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Group Supports for 'Third Option' For Wgtn Roads

Wellington, 21 February 2006 - Calls to review the need for substantially increasing road capacity to the north of Wellington have been supported by the cycling umbrella organisation BikeNZ.

A temporary alliance of Wellington citizens and organisations known as Option3 is questioning whether enough work has been done on exploring transport options to help alleviate growing commuter congestion.

“As presented in the media, the two options - the coastal route and Transmission Gully – do appear to undersell other possibilities,” BikeNZ’s Advocacy Manager Stephen Knight says. “Calls to better investigate such things as how rail could carry more people more efficiently would be supported by many cyclists, for two reasons. Firstly, it would seem sensible to thoroughly investigate ways to reduce congestion other than through increasing car and truck numbers on an expanded road network. Such investment sits uncomfortably with the Government’s aim of boosting cycling, as outlined in last year’s national walking and cycling strategy.

“Secondly, there is a great potential for developing a continuous cycling route from the Kapiti Coast all the way through to Wellington. This would enhance community development and provide locals with real transport options. For example, linking this route to rail stations would encourage people to park-and-ride using cycles. Providing secure cycle parking facilities at stations would be relatively inexpensive. If lockers and showers were also provided, this would further encourage use. This could generate custom for cafes, book shops and other retail outlets, creating a highly attractive and safe environment. This would seem preferable to increasing car traffic.”

Mr Knight says there are obvious social and economic reasons for creating safe and effective roads for private and commercial vehicles, but recent changes in transport law requires a more integrated approach be taken to ensure wider social, economic and environmental needs are also met.

Background

Co-ordinating cycling, walking and rail in terms of both transport efficiency and the creation of more active-friendly communities fits well not just with the 2005 national walking and cycling strategy (Getting There – On Foot, By Cycle), but also with a raft of other Government initiatives. These include the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy, Health Eating Healthy Action and the Urban Design Protocol. Both the 2002 New Zealand Transport Strategy and the 2003 Land Transport Management Act clearly require such options are not just considered but actively pursued. The 2005 National Rail Strategy notes rail is a relatively fast and low-cost way of moving large numbers of people. Encouraging greater use of public transport also fits with the 2004 Sustainable Energy discussion document, and the Road Safety to 2010 strategy, given how safe rail is compared to traveling by road.

BikeNZ is a support organisation for sport, recreational and commuter cyclists in New Zealand.

ENDS

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