The City Council's Transport and Urban Development Leader, Cr Andy Foster, is delighted. "This is putting our money where our mouth is. It's developed from the Regional Strategic Cycling Network agreed by Greater Wellington last December, and from the city's first-ever walking and cycling plans adopted last November following extensive and very supportive consultation.
"We've agreed to put $250,000 in this year, and $500,000 in the following nine years to create safe attractive routes into Wellington city from Porirua and Hutt city, and around the harbour.
"Safety is absolutely vital to encourage people to walk and especially to cycle. The Council will include the strategic network in its funding requests to the NZ Transport Agency. For cycling these are the only two routes into the city, and this is about taking explicit, positive steps to show we value and support walking and cycling.
The Council's Environment Leader, Cr Celia Wade-Brown, said cycling numbers have grown significantly in the last few years. "According to our cordon counts, cycling numbers are up around 60% in the past decade. Walking numbers are much larger, and are already easily the highest in the country, but are continuing to grow supported by the city's compact city strategy. This is good news for becoming a more sustainable and healthier city.
Cr Wade-Brown said the potential is enormous for commuting, recreation and also for tourism as part of a regional network stretching up to the Kapiti Coast, and connecting with the Hutt River Trail and into the Wairarapa. "You've only got to look at the huge success of New Plymouth's waterfront trail or the Otago Rail Trail to see the potential for locals and visitors alike."
This money is in addition to the more 'business as usual investment' including footpath upgrades, better pedestrian crossings and traffic-light phasings, cycle-friendly stormwater grates and cycle parking hoops.
The Council is also working with cycle hire company 'Next Bike' towards a launch in Wellington City in October.
Cr Foster said there has been a lot of community support for the Tawa-Porirua stream proposal, and the Council recently received a report from Opus detailing the route.
"There has also been a lot of support, and a large amount of planning work undertaken by a widespread community consortium for the Great Harbour Way which is proposed to run almost 70 km from Pencarrow right around Wellington Harbour before finally ending at Owhiro Bay on Wellington's South Coast."