Hastings and New Plymouth will benefit from a $7.28 million Model Communities project aimed at getting more people cycling and walking.

Cycling groups welcomed the news.

"Everyone wins when there's more people walking and biking," said Cycling Advocates' Network spokesperson Anne FitzSimon.

"There will be less traffic congestion, less pollution, people will be healthier, and businesses will benefit from more cycling tourism."

"All New Zealand cyclists will be watching closely to see how councils in Taranaki and Hawkes Bay invest in better cycling facilities. If the project delivers good results as expected, we'll be asking the government to extend it around New Zealand so everyone can benefit."

The Model Communities project is a key part of the government's 'Getting There' walking and cycling strategy, which aims to develop walking and cycling environments that are as safe and simple to use as to travel by car.

Model Communities funds infrastructure development such as shared pathways and road widening as well as support programmes such as. improved cycle parking facilities, cycle skills training and driver education.


Anne FitzSimon, Cycling Advocates' Network, tel 021 112 3890 or 03 539 0527

Bernie Kelly, Cycle Aware Hawkes Bay, tel 027 446 1538

Graeme Lindup, North Taranaki Cycling Advocates, tel 027 242 4824


Release Date: 
Friday, 25 June, 2010
June 25, 2010 Anonymous (not verified)


Hastings has won $3.6 million of Government funding to develop a ``model community'' for cycling and walking in the region.

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule says more people could choose to cycle around Hastings as funding allows better and safe facilities for commuting.

Hastings was one of 22 cities competing for the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) ``Model Community'' funding to make the region more cycle and walking-friendly.

New Plymouth and Hastings won the bid for $7 million of funding.

Hastings would receive $3.6 million over the next two years for projects around the region.

Mr Yule was ``absolutely thrilled'' by the results.

``It is a massive investment. It's nice to go compete against your peers and be able to show the rest of the country how we can use this money,'' he said.

He had not been sure about the success of the application before the presentation but said staff had done a great job.

``You're never completely confident at the start of this sort of thing. We've got good staff and at the presentation I thought we had done quite well.''

The presentation focused on linking major arterials such as Havelock North to Hastings and Clive to Hastings.

Work on things like road markings could start immediately while he hoped to see progress on bigger project before the end of the year.

NZTA central regional director Jenny Chetwynd said Hastings and New Plymouth had demonstrated the leadership and commitment to make walking and cycling an integral part of their communities.

``They've displayed a real passion to develop their communities as great places to live, work and play, and to make walking and cycling easy transport choices,'' Ms Chetwynd said.

Paul McArdle from Bike On was an early supporter of Hastings' potential to win the funding and says everyone wins with the result.

``This is a fantastic boost for everyone in Hastings District,'' he said.

``There will be less traffic congestion, people will be healthier and Hawke's Bay businesses will benefit from more cycling tourism.''

The funding included $518,000 for improved education including safety programmes and lessons.

Cycle Aware Hawke's Bay's Bernie Kelly said safety was always an issue but a few simple lessons could help people be much safer and more confident.

``We teach basic things about riding on the road and riding in traffic to anyone from school kids to adults.''

Cycling in the area had already made good progress with projects such as the pathways and he had had cyclists from outside the region comment on how lucky the Bay was to have such good facilities.

The goal was to have more people jumping on their bike to run errands, families cycling on weekends and people biking to work, he said.

The first changes are likely to be in adding road markings and improving the road between Havelock North and Hastings for cyclists.

New Plymouth will receive a cash boost of $3.7 million for walking and cycling projects over the next two years.

Earlier today the city was named one of two walking and cycling ''model communities'', along with Hastings, by the New Zealand Transport Agency.

NZTA central regional director Jenny Chetwynd said the investment would  help create an environment that will make walking and cycling easy transport choices for people in New Plymouth.

The New Plymouth District Council was one of 22 to put forward a proposal to the NZTA when the project was announced in January.

Mayor Peter Tennent said the decision was a huge development for New Plymouth's sustainable transport future and an endorsement of the plans the council has for the district.

''What is developed here will have implications for the rest of the country because this isn't just about New Plymouth District, but about how our plans and developments can be picked up and applied to any other centre in New Zealand,'' he said.

New Plymouth might have the worst roads in the country – but it will have a cycle network that will be the envy of the nation.

The city has been given a multi-million-dollar Government boost for walking and cycling projects.

Ironically, earlier this week a national road assessment safety programme declared 59 per cent of Taranaki's rural highways had major deficiencies.

However, news that the city has been selected as one of two model walking and cycling communities – which comes with a $3.71 million bonus – was greeted enthusiastically yesterday.

The extra cash will be added to money already set aside by the New Plymouth District Council for projects and means $5.4m will be spent on infrastructure and $1.17m on community pro-grammes over the next two years.

The council was one of 22 to bid for the New Zealand Transport Association scheme when it was announced earlier this year.

The other big winner yesterday was Hastings which will get a similar injection of funds, while Nelson and Taupo were shortlisted but missed out.

Major projects set to be fast-tracked include a "shared pathways" programme, involving upgrades to off-road routes such as the Te Henui and Huatoki tracks and connections to the Waiwhakaiho Valley shopping centre and the Bell Block industrial zone from the coastal walkway.

Upgrades could include: track widening, new bridges and barrier alterations but not necessarily concrete paths.

On-road cycle improvements will also be made to both state highways and local roads.

The council's general manager of community assets, Anthony Wilson, said the goal was to create an integrated on-street and off-street network, featuring the coastal walkway as the spine.

A new transport hub will be built in central New Plymouth, featuring storage facilities, showers, and cycle hire and repair shops.

And, if the model communities programme was extended beyond the initial two years, money could go towards a further extension of the coastal walkway as far as Waitara.

Mr Wilson said NZTA had been interested in plans that extended beyond the two-year time frame.

"We hope it's such a success we will continue to get the agency's support beyond those two years."

Mayor Peter Tennent said while it was a major development for the future of New Plymouth's transport, the effects would be felt nationwide.

"You could consider this as an extensive research project to find out what works and what doesn't when it comes to changing a transport culture to where walking, cycling or public transport are people's first choices," he said.

"I'm over the moon. This is a huge development for our sustainable transport future and a massive endorsement of the great plans we have for the district."

NZTA central regional director Jenny Chetwynd said New Plymouth and Hastings had demon-strated the best leadership and commitment to integrating walking and cycling into their transport systems. "Ultimately, they were able to demonstrate that through this initiative they would be able to deliver the greatest benefits to their respective cities."

Other new projects include:

An "NPDC Dream Street" and shared space in the district: A residents-led street makeover to slow traffic, promote safe road use, and create a streetscape suitable for pedestrians, bikes and cars.

Bringing schools' presence into the street, improving safety and movement through access ways, improving key crossing points for pedestrians.

Giving cycle skills training to all year 6 pupils.

Travel planning, surveys and modal mapping: All schools will be surveyed on current transport use by pupils and teachers, and issues will be identified to help promote walking and cycling as the number one choice for families travelling to and from school.