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Council supports new walking and cycling strategy

Council supports new walking and cycling strategy

The development of a draft national strategy aimed at encouraging more people to walk and cycle has the support of Waitakere City Council.

Titled “Getting There – On Foot, By Cycle” – the walking and cycling strategy is part of the bigger New Zealand Transport Strategy released last year.

The Council developed its Walking and Cycling Strategy earlier this year in response to the direction signalled in the Transport Strategy.

The draft national strategy sets out the vision, goals and priorities for encouraging more walking and cycling in New Zealand. It builds on the government’s goal of providing a holistic transport package for the country and supports the Council’s direction of providing for alternative travel modes (including its own Walking and Cycling Strategy).

The strategy also applies to national agencies such as Transit NZ and Transfund NZ – helping to build and strengthen how walking and cycling are viewed in major road and rail improvement projects.

The strategy’s vision is: “A New Zealand where people from all sectors of the community choose to walk and cycle for transport and enjoyment – helping ensure a healthier population, more lively and connected communities and a more affordable, integrated, safe, responsive and sustainable transport system”.

The strategy has four key focuses: Making communities and transport networks more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists Encouraging the choice of walking and cycling Improving safety and security for those who walk and cycle Strengthening the foundations for effective action

“The Council fully supports the development of the strategy, as it takes a holistic approach to various aspects of walking and cycling development, including the areas of promotion, safety, health and infrastructure improvements,” says Denise Yates, deputy chair of the Council’s Environmental Management Committee.

“However, there are a number of significant areas missing at this stage, which will determine the effectiveness of the strategy. Weaknesses include no set targets, monitoring programme or implementation plan, but we understand they have been identified as key areas to be developed over the next two years.”

Waitemata District Health Board director, Penny Hulse, says the implementation of a walking and cycling strategy that encourages a healthier population can only be good for local residents.

“One of the key strategic health goals of the Waitemata DHB is in the area of cardiac health. With heart disease being our number one killer, any extra exercise that our community gets is going to make a difference. Safe places to walk and cycle will be providing people with more opportunities to exercise and will potentially save millions of health dollars a year,” she says.

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