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Eastside schools join Transport Minister to open new cycleway

Media Release

19 May 2017

Eastside schools join Transport Minister to open new cycleway

Students from Rotorua’s Owhata Primary and Mokoia Intermediate helped Transport Minister Simon Bridges officially open the new cycleway outside their schools today.

The students cut the ribbon to formally open the new section of Rotorua’sCyWay network on Morey Street and Brent Road

Two types of bike facilities feature in this project including an on-road separated cycle link along Morey Street and a widened shared footpath on Brent Road with a new pick-up/drop-off point outside the schools.

The aim of this project was to establish a safer connection for pedestrians and bike riders between the eastern suburbs, Te Ngae Road, the forest and the two schools.

Owhata Primary School Principal Bob Stiles says having these facilities that connect the neighbourhood to the school is a great step to seeing more children and their whānau on bikes.

“Having more students bike to school is not only great for their health and self-confidence, it also makes the school entrance a lot less busy during pick-up and drop-off times.

“Council have considered all users’ safety with the improvements to the pull-in bay for those who drive and the raised crossings for pedestrians and bike riders,” he says.

To encourage more students to giving bike riding a go, both Owhata and Mokoia are now part of the Bikes in Schools programme.

Council is working with the schools by providing expert knowledge from behaviour change consultant Hugh Bootten.

“We have been very fortunate to be able to participate in Bikes in Schools. It is great to see all the kids having equal opportunities to learn to ride,” says Mr Stiles.

“Council’s Behaviour Change Consultant Hugh Bootten has been an asset to the programme. He has given the children and the teachers a real confidence boost.”

The Morey Street/Brent Road project is part of Rotorua’s CyWay programme which is creating a network of cycleways and shared paths that connect neighbourhoods to schools, work, shops, the central city and tourist destinations while making riding a bike a safe, viable and enjoyable option for anyone who wants to try it.

The $5.52m CyWay programme launched in 2015 when the Government announced a $5.5m fund shared between Council ($1.9m), the Government ($1.5m) and New Zealand Transport Agency ($2.1m) available over three years. This has enabled Council to fast track its planned urban cycleways network, which was originally to have taken 10 years.

Rotorua CyWay update

Projects

· The CyWay programme has grown from 10 projects to 11 with staff investigating options for a Western Heights link to connect the residential areas there to the three main schools in the area.

· A bridge from Sala Street across the Puarenga Stream is being considered as an alternative entrance to the Redwoods as part of the Whakarewarewa Forest link project.

· The Ranolf Street project which will connect existing cycleways at the northern and southern ends of town with the lakefront, inner city and three schools is currently undergoing a safety audit. Recommendations from the audit will be taken into account as part of the project’s detailed design.

A full update on the CyWay projects will be given to Councillors at the Operations and Monitoring Committee meeting on 1 June 2017. Go to www.cyway.nz for the latest project updates.

Bikes in Schools

Students from several Rotorua schools have had the opportunity to take part in the Bikes in Schools programme with Rotorua Lakes Council behaviour change consultant Hugh Bootten.

The programme is funded by The Bike On New Zealand Charitable Trust and aims to enable as many New Zealand children as possible to ride a bike on a regular basis within school.

The full package includes a fleet of new bikes, a good quality helmet for every child, a riding track in school grounds and storage facilities.

Council’s behaviour change consultant Hugh Bootten has been supporting the programme in schools by guiding the students and teachers through basic bike and safety skills. Hugh has taken classes from Owhata Primary, Mokoia Intermediate, Otonga Primary and Rotorua Seventh-day Adventist School through a three stage programme which covers safety checks of helmets and bikes, how to ride on the road safely and a final road ride with parents and teachers.

The recent arrival of a number of unassembled bikes became an impromptu bike building class for many Owhata students and their families.

Upcoming CyWay events and campaigns

· Don’t Be Dim - Be Bright campaign
Do you know that by law your bicycle must have front and rear lights which must be on between sunrise and sunset and must be visible from a distance of 200 metres? For the next two months the CyWay team are aiming to get more Rotorua bike riders using the correct lighting on their bikes.

· Be Bright pit stops
The CyWay team will run a series of Be Bright pit stops in June to promote the use of bike lights. Bike commuters can stop on their travels and pick up some bike lights so they can be easily spotted if out and about in the dark.

· The Rotorua Tweed Ride – 25 June 2017
A mid-winter celebration of biking in Rotorua. The ride will start at the Soundshell end of the Village Green and depending on how social/energetic you are feeling you can choose from two routes.


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