Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway - Provision for cycle path
Letter to NZTA re M2PP Cycling Provisions between Poplar Avenue and Paekakariki - 24 November 2011
These comments relate to the cycling proposals. I am a member of both Kapiti Cycling Inc and the Kapiti Over 50s Bike Club. I provided a submission last June on this subject following an Expo.
At that time I made the following point:
"QEII Park Cycle Route.
I prefer the proposed alignment using the existing Inland Route through QEII Park. Because this existing route is fairly challenging by grade and surface, the route would need to be improved in places for use by commuters and recreational cyclists. I suggest that new improvements be made by following the contours around the sandhills rather than daylighting them, and leaving the existing steeper routes over the hills for use by MTBs."
Quoting now from the NZTA's current M2PP Project website Q & A:
"How do expressways cater for pedestrians and cyclists?
For safety reasons, pedestrians and cyclists are normally not encouraged to use expressways. Often, dedicated cycling/walking paths are created instead, where needed. As part of the planning process for the MacKays to Peka Peka and Peka Peka to Otaki expressways, the NZTA will take the needs of pedestrians and cyclists into account during the detailed design."
At a cycling meeting today convened by Greater Wellington, I learnt that there is a likelihood that, because of cost increases relating to the expressway earthworks, the proposed provisions for a cycleway between Poplar Road and Paekakariki via Queen Elizabeth II Park could be deleted from the project. No provision for cyclists to travel south of Poplar Road would be provided.
The organisations that I represent will be most distressed to learn that the NZTA is considering removing an important link at the south end of the project, and failing to meet your own stated objectives as above. To provide a cycling link along the entire length from Otaki to Raumati South and then leave a key strategic gap in the route appears to be a very misguided step.
I understand that Kapiti Coast District Council has supplied a ballpark figure of $0.5M for the proposed inland cycling route via QEII Park. If overall project costs are a concern to the NZTA, an alternative link using the new expressway formation to create an unsealed multi-use pathway beside the new road appears to have merit. This was considered by the project's landscape consultants earlier this year. Costs could also be saved by replacing the asphalt surface between Te Moana Road and the southern terminus with a gravel chip - as used widely elsewhere in Kapiti for similar paths. Either of these alternatives would be more desirable than leaving a missing link in the north-south cycleway.
Can you please comment on the current status of the cycling provisions beside the expressway, and provide an assurance that it is still the NZTA's intention to provide a link between Raumati South and the Paekakariki township. I respectfully request that there be some discussion with cycle groups on the Kapiti Coast before an irrevocable decision is taken.
Lynn Sleath (Mr)
Member Kapiti Cycling Inc and Kapiti Over 50s Bike Group
44 Hadleigh Court
Email: lynnval [at] paradise [dot] net [dot] nz
Response from NZTA 30 November 2011
Thank you for your email dated 24 November enquiring about the provision for cycling beside the expressway and also between Raumati South and Paekakariki.
Provision has been made for a cycleway/walkway adjacent to the expressway from just south of Poplar Ave to Peka Peka. Discussions are currently in progress in respect of a cycleway through QE Park to link Raumati South and Paekakariki with KCDC, Greater Wellington and DoC and we expect to be in a position to give you an update on progress in the new year.
We do also expect to discuss the matter with cycle groups as you suggest.
Please let me know if you have any further queries.
Stakeholder Engagement Manager
Level 2, 17-21 Whitmore Street, PO Box 8044, Wellington 6143
Mobile: 027 2491867 Email: jane [at] incite [dot] co [dot] nz