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Million dollar deal would give city cyclists more road room

Jul 17th, 2011 | By | Category: Featured Article, Front Page Layout, News

WHEEL IDEAS: Cycling advocate Patrick Morgan says council can’t ignore cyclists any more.

WELLINGTON cyclists will be getting more room on the roads if a proposal to double the city’s cycling budget is successful.

If the New Zealand Transport Agency agrees to double its contribution, Wellington City Council will do the same, making $1 million a year available for cycling projects.

Cycling advocate Patrick Morgan says the decision is a win for Wellington cyclists, and the result of years of hard work.

“Ten years ago it was easy for the city council to do very little – now they can’t ignore us,” he says.

“Cyclists are sizable in number. We’re well-organised and we’ve got great ideas about how we can make Wellington a more liveable and prosperous city.”

Councillor Andy Foster, who led the proposal, agrees that council attitudes to cyclists are changing.

“Cyclists are not young, Lycra-wearing fitness fanatics any more,” he says.

“It’s a choice being exercised by all parts of the community. I think councillors are starting to realise the importance of it from an economic perspective.”

Councillors voted 15-0 to double their contribution to cycling initiatives from $235,000 to $470,000 a year, if NZTA agrees to double its share from $265,000 to $530,000.

The new money would allow the Tawa-to-Porirua shared cycle/walkway to be completed by 2014, several years ahead of schedule.

It would also allow for planning on improvements to the Middleton Rd (Tawa-to-Johnsonville) commuter route, the connection between Ngauranga Gorge and Wellington City, and cycle lanes from Island Bay to the central business district.

There are plans for between 20 and 30 more “advanced stop boxes”, the green boxes painted on the road that give cyclists a chance to clear an intersection before other traffic.

The council is in the process of making the funding application to NZTA,and Mr Foster says he is confident transport body will agree.

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