanes, shared pedestrian/ cycle paths alongside major roads and through parks and reserves.

Separate cycling and walking routes are being envisaged. The cycling route will be in two parts, one bisecting the city north and south, the other from east and west. Additional routes would be added later.

A pedestrian network would also be developed, with the first parts being beside main arterial roads close to areas of intensive development and railway stations.

At the moment there are many disincentives to walking long distances in the city. It is difficult to cross many key roads because of the lack of pedestrian access to crossings, public walkways are often perceived as poorly lit, unsafe, narrow and defiled by graffiti.

The cycling and walking strategy suggests ways of dealing with those issues in order to make walking more attractive.

Councillor McGechie says, "Research shows walking is the most popular form of exercise. But we have a lot of work ahead of us to make Manukau a place that's easy to get about on foot or on a bike. There will be many benefits once we do, including a more healthy population and a safer city."

Ends

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