TDC rejects cycling budget call - Nelson Mail

A call for the Tasman District Council's entire $20 million transport budget next year to be dedicated to cyclists and other vulnerable road users has been made by Golden Bay cycling advocate Victoria Davis.

However, council transportation manager Roger Ashworth described Ms Davis's call as "unreasonable" saying the council already spent $300,000 a year on cycleways in the district.

Bicycle Lanes in Paradise representative Ms Davis says radical measures are called for to compensate for the council having "ignored this sector for the past decade".

Ms Davis intends speaking on her submission to the council's annual plan before the full council at a hearing in Takaka on Monday.

"Transport is the council's largest single expenditure. People want to cycle more in Golden Bay and they want safe provision for cycling and other vulnerable road users."

"TDC say they will provide cycling facilities in Richmond which has a big population and a larger need but we (Golden Bay) get nothing and that is unacceptable," Ms Davis said.

Stressing the importance of finding strategies for reducing carbon emissions on the roads, Ms Davis said: "The faster we go the more we pollute so we should be embracing non-polluting road users."

The National Cycling Advocates Network has also called for councils and the Government to invest more in cycling facilities.

CAN spokesman Stephen McKernon said councils should do more. "We urge councils to meet the demand for safe and convenient cycling by developing cycling plans and investing in cycle lanes, traffic reduction, bike parking, driver education and safety campaigns," he said.

Mr Ashworth said most of the council's $20 million annual budget for transportation was spent on maintaining the existing road network.

"We acknowledge and appreciate other road users but the reality is the majority of road users are car drivers," he said. "The council spends a significant amount of its budget investigating shared pathways for cyclists and road users. In Golden Bay a new shared path is about to be built in Rototai Rd."

Mr Ashworth said the Rototai Rd pathway was expected to be completed by Christmas.


Given the existing budget is probably only 1% or so, I also think it's a bit unreasonable to ask for the whole lot. Tactically it would seem very likely to alienate the Council and other road users.

I'd suggest providing a stronger rationale, such as asking for an amount equivalent to the number of cyclists or something. For example, about 26% of the population cycle in that area, and about 8% cycle to work - the latter figure well above the national average (see NZ Cycling Facts on front page of website).

Providing a rationale does two important jobs. First, it provides information people were probably not aware of, so centering the debate on the surprisingly large number of users in the area (for example). Second, it positions the budget request as coming from a large and mainstream group of actual users, rather than an assumed marginal group.

It's much harder to ignore a request from 26% of road users for 26% of the budget (for example) than from a marginal group asking for all of it.

Maybe we should go along the lines of the Green Party policy: 2/3 of the budget for walking, cycling, PT, and TDM.