Limitations shown in National Cycling Funding

11 02 2010

This Stuff Report says Wellington will miss out on any funding from the New Zealand Cycle Trail fund this time round.

At the Ministry of Tourism site it lists the projects getting funding this time round.

They are:

  1. Tauranga Moana Coastal Cycle Trail (Tauranga)
  2. Old Motu Coach Road (Opotiki/Gisborne)
  3. Thermal by Bike (Rotorua)
  4. Lake Track (Taupo)
  5. Mountains to Sea Cycleway – link (Ruapehu)
  6. Heretaunga Ararua: Land of a Hundred Pathways (Hawkes Bay)
  7. Dun Mountain and Tasman Cycle Loop (Nelson/Tasman)
  8. Old Ghost Road (West Coast)
  9. Westland Wilderness Trail (Greymouth)
  10. Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail (Mt Cook)
  11. The Wakatipu Trail (Queenstown)
  12. Roxburgh Gorge Trail (Central Otago)
  13. Clutha Gold Trail (Otago)

Which I am sure are all going to be great projects, but the National Cycleway has already morphed from what PM John Key announced back at the jobs summit, a continuous route from Cape Reinga to Bluff. The map shows the chosen routes so far. It is a disjointed network.

I argue that quiet rural roads (away from the state highways) can be chosen, and then comprehensively signposted, to link the disparate trails into a network, at quite a small cost, and then magically there is a continuous cycleway network, which can be ridden, improved upon, and rerouted as funds become available. People all over the country could start getting enthused about cycling it sooner rather than later.

And as for the cities, here the National Cycleway should be about more than just recreational and tourist cycling, but act also as commuter cycleways, to promote cycling, and to reduce the currently appalling traffic on the roads. That is why Wellington needs funding for the Great Harbour Way to link Wellington and the Hutt, and why it needs a safe route between Ngauranga and Porirua (with all of the Johnsonville deathtraps turned into cycle lanes, yes getting rid of on-road car parking in J’ville town centre and turning it into a 30kph zone). The lack of vision in commuting cycling may be a limitation of the National Cycleway people, but really they’d only be taking up the slack from clueless local councils. Palmerston North might have considered the needs of cyclists, but Wellington hasn’t. Wellington even claims that it will carbon neutral in 2 years time. Like without bikes how is that ever going to happen?

I was hoping that the National Cycleway was going to be more than just a single route between Cape Reinga and Bluff. I was hoping for a network criss-crossing the whole country of safe routes away from the busy roads. Like my Power Pole route for instance. I was hoping for routes that could be ridden with full panniers and bike trailers with campsites and heading through the smaller towns where locals start new businesses providing cafes and B&Bs, and where the route was going to be only for MTBers I was hoping for bypass routes around. At the moment I’m not quite sure what the finished network (or even if it will be a network) is meant to be.

Maybe I should just be patient thinking it is all going to happen eventually and go and ride these new tracks and trails when they open.

Update: From reading the Q&A on the tourism website what is announced is it. There isn’t to be a 3rd round of funding 😦 . The Cape Reinga to Bluff concept as enthusiastically announced by the PM is not being considered. It has morphed into a “Great Rides” idea to compliment the “Great Walks”. I guess the prime minister got a bit carried away. I suppose we are lucky he did to get the current concept out of them. It does mean advocacy for more cycleways is now needed.

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5 responses

16 02 2010
Haydn

Hello I happen to be a member of a
hosting network for cycle tourists and of particular concern to me is
when, as happened recently, a Canadian tourist contacted me and asked my
advice as to time of year which would suit a trip and any not to miss
attractions. They were/are coming to masterton now by train from
wellington which I see as a bit of a disappointment, I felt I needed to
warn them that the SH2 route over the Rimutaka range is not suitable for
bikes which it isn’t and that isn’t likely to change in the near future.
I did mention the Rimutaka incline track which I have ridden to bike to
the Hutt and found it a pleasant experience, how ever there are a few
obstacles that would make the route inconvenient for loaded cyclists
(such as the uneven track and stile at the cross creek end and also
Siberia gully is a little treacherous) I then mentioned the big coast
route which I have walked once I believe (when I was much younger) and
because of that didn’t realize that it is a private and jealously
guarded track and so my disappointment continued. These links would be
of great value to the cycle tourist seeking to find a route through the
region as I believe the general quietness of the roads though the
Wairarapa are preferable to the west coast with quite a number choosing
to travel on SH52 when heading north of masterton which passes (by my
house) Rather deserted but when the other option is cycling in close
proximity to heavy traffic it’s ‘a no brainer’.

Well this being as it may I wonder if There is anything I can do to
promote and advocate for this. looking forward to your reply, Haydn
McCormick.

16 02 2010
Matthew

Thanks for the comment Haydn. I don’t know what we can do to get the Wairarapa back on the radar.

I reckon that the Rimutaka Rail Trail for them would have been fine (with the proviso that it’d be a bit of a struggle on the single track at the Cross Creek end if fully laden).

And yep I think that Wellington to Petone on the Great Harbour Way, and the Hutt River Trail, and the Rimutaka Rail Trail, and then something could be done to link it to the Lake Domain Park and onto Martinborough, should be a promoted route. I also think the Western Lake Road and around the heads to Pencarrow and Eastbourne should be promoted as a circular trail. And I say stuff private property rights, as the coast path should be a national tourism asset.

But it seems the money for the National Cycle Way is going to be limited only to the projects announced, and then that’s it, so no National Cycle Way, just the Great Rides idea.

Where to now for advocating, developing and funding more routes? I have no idea. This website gets a few hits, but mostly not from Kiwis I think.

And if you look at some of the other applicants for the pot of money and who missed out at http://can.org.nz/article/nz-cycle-trail-applicants-feb-2010 then you’ll see a lot of good projects didn’t get funded.

I feel that maybe John key got carried away with enthusiasm announcing it at the jobs summit, and the folks behind the scenes had to turn it into some kind of action. Maybe we’re even lucky we got this amount of funding. Maybe we should get John Key on a bicycle, get him all sugared up on raspberry cordial and give him a microphone.

18 02 2010
JB

I think you were really on to something in your other post about ‘guerilla cycleway works-people’. I say we organise a nationwide syndicate of bicycle henchmen/women to go out onto our back roads with cans of spraypaint and home made signs and create our own national cycleway.

23 02 2010
Bill Russell

I too was greatly disappointed by the announcement of the 13 lucky trails. The dear john letter, I received on two proposals was patronising – saying stick to your vision and if you get there without our help then you can stil be part of the Cycle Trail branding.

It took a while to calm down after that! There were 10 proposals to my knowledge that were put in for trails between Wellington and Ohakune, including the Wairarapa and Tararua. I know the cost of an Ohakune to Featherston trail would have been around $600,000, for 850 km of trail using existing roads. This is around the same as the least expensive project funded, which was the Mountain to the Sea link. $500,000 for 33km of trail. If you wanted bang for buck, then heaps more cyclists would have used that 850km of trail than will use the 33km of trail being funded,

Despite this we have not given up the dream and are working to seek alternative funding for a simplified network on quiet rural roads. Just need signage really and then some promotion by local councils to let people know thy are there. We are hopeful to get a trail from Taihape to Featherston in place within 12 months.

22 05 2010
A cycle ferry across the Manawatu? « Wellington Region Cycleways

[…] for the national cycleway may have stalled (although, in fairness, there is funding for three of the chosen routes in this years budget, so it’s not completely stalled) but some of us still have the dream of […]

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