Back in January I went on a nice ride between Shannon and Foxton, and wrote about it on my blog as the Heart of Horowhenua which I also mulled cycle routes between Foxton, Shannon, Levin and Palmerston North. I came up with a plan that crossed the Manawatu River north of Koputaroa. A bridge over a big river is big expense, and unlikely to every get built, but I’ve nicked this picture which is mentioned in the comments of this story on the Fietsberaad website.
It is across a canal between Brugge and Dramme, in Belgium.
This makes a route that takes the back roads through the Horowhenua and Manawatu linking Levin and Palmerston North much cheaper. It can use the backroads, and the levee banks of the river and the Mutaroa Floodway. At the river crossings there is one of these little ferries, which need no staff. There are just 3 wheels to turn, one on each side to get the ferry back when it is on the opposite side, and one on the ferry itself. Lighting could be solar lighting, so they could be used at night, and suddenly there are safe and pleasant, commuter and travel routes through Horowhenua and the Manawatu. They might even breathe a bit of economic life into the region if Wellingtonians and Palmerstonians ventured out for the day or the weekend.
Prime Minister Key’s vision 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 a real signposted national cycleway from Cape Reinga to Bluff.