Ride on: money for Waipā

Celebration time, from left: Cambridge Community Board chair Jo Davies-Colley and her three children Lansley, 7, Nina, 11, and Sylvie, 9 with deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk, mayor Susan O’Regan, Margaret Drew and in the pram Adie Williams, 19 months.

A project which drew ridicule in Cambridge has been backed by the Government to the tune of more than $10 million.

Waka Kotahi declined to back the scheme to get more people on their feet and bikes – but money has been made available from the climate emergency relief fund.

Projects in Cambridge, Te Awamutu and Kihikihi form part of the council’s $11 million Urban Mobility programme which stalled when a 51 per cent contribution from Waka Kotahi – the government’s land transport agency – did not eventuate.

There was condemnation when the streets for people section of the plan, involving brightly coloured bollards and polka dots painted on intersections, was trialled in Cambridge.

Despite that, the work has resulted in more cycle use, particularly among youngsters heading to school.

Bryan Hudson

Transportation manager Bryan Hudson told the Service Delivery committee this week that Waka Kotahi was using Waipā’s “flagship projects” as a good example for other councils of how to roll out cycling and walking initiatives.

“We accept not everyone wants to be on a bike, but plenty of people in Waipā do and that number is growing,” deputy mayor and Urban Mobility group chair Liz Stolwyk said

The money will offer safer ways to get to school, town, parks and home again without relying on a car.

Michael Wood

On Sunday Transport Minister Michael Wood​ announced a range of projects selected to get a slice of $350 million as part of the Transport Choices package.

The projects, funded from the climate emergency response fund – established in this year’s Budget – focus on low- and no-emissions transport to reduce the need for cars.

Waipā’s share could be up to $10.4 million, the council said in a media release and work could get underway mid next year.

Under the plans, the popular Te Awa River Ride and Hamilton Road cycleways would be extended into the Cambridge business district and broken cycle links in Cambridge west fixed. In Duke St, council is considering a wooden boardwalk to provide enough space for a two-way cycleway while maintaining two-way traffic.

Kihikihi School pupils, from left, Hana Tuhua-Tamaiva, Te Oriwa Heke, Ryan Bull and Wiremu Kapa celebrate with principal Sunny West and deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk, community board chair Ange Holt and, right, mayor Susan O’Regan.

The funding in Kihikihi would connect the town centre with the domain and eventually extend to schools in Te Awamutu.

Community Board chair Jo Davies-Colley said she was excited at the announcement which would provide safety for Cambridge’s growing number of cyclists, including school children.

Stolwyk said most people want fewer cars on roads and safe pathways for mobility scooters, e-scooters and walkers.

“This is win-win for everyone and I’m absolutely thrilled.

“In the meantime, the work to reduce our reliance on cars, reduce emissions and provide more transport choices in Waipā – including an improved bus service across the district – won’t stop. There’s more work to do but wow, this is a great way to end the year.”

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