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Green Corridor an opportunity for business and wellness

Green Corridor an opportunity for business and wellness

Regular customers, engaged window shoppers and improved staff productivity are just a few of the benefits on offer for Rotorua businesses engaging with the new Green Corridor.

While it may have taken a while for the bike lane concept to catch on, cities like New York and Toronto have demonstrated the benefits, and New Zealand is also beginning to ride the trend with the help of government funding.

The government announced in June this year that it would help fund 41 new urban cycleway projects under the Urban Cycleways Programme, aimed at making cycling safer and more attractive.

Rotorua’s Green Corridor is one of the first “world-class projects” to be completed, with other projects underway around the country that will contribute with 27 cycleways.

Rotorua has needed to remove only around 50 parking spaces leaving more than 5000 inner city parking spaces available, unlike Wellington city which is giving priority to cycle lanes over car parking, in its new cycle plans.

Wellington City Council has a policy that allows 10 per cent of parking near cycleways in the central city to be removed, as on-street parking and private vehicles come second to all other transport.

“While Rotorua’s population largely use cars as their key form of transport, cycling and walking numbers are on the rise across New Zealand, with benefits contributing to communities in a myriad of ways,” says Rotorua Lakes Council's Inner City Revitalisation Portfolio lead, Councillor Karen Hunt.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) funded 57% of Rotorua’s Green Corridor project cost. NZTA Waikato/Bay of Plenty regional director, Harry Wilson says the Transport Agency is pleased to co-fund a project that will provide safe and healthy travel choices.

“Rotorua’s Green Corridor will encourage more people to cycle and walk to their destinations, which in turn will help alleviate congestion on our roads, and improve travel time for motorists.

“We hope to contribute further to the revitalisation of Rotorua’s inner city in the future, working in partnership with the council to create transport solutions that will improve linkages and make the inner city safer for people using all modes of transport.”

Grant Kilby, Rotorua managing director of telecommunications service Now, says the Green Corridor is an exciting example of thinking outside the square, with a number of benefits for businesses.

“The Green Corridor is a transformation for our city and sometimes change can take a while to be accepted. Just look at Eat Streat. When it was first closed to vehicles for alfresco dining many business owners and patrons were upset by not being able to park right outside their restaurant of choice. But that mindset soon diminished and the area is now a world-class dining destination in Rotorua.

“The corridor is as much for locals as it is for visitors. Wouldn’t it be great to see more people who work in the city walking or biking, utilising the new bike stands around the CBD and thereby opening up car parking spaces for visitors.”

Getting people out of their cars and onto their feet creates more engaged, frequent customers who spend just as much, if not more, than those who drive, according to research by PeopleforBikes and the Alliance for Biking and Walking.

An active commute does wonders for health, wellbeing and work productivity, with regular cycle lane users taking 32% fewer sick days and increasing their productivity by 52%.

Riding or walking for three hours a week also slashes the risk of heart disease by 50%, assists in an average weight loss of 6 kilos per person annually and reduces healthcare costs.

ENDS


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