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Geraldine Transport Plan Given Green Light

A wide ranging plan to improve transport in Geraldine has been given the green light by Timaru District Council.

The Geraldine Transport Strategy, which was endorsed by Geraldine Community Board after consultation with the community, was adopted unanimously at a recent Infrastructure Standing Committee Meeting.

The strategy has the vision that ‘The Geraldine Transport System provides safe access for all types of travel and promotes economic growth by enabling tourism and freight’.

One of the key issues identified at the start of the project was one familiar to many small towns in New Zealand.

Priority was given throughout the system to cars, with roads that allowed for high speeds and a high supply of parking, whereas walking and cycling were not well provided for nor well used by the community.

Council Land Transport Manager Susannah Ratahi said that they had been impressed with the high level of community engagement on the plan

“Having a good level of community involvement is important for this kind of project as it offers the on the ground insight of the people who live and work in the town,” she said.

“Previous car-centric models of transport planning, which prioritise vehicles over other modes of transport, have had to shift as demand for safer walking and cycling routes grows from people wanting more active transport options.

“We also have new methods of transport, such as mobility scooters, being increasingly used by our ageing population so it’s important that our pavements can fit them, suitable crossing points are provided and safe routes across town are available.

“Despite having a wider view of what counts as transport we’re still focused on safety improvements for drivers with refinements and realignments of traffic routes and our advocating for a second lane on the Upper Orari River Bridge.”

The report identifies a number of priorities for the town split into short term (within three years), medium term (between three and 10 years) and long term (10 to 30 years). They are:

Short-term priorities:

• An upgraded walking and cycling connection between the Geraldine Primary School and the Geraldine High School, including an upgraded environment through Kennedy Park and working with the schools to develop travel plans.

• An investigation of the Cox / Talbot Street intersection including pedestrian access to identify short- and medium-term improvements.

• A review of speed limits with the intention to lower the speed limit through the shopping area and consideration of speed limits in other areas.

• Development of the Geraldine Parking Management Plan to better understand the needs, deficiencies and potential improvements within the context of the Timaru District Parking Strategy.

Medium-term priorities:

• Cross-town walking improvements on Hislop and Huffey Streets, raised pedestrian platforms in the shopping area on Pine Street, Peel Street and Wilson Street, and improved connections to aged care facilities.

• Cycling improvements on Hislop, George, Jollie and Tripp Streets. Cycle warning signage on the Waihi River Bridge.

• A shared walking and cycling path through the Domain.

• Implement the Geraldine Parking Management Plan, and provide large vehicle parking on Hislop and Pine Streets.

• Implement the medium-term recommendations from the Cox / Talbot Street intersection investigation.

• Ongoing monitoring of network performance to inform the long-term priorities.

Long-term priorities:

• Cycling improvements on Talbot Street through the commercial area to Connolly Street.

• Investigation of State highway diversion from Cox Street to Talbot and Kennedy Streets, including intersection improvements – which will be driven by significant increases in traffic volumes.

• Continue to advocate the Transport Agency to provide additional capacity on the Upper Orari River Bridge.

The priorities outlines in the strategy will be undertaken by the Council in coming years subject to available funding from Council and Waka Kotahi.

At the meeting Wayne O’Donnell, Chair of the Geraldine Community board thanked all the people who got involved in the plan.

“This is a long term vision for ensuring Geraldine remains a vibrant and liveable town for residents and visitors,” he said.

“It’s a really useful piece of work that will inform and flow through the creation of the wider strategic plan for Geraldine which will be getting underway soon.”

The final version of the Geraldine Transport Strategy is now online at: https://www.timaru.govt.nz/tell-us/current-consultations/geraldine-transport-strategy

© Scoop Media

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