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Palmerston North cyclists mobilize against plans

Palmerston North cyclists mobilize against plans to remove cycle lanes'

On Friday night from 5pm, sixteen cyclists began a mobilization of the town's cycling fraternity by riding in convoy around city streets. Wearing placards such as "Cycle lanes please", and "Kids need cycle lanes!", they wanted to raise public awareness of the City's plan to abolish cycle lanes on Ferguson Street in favour of creating a more heavily motorized traffic ring road around the central business area of Palmerston North. The cyclists see that this 'traffic island' effect will severely restrict cycle and pedestrian mobility and safety.

There were a few teasing catcalls from younger motorists, but the reaction from the group was respectful so as not to lose support for their cause or require police attention. The event may be run again regularly on the last Friday of each month to gather more participants.

A deputation from Cycle Aware Palmerston North will be at the City Council on Monday night (29 March) to plead that the city to stay true to its Bike Plan policy, which aspires to 'provide a priority network for cyclists to enable safe and convenient access to the major destinations of the city." Cycle Aware contends that the Council is not providing a 'network' of connected streets to enables school kids and other local cyclists to get from A to B safely.

"If hundreds of us are forced to give up our bikes in favour of cars, that will just congest the streets and defeat the expensive widening of the roads," says Bruce Thomson, who organized Friday's ride. "If good provision for cycling is made, parents aren't forced to drive their kids to school. Many commuters can enjoy a bit of exercise cycling to work. The traffic noise and congestion get more bearable. And neighbourhoods and downtown become nicer places to live in. Do we really want to turn Palmy into a surrounding snarl of jammed traffic as you see in Los Angeles and Auckland?"

The 'critical mass' bicycle ride is an internationally popular method that sees dozens or even hundreds of city cyclists gathering to ride through the streets regularly to gain public support for bike lanes and other cycling-friendly road facilities.

On April 7 at noon to 1pm at the City Council Chambers a video showing on 'street reclaiming' (reducing motorized traffic in favour of downtown and neighbourhood) will be run by the Manawatu Regional Council, promoting this year's World Health Day them of safer roads. (Contact Mary Mitchell - Road safety Coordinator for more info PH: 06 952 2810 Email: mary.mitchell@horizons.govt.nz ) The concept of street reclaiming is explained at www.lesstraffic.com. Contact regarding this possible article:

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