The Cycling Advocates' Network (CAN) supports the first National Cycleway projects announced by Prime Minister, John Key.

Seven projects have been recommended for starting this spring. They are: Waikato River Trail, Central North Island Rail Trail, Mount Ruapehu to Wanganui, St James Trail, Hokianga to Opua/Russell, Hauraki Plains Trail and Southland Around the Mountain Rail Trail. 

CAN also notes the transport Government Policy Statement includes funding for other cycling and walking projects under the allocation for demand management and community programmes ($145 million over three years), and through provision for cycling within ad hoc roading projects. 

CAN spokes person Stephen McKernon says, "A well-developed cycling network is more important than ever before. It is good to see the network recognised as nationally important, and we look forward to a range of other projects to build its benefits for local communities". 

Release Date: 
Tuesday, 28 July, 2009
July 27, 2009 Anonymous (not verified)


What a great interview. Covers most of the issues raised about the National Cycleway.
Well worth listening. The link is on CAN's home page.

While the concept of a national cycleway is to be supported, these "quick start" projects have clearly been rushed out, and several of them look questionable in terms of their usefulness to cyclists (and economic benefits). I also wonder how much input there has been into the proposals from cyclists who have either on or off road cycling experience, as opposed to local groups with a desire to "build things", and people and officials who think such projects must be a "good idea", but don't necessarily do much (or any) cycling. Listening to the Mayor of Southland on the radio the other day, she didn't really seem to have a clue about what would be involved with developing the cycleway project proposed for her area (Round the Mountain).

I'd be particularly concerned about those projects which don't appear to have any strong coherence, rationale, or purpose in terms of their starting or finishing points and/ or routes such as the Northland and Mountain to the Sea projects (the latter requiring a jet boat to complete it!), or which appear to rely to a large extent on "labelling" existing unmodified metal roads (e.g the Southland and Wanganui River proposals). Personally, I'm happy to ride on (quiet) metal roads but many potential riders (and overseas tourists) won't be, particularly if they have to deal with the deep metal and dust from passing vehicles that characterise parts of the Mavora/ Von Rd and the Wanganui river Rd, in summer.

In my view, it would have been better to wait until some overall analysis of all the proposals was in before announcing the quick start ones, as there is a risk that funding them to their full extent will suck up a large proportion of the available funding, crowd out projects that are possibly bettter, and result in a disjointed cycle network that lacks coherence and may disappoint the users it is intended to encourage.