Are you disappointed by the National Cycleway?

29 08 2010

Last November I predicted we’d soon be seeing the then new logo for the New Zealand Cycle Trail on signs up and down the country.

But I haven’t seen one yet.

At the job summit last year when Prime Minister John Key announced the idea and the funding for the National Cycleway it was to be from Cape Reinga to Bluff. We all got excited, but since then the Ministry of Tourism has turned it into the “Great Rides” concept. And whilst I’m looking forward to riding some of the new trails, I’m kind of disappointed that we aren’t going to get what the prime minister promised any time soon.

I still believe in the whole Cape Reinga to Bluff signposted route linking off road trails with quiet country roads where necessary and when it passes through cities and towns it turns into safe urban cycleways.

Every district council in the country should be funded to design the trail through their own district, identifying safe routes and where it joins to their neighbours.  Then they should be funded to signpost the route through their district. If there are cycleways they want to build then they identify them, and identify alternative routes for the interim before they are built.  It shouldn’t be just about one route from the north to the south, but it should have all the routes through the country that each district wants to promote for tourists and local uses.

Also funded should be maps, a guidebook and a website.  And all of that could be done within the next 12 months.

Are you disappointed by what the New Zealand Cycle Trail intiative was meant to achieve, and by what it is to become? Does it fall short of what you hoped for?  Do you agree with me, the Ministry of Tourism, or the ministry and me? Have you got any other ideas for how to make real progress on a real national cycleway?




2 responses

30 08 2010
Patrick Morgan

I agree.
How about a network of quiet, scenic, back country roads that link to the official Cycle Trails?
Signpost them, map them, promote them, ride them.
In my view, this is a no-brainer.
– It would generate some quick wins
– cost very little
– great publicity for cycle trails and the PM, who has personally championed the idea
– take advantage of the momentum and community support generated by the Cycle Trails
– spread the benefits much wider than just the Trails.
pedal on!

12 10 2010

I’m not disappointed. They are going for a couple of high-quality routes (in terms of route and physical path) first, so the scheme gets known for quality. And that takes a bit longer than just signposting a few routes, and calling it a network (which is not a totally wrong approach either – but not the one they are going for!).

By September 2010, funding for 18 rides has now been approved, with $45.6m from the fund allocated to track construction (i.e. its all gone, at least for now), and they have secured a further $30m co-funding from Councils and trusts.

How much of those 75 million for cycleways that will be built now would have been provided if Key hadn’t started his project.

Lets not be impatient, I say.

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