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Councillors approve new policies on walking

NEWS RELEASE 1 December 2008

Councillors approve new policies on walking and cycling

Wellington City Council has adopted three new policies aimed at improving conditions for walkers and cyclists across the city. The Walking, Cycling and Track Recreation Activities policies were approved by the Council at their meeting last week. Councillor Andy Foster, the Council's Urban Development and Transport Portfolio Leader, and Councillor Celia Wade-Brown, the Environment Portfolio Leader, have welcomed the decision.

Cr Foster says the Council's first Walking and Cycling policies are the result of extensive consultation with the community. "We had a lot of superb input from the public and we made some significant changes as a result, including on issues such as traffic-light phasing and red-light cameras, conceptual support for the Great Harbour Way and consideration of new clearways to help cyclists.

"These new policies aim to reduce barriers to walking or cycling to work, schools, suburban centres, public transport and recreational facilities. Wellington's compact nature compared to other cities means it is a great city for walking. We already have the highest levels of walking and running to work in New Zealand - and our Walking Policy will ensure we continue to build on being New Zealand's most walkable city.

"Our new Cycling Policy is focussed first and foremost on making cycling safer and more convenient. Infrastructural improvements and traffic management measures will be introduced to make the streets safer for cyclists and reduce the number of crashes involving cyclists. As a start, the Council will be investigating a range of options early next year for tackling the cycle accident black-spot on Thorndon Quay. We'll also be looking at ways of letting cyclists travel more easily between the Cable Car and Salamanca Road."

Cr Wade-Brown says the Council has been working closely with outdoor enthusiasts to develop its new Track Recreation Activities policy. She says many people choose active transport options to commute via Wellington's open spaces as well as using roads and footpaths. The final policy continues to ensure the majority of Wellington's tracks will be shared between mountain bikes and walkers while some tracks are designated for exclusive use. Strong public representation restricted use of Rangitatau Reserve to walkers and runners only.

"Wellington has a well-deserved reputation for the quality of its outdoor activities and our track network is an important reason for that. Our new tracks policy deals with how our off-road track network is used and by whom - including walkers, runners, mountain bikers and horse riders.

"A number of areas and tracks are being opened to cycling for the first time, including Seton Nossiter Park, parts of Tinakori Hill, Truby King Roads, Northern Skyline and Wrights Hill. Horse riders will now have access to Woodburn Reserve, Old Coach Road and Te Kopahou Reserve."

Funding levels for the implementation of the three policies will be determined by next June, at the conclusion of the Council's Long Term Council Community Plan process.


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