NZ Cycle Trail website is up

30 05 2011

The new Nga Haerenga, New Zealand Cycle Trail website is up and running.

I’m looking forward to riding lots of the new sections as they open.

But this whole cycle trail initiative is a bit of a misfire of policy in my opinion. It does nothing for getting safe cycle infrastructure in our towns and cities. It is for tourists, domestic and international. It isn’t for people to ride to work, or for kids to ride to school safely. Or for getting between towns by bike safely. I think the NZ cycle trail funding is great, but the other side of the cycle funding coin is just getting ignored by the current government. The always excellent Auckland Transport Blog  had a post recently and it shows the actual and planned Ministry of Transport funding (which doesn’t include the NZ cycle trail project, which is part of Tourism, which is Economic Development):

Walking and cycling receive less than $5 per head per annum funding, and roads get over $500 a head. Cycling and walking is therefore funded at less than a hundredth of roads.

I get the feeling the Prime Minister just said whatever came into his head at the jobs summit early in his government’s term, and the policy makers had to run around behind him like the circus’s bucket boy behind an elephant, and put some money where his mouth was, and hence we get our “great rides”.

But the figures in the Ministry of Transport budget don’t lie. The National Government doesn’t really give a hoot about cyclists and pedestrians. I really do think one of the roles of the NZ government should be to fund local government to build cycling infrastructure. It’s hardly a radical idea. It’s just better policy.



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