Below is our response to the request for feedback on the Tahunanui Cycleway project (http://nelson.govt.nz/projects/infrastructure/tahunanui-cycleway/)
Our feedback is based on our involvement in this project over the past few years as well as our own experiences and observations. We have attended several workshops and meetings regarding these routes as well as the last two open days.
Our preferred route is highlighed in a thick blue line in the map here.
The preferred cycle route proposed by council provides a link from the Great Taste Trail and the Airport to the beach. Should a suitable cycle-way be created on Rocks Rd., this will also provide a pleasant route into Nelson city. However, without links from the Annesbrook area for example, this route will primarily be attractive to tourists and those businesses connected with tourism such as the B&B accommodation, holiday park etc. along the route and at the destination; While the Great Taste Trail is a valuable asset for Nelson, and well used by locals as well as tourists, we think it will have very little benefit for commuters or provide a significant increase to the safety of children cycling to school.
Specifically, the proposed route does little to support children traveling to Tahunanui school and those commuting into Nelson from Richmond and Stoke by bike are likely to continue to feed onto the Railway Reserve as this offers a complete and more direct route into Nelson.
In addition, it is worth noting that this project is part of the Walk/Cycle/School package funded through NZTA (http://nelson.govt.nz/services/transport/tahunanui-cycling-connections/). The goals of this project were:
While the proposed route does fulfill some of these aims, it's worth noting that 'tourism' is not mentioned .
Possibly; Linking the Great Taste Trail into Tahunanui would increase the number of cyclists in the area and support local businesses. It's also an opportunity to introduce designs that encourage cycling and walking to some streets to showcase those concepts. The danger is that this will be considered 'job done' rather than a first stage to making Tahunanui cycle friendly. Since it's taken several years to get to this point, and funding for cycle-ways for some reason appears to be extremely hard to come by (unless, it seems, there is the possibility of a financial return through tourism for example) we wouldn't expect a 'stage 2' of this project any time soon.
We note however that there is a plan to possibly link the Great Taste Trail to the beach via a cycleway around the perimeter of the airport and the camp ground so this route may have limited benefit, except as a more direct route, in the future.
Parkers Rd. currently cuts Tahunanui in half. It's a dangerous road - wide and busy with frequent trucks and there are no crossing points. Without a safe way to get to get across, the route to Tahunanui school along Muritai St. is left flapping in the wind. A crossing point that would bring people safely onto the East (school) side of Muritai Street should therefore be a priority. It would then make sense to have a two way cycleway also on the East side of Muritai Street and an off road cycle way (a shared path perhaps) along the East side on Pascoe Street that would link to existing shared paths on Quarenteen Rd. This route is already identified (in yellow) on the Opus map 'Final Routes'.
The route would provide an alternative, safer route, to Tahunanui Drive for those heading to the beach or school from the Annesbrook area and the Railway Reserve.
This is our preferred route, and we'd like to see this in place as a priority, possibly, if funding will allow, with the council's preferred route as a second stage or in parallel.