Now there’s a mayoral challenge!
Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall unveiled his city’s Active Transport Plan today with a challenge to his Palmie counterpart.
'I know my friend Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith champions his city as having aspirations to be the best place to ride a bike in New Zealand', says McDouall.
'I think every city in New Zealand should rise to this aspiration and push to have the best infrastructure, education and community culture that supports people to get about. However, being a competitive person, I would love to see Whanganui District get there first. I want us to be held up as a role model for active transport in New Zealand and in the world'
An overwhelming 73% of Whanganui residents want to increase their physical activity levels.
'I enjoyed cycling as a commuter' the mayor continues in his introduction to the Plan, remembering time living overseas, 'as it was a great way to keep fit. It was also much cheaper than other modes of transport and I never had to fight for a carpark close to the front door of anywhere I went. It gave me a way to clear the fog from my mind in the morning and helped me to switch off from work as I cycled home. Cycling wasn’t just a way to get about, it was a seamless part of my life.
'I was saddened when I returned to Whanganui and found people no longer cycled across town to get places as they used to as it was perceived as too unsafe. After feeling uncomfortable on the roads I myself also succumbed to that sense of being unsafe,
'I myself have no desire to hang my bicycle up for good so I’m committed to bringing active transport back to this city. Whether you follow my cycling streak, or you scoot, skateboard, walk, or roller skate, whether you’re a commuter, a jogger or a tourist cycling the Ngā Ara Tuhono (Mountains to Sea) Cycle Trail, we all should have infrastructure that is safe and effective'.
We couldn't say it better ourselves!
The Plan sets out goals which feed into 50 separate actions, each given a rough timeline and costing. We haven't reviewed it here in CAN but there's a web page where you can go online, view and comment on it.