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Feedback supports advocating for fast-tracking O2NL

The second round of engagement on the Horowhenua Integrated Transport Strategy (HITS) is complete. It focused on the vision, principles and proposed initiatives required to improve transport in Horowhenua.

The strategy will guide the planning, investment and delivery of transport-related infrastructure in Horowhenua for the next 30 years. A governance group that includes the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council representatives is overseeing the development of the strategy.

Principal Policy Advisor Cynthia Ward said just over 250 people took part in a survey and several interested groups received briefings on HITS as part of the engagement process.

The draft vision and principles of HITS aim to provide Horowhenua with a safe, functional, innovative, integrated, multimodal and sustainable transport system that supports a thriving, healthy and growing community and enhances the visitor experience.

Mrs Ward said feedback on the vision and principles was generally supportive. Some respondents suggested additions to consider, such as affordability, environmental benefits, improved connectivity between existing settlements, improving efficiency, enhancing economic growth and the national objectives of SH1.

The proposed initiatives (listed below) attracted a lot of thoughts and comments that Council staff are considering. The following is a summary of the percentage of respondents who supported the most popular initiatives:

Improving access:
• Advocating for O2NL being brought forward – 87%
• Advocating for more public transport and facilities – 65%
• Invest in road safety improvements – 56%
• Safe access and connectivity to new growth areas – 55%

Road and rail safety:
• Advocate for safety improvements to the state highway network – 71%
• Advocate for Levin Railway Station upgrade – 70%
• Advocate for timely implementation of road and rail safety solutions – 61%
• Invest in shared pathways and investigate cycling safety issues – 57%

Public transport/modal choices:
• Advocate for more and improved services to meet specific needs – 71%
• Advocate for enhanced public transport facilities, parking areas and more rail stops – 70%
• Advocate for the refurbishment of the Levin Train Station – 62%

Active mode travel:
• Promote shared pathway connections when consenting new developments – 68%
• Work with communities to design future trails – 68%
• Partner with others and encourage active journeys – 59%
• Investigate intersection safety and provide end-of-trip facilities – 57%

Resilience:
• Advocate for the designation and building of O2NL earlier than planned – 79%
• Advocate for investment to improve resilience of the state highway network – 67%
• In planning and designing new growth areas, consider roading opportunities to build resilience – 58%
• Investigate and research opportunities to provide alternative local road routes and improve safety at high crash points – 56%

Freight and logistics:
• Advocate for the early designation and building of O2NL – 87%
• Advocate for significant transport investment to realise an integrated and multimodal transport system in the district – 69%

Safety improvements on state highway network:
• Advocate for positive transport outcomes earlier than planned (89%), such as:
o Revocation of SH1 / understanding of what that means for our communities
o Make SH1 safer for pedestrians, i.e. refuge crossings and traffic calming measures
o A safer alternative to angle carparks in Levin
o Entry and exit points for Levin so it is easily accessible from the expressway
• Advocate for safety improvements to SH1 turn-offs to access roads to our coastal communities – 69%
• Advocate to NZTA for safety improvements to make communities divided by SH1 safer for residents – 65%

Earlier this year, more than 500 people took part in the initial HITS engagement process that focused on individual transport needs. The feedback from that process helped in the creation of the draft vision, principles and initiatives. Feedback from the second round of engagement will be used to finalise the draft HITS.

Mrs Ward said the draft strategy would go to Council for adoption, along with a suite of Transport Action Plans for projects aimed at realising the vision.
The Transport Action Plans will be developed with Council’s partners, and costed. Some projects will require external funding and they will be referred to the appropriate funding bodies, i.e. NZTA or Horizons Regional Council, to be prioritised. The projects that will require Horowhenua District Council ratepayer funding will be incorporated into the 2021-2041 Long Term Plan process.

The survey results can be viewed at www.horowhenua.govt.nz/HITS

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