BNB's submission to the council in response to a request for feedback on the Rocks Rd. cycling and walking concepts 1 and 2 can be downloaded from here.
Why does BNB support a design for the Rocks Rd. Cycling/Walking improvements based on Concept 2 ? Primarily because in order to significantly increase the numbers of cyclists on Rocks Rd., the design needs to allow less confident cyclists to cycle off the road.
Does concept 2 have problems ? Yes it does. Will the final design require some compromises ? Almost certainly.
At this stage however, to a large degree what we're discussing are the concepts and we hope that specific issues such as the loss of parking spaces and concerns around fast moving cyclists can be mitigated in the design stage. We have put together some key points that we published on our Facebook page below that hopefully help explain why Bicycle Nelson Bays supports a design based on Concept 2.
This is a $15 million project that could provide some very big economic, social and environmental benefits to the region and the people that live here. Not only that but 75% of this cost could be paid for though "R-Funds" (https://www.pikb.co.nz/glossary#R%20funds).
This is money that is available now and construction could begin 2016/2017. It's not contingent on a new highway (although it also doesn't preclude one in the future either). It's also not contingent on the results of the election.
A design that includes an off road facility is the only concept that is going to encourage and accommodate a large number and range of cyclists. In particular it will help attract new cyclists to the area and cars off the road, and that benefits everybody.
Yes, not only do cyclists personally save money on transport costs, parking etc, they save the country money too !
A study in Australia release by deputy prime minister last year found that cyclists in Sydney save the economy AU$21 (NZ$23) for every 20 minutes trip to work and back and AU$8.50 (NZ$9.35) for each pedestrian doing a similar trip. "The economic benefits of riding and walking to work include better health, less congestion, reduced infrastructure costs, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, better air quality, noise reduction and savings in parking costs." (http://www.smh.com.au/national/bike-riders-save-economy-21-on-each-commute-20130730-2qxdg.html).
Closer to home, research by the University of Auckland’s School of Population Health found that "... the best kinds of policies involve investing in specific road changes that effectively improve cycling safety while also helping a wide range of people feel safe while riding." and also that "By far the largest benefits come from reducing deaths related to lack of exercise – a spend of $600 million on the right kind of cycling infrastructure yields savings from increased exercise in the tens of billions of dollars." (https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/news-events-and-notices/news/news-2014/02/cycling-infrastructure-more-economic-than-for-other-transport.html).
Nelson Tasman Tourism sees our region as a "Bikers Paradise" (http://www.nelsonnz.com/Things-To-Do-See/Activities-Adventure/Biker-s-Paradise.html) but while we do have some fantastic mountain bike tracks, they're not everyone's cup of tea.
When it comes to cycle tourism, Otago put New Zealand on the map. With our Great Taste Trail still in it's infancy, The Otago Central Rail Trail trust is celebrating 20 years so we're very much playing catch up. Additionally, without an attractive link into Nelson, those tourist dollars generated by our own trail are going to stay in Tasman. In this article in the Herald "Catherine Smith jumped at the chance to bike and hike her way through Nelson's stunning landscape" (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=11111483). Unfortunately Catherine didn't get as far as our central city; "Our end point was McCashin's Cafe in Stoke".
With the Maitai Walkway upgrade nearing completion and a link through the port to the wharf as well as another through Tahunanui planned for the future, this vital link will allow tourists from the city to easily enjoy a cycle to Tahunanui or further on to the Great Taste Trail. Tourists staying in Tahunanui or further out will be able to easily cycle into Nelson to visit the gallery, museum, shop for clothes or have a meal. When the boulevard is complete, perhaps we can ask Catherine back and tempt her with a meal at The Boat Shed/Stix/Harbour Light this time