Cycle advocates happy

The Dom Post reports:

Cycling advocates are celebrating the Government’s plan to pump up funding for urban cycleways by $100 million for the next four years.

Prime Minister John Key launched the urban cycling initiative on the Petone foreshore yesterday, chosen because a proposed upgrade of the Petone to Ngauranga Gorge cycleway would be one of the first projects to be considered by a new urban cycleway investment panel.

The panel, to be made up of representatives from central and local government, would advise the Government on where, when and how to speed up development of city cycleways, helping to connect existing routes, as well as expanding the network.

“Everyone knows the health and traffic congestion benefits cycleways can deliver,” Key said.

“Many people cite safety concerns and the lack of infrastructure as the reasons for not cycling. I think we can say that there’s also been some underinvestment in the cycling facilities in urban areas.”

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the move would help to address the “major government underspend on cycling facilities in recent years” and showed that most political parties realised the importance of improving cycling infrastructure.

“This is particularly welcome in Wellington, where we have a number of projects close to being ready and some really significant developments being planned with the potential to transform the cycling network, including the Great Harbour Way, Middleton Rd, and our strategic cycling network.”

I’m now a cyclist and I have to say cycling in Wellington is a bit like Russian Roulette. Will today be the day a car door opens in front of me, or will today be the day a car swipes me as it tries to get past me. This is not the fault of motorists (of which I am one), but reflects we have few dedicated cycleways.

Automobile Association motoring affairs general manager Mike Noon said the extra investment would benefit all road users by making cycling safer in urban centres and reducing congestion.

Yep. Far better if I can cycle somewhere, and not take a car.

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