Crossing the Manawatu Safely

7 06 2011

The Manawatu River is the biggest obstacle when travelling north-south through the Horowhenua. It can be reasonably safely crossed on the Shannon-Foxton Road, and there is a bridge on State Highway 1 just south of Foxton.

The bridge itself is narrow, and has no verges for cyclists. So if you’re crossing it on a bicycle you look over your shoulder for trucks and cars and pedal like buggery to try to cross the short span before your loved ones receive flowers.

I know according to the NZTA, the New Zealand public and the National-led national government cyclists should cherish every day they are not run over by a truck, but geez it really is a crap situation.

There may be a Dutch influence on the Horowhenua, and it seems there is to be a new Dutch Settlers Museum being built in Foxton, but it hasn’t translated into safe cycling infrastructure.

Here is the dangerous bridge from the underneath on the south side:

And here is the river looking upstream from the same spot:

It seems like a perfect spot to put in a cyclists bridge, or one of these (as highlighted in this post of mine):

Because at the moment here is what the bridge is like (taken from the passenger seat of my car, because it is too dangerous to ride it on a bike taking pictures). This is the southern entrance to the bridge:

And here is on the bridge itself showing a concrete wall to get crushed against:

In contrast to the danger of the bridge the Whirokino Trestle across the Moutoa Floodway immediately north of the river has a safe cycle route across the flood plain:

Riding across the bridge I feel like a

What can be done about it? I know there are plenty of unsafe bridges on the state highway network, and it’s not the only one without a practical alternative route, but the traffic is really heavy, and Levin and Foxton aren’t that far apart. So can we start with providing a safe alternative for cyclists on this bridge please?

We cyclists get a pretty raw deal.


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9 responses

7 06 2011
andy foster

completely agree Matthew. The bridge is too long to be that narrow – motorists unlikely to wait – flowers !

7 06 2011
Patrick Morgan

I understand the Whirikino Trestle was built following the death of a Foxton man who had advocated for a safe cycling route across the Manawatu river.
Likewise, a clip-on bike/footpath was added to the SH3 bridge over the Whanganui after 2 boys got knocked off their bikes.
Parking spaces were removed from Tamaki Drive after Jane Bishop was killed in 2010.
Not to be outdone, NZTA spent some money on the Hutt Rd south of Petone after Steve Fitzgerald was killed in 2008.
Can anyone see a pattern here?

7 06 2011
Matt

Yes, it would be nice to act preemptively on cycle blackspots. That’s why the Wellington CAN’s black spot programme is great. Now if only they don’t get ignored. This blog doesn’t work wonders, and is pretty much ignored. My Johnsonville concerns have been ignored so far. There should be someone in government who has the role of cyclist and pedestrian safety. I’m sure it is under the remit of the Transport Minister, but well it seems it is a part of his job that doesn’t get much attention.

The BCR on getting rid of a cycling or pedestrian blackspot must be pretty good considering the cost of flowers these days.

8 06 2011
Malcolm

Its very disturbing that very often people have to die before black spots are corrected, despite them being notified to councils beforehand.

There’s a spot on Evans Bay Parade thats very similar to the place on Tamaki Drive in Auckland where that lady died. Despite bringing it to the councils attention several times, nothing gets done. Madness. Maybe if I’m killed there, they’ll change it.

10 06 2011
Patrick Morgan

Malcolm,
please post details of the blackspot on Evans Bay Parade.

14 06 2011
Malcolm

I put the details on the Cycle Aware Wellington black spots thing a while ago, and I’ve emailed the council directly about it. Its on Evans Bay Parade just north of Greta Point. I dont think its quite as bad as the Tamaki Drive one, but still seems very stupid and dangerous and an accident waiting to happen. Would be a very easy fix too

20 06 2011
Simon

FYI, Paul Barker from WCC was talking about a fix for the J’ville exit at the top of the Gorge at the last road safety meeting we had.

It’s a double-edged sword, I know, but cycling accidents are generally so rare that it is usually hard to make the case for a good BCR until after an accident has happened. Only a small percentage of cycling accidents happen at ‘blackspots’. Most are spread fairly randomly over the city, where ever there happen to be intersections, driveways, or parked cars. Reducing risk at blackspots needs to be complimented with sensible reductions in speed throughout the city.

29 04 2012
A Foxton Beach to Castlepoint Cycleway « Wellington Region Cycleways

[...] There are numerous possible routes from Foxton to Shannon using the quiet roads, the levee banks of the river and the Moutoa Floodway. There’s also the Moutoa Reserve which could have its muddy and grassy tracks upgraded to cycleable. A bit of thinking outside of the square could also fix the problem of a lack of a safe cycle crossing across the Manawatu. [...]

25 08 2012
It’s a pity we live amongst the unimaginative « Wellington Region Cycleways

[...] there are two main obstacles: Crossing the Manawatu Safely and the fact that all of the non highway routes generally don’t link up into safe backroads [...]

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