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Boost for city cycling strategies

Boost for city cycling strategies

North Shore City cyclists are to get a boost to their cause with the city council's release of a draft cycling plan and the introduction of a number of new cycling strategies.

This week's meeting of the council's works and environment committee endorsed a report from city transport planner Esther Sassenburg; supported a programme of public consultation; endorsed a citywide safety campaign; and supported the employment of a transport planner to help put the cycle plan into effect.

Works and environment committee chairperson, Joel Cayford, says the report and strategies are aimed at meeting the demands and safety needs of cyclists in the city, so that the number of people cycling for sport, recreation and commuting increases.

"Cycling has a number of benefits to the city and to individual cyclists, " says Cr Cayford. "Cycling helps reduce traffic congestion and air, noise and water pollution. It's a low cost, energy-efficient mode of transport that does not rely on fossil fuels. And it increases individual fitness, reduces heart disease, obesity and cholesterol levels and it's a great remedy for depression, fatigue and aggression," he says.

Ms Sassenburg's report, entitled 'Cycling is for Everyone' outlines the council's new initiatives as a part of its Strategic Cycle Plan, District Plan and City Blueprint, and sets out how cyclists' safety and facilities will be given greater attention, and how safe cycling will be promoted.

The council supported the employment of an assistant transport planner, and the commitment of the year's as yet unspent cycling strategy budget.

There are already considerable numbers of people who regularly cycle on North Shore City roads, and the council will now embark on a cycle safety awareness campaign.

"We need to improve the roading environment for cyclists, but we also need to ensure that other users of the road care for cyclists and are aware of how their behaviour can cause safety risks for cyclists," Cr Cayford says.

Both Transfund and Infrastructure Auckland have substantial budgets allocated to build cycling infrastructure.

"Until now, North Shore City Council has not been able to apply those funds in the city because it did not have a properly developed cycle strategy. Thankfully that situation has now changed," he says.

Initiatives that could be completed within two years of the adoption of the cycle strategies include:

* A city-wide safety campaign

* over 14km of new cycleways

* at least 200 new cycle parking facilities throughout the city

* improved facilities at ferry terminals

* adoption of national cycling design standards

* hosting of a national cycling conference in October this year.

The council's cycling strategy can be view on its website: http://www.northshorecity.govt.nz

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