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Ninety Nelsonians ride for the waterfront

March 2nd 2018

Ninety Nelsonians ride for the waterfront

Ninety Nelsonians took part in a protest ride on Thursday demanding that the New Zealand Transport Authority and Nelson City Council build a walkway-cycleway around the waterfront.

Organised by the Green Party, the mass ride from town to Tahunanui came as the result of increasing concern about the safety of pedestrians and cyclists and a desire for NZTA and the Council to resume the waterfront project that stalled in 2014.

The ride went from Millers Acre to the Sprig & Fern in Tahunanui where NELSUST convenor Peter Olorenshaw and the event’s coordinator Matt Lawrey gave sort speeches.

The riders included families, a man on a Penny Farthing, another on a mobility scooter and a small dog riding as a passenger.

Lawrey said the Greens were “absolutely delighted” by the turnout and the wide range of people who took the time to express their concerns about the waterfront and their desire for a walkway-cycleway.

“The one thing that everyone in Nelson agrees on is the need to make our waterfront safer and more inviting for everyone,” he said.

“There are no losers with this project. Everyone benefits and if the signals the Government is sending about its transport priorities are to be believed, it’s just the sort of regional investment they should be happy to fund.”

Lawrey said building a well-engineered walkway-cycleway would:

Unleash the waterfront's walking and cycling potential.

Help to reduce congestion and improve people's health.

Make Rocks Rd and Wakefield Quay safer for everyone, including motorists.

Significantly increase the foot and pedal traffic passing the front doors of hospitality businesses in Wakefield Quay.

Encourage visitors to spend more time and, as result, more money in Nelson.

Increase the waterfront’s resilience to the effects of climate change.

Largely complete the Nelson cycleway network.

And finally make it possible for families to safely ride to the beach.

Lawrey said that even supporters of the proposed Southern Link should be able to support the project.

“The walkway-cycleway and the Southern Link are not mutually exclusive and if we keep waiting for the Link to be built, before getting Wakefield Quay and Rocks Rd sorted, it’s entirely possible that we will never see any progress on the waterfront.”

Lawrey, who was the Green Party’s candidate at last year’s election and is a Nelson City Councillor, said the Greens would like to thank all the motorists the cyclists encountered on the ride for their patience and understanding.

“Seriously, everyone who was behind the wheel was very cool and totally courteous.”

The next step in the campaign will be the production of a video highlighting the need for a waterfront walkway-cycleway.

ends

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