Yesterday the Minister of Transport announced the first of projects to receive funding as part of the government’s $100 million Urban Cycleway promise from the election last year.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges today announced the first $37 million worth of cycleway projects to be rolled out across the country as part of the Government’s Urban Cycleways Programme.
First announced in August 2014, the $100 million Programme is designed to pull together a range of funding sources to invest in expanding and improving New Zealand’s cycling network.
“This is the beginning of a programme that will change the face of cycleways in New Zealand using clever funding leveraging.
By pulling together multiple funding sources, the Urban Cycleways Programme will get high-quality projects underway much sooner than may otherwise have been the case.
The Government’s Urban Cycleways Fund will contribute $9.92 million, with another $21.12 million coming from the National Land Transport Fund, and $6.26 million from local government and other contributions,” Mr Bridges says.
This year, those sources have made available a total of $37,295,000.
When completed, the Urban Cycleways Programme will have supported the investment of up to $320 million, over four years, to create a safe, user-friendly cycleway network across the country.
“The Urban Cycleways Fund will accelerate the first set of 13 projects, which will get underway in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, and almost all will be completed over the next 6-9 months,” Mr Bridges says.
“The projects I am announcing today have been prioritised because of their value to commuter cyclists, and their additional benefits to recreational riders.
“Further projects to receive funding from the remaining $90 million in the Urban Cycleways Fund will be announced later this year,” Mr Bridges says.
Urban Cycleways Programme projects are decided by the Minister of Transport, on the recommendation of the Urban Cycleways Investment Panel.
The Panel has been selected to assess the projects and prioritise funding.
The Panel members are:
- Cynthia Bowers, Deputy Mayor of Hastings
- Glen Koorey, Senior Lecturer in Transportation Engineering at the University of Canterbury
- Richard Leggett, Director of Cycling NZ and Chair of the Cycling Safety Panel
- Pippa Coom, Deputy Chair of the Waitemata Local Board
- Mike James, General Manager Road and Rail, Ministry of Transport
- Dave Brash, Group Manager Planning and Investment, New Zealand Transport Agency.
Before I go into the routes announced I just want to cover off a few points about the announcement.
Firstly it’s great that the government have started to put extra money into cycling, it’s long overdue. In saying that it is something that could have much more easily been done through the existing funding mechanisms had they not been pouring billions into the Roads of National Significance. Further it’s also still way less than what is needed or even what the Ministy of Transport recommended.
The Government is ignoring official advice and opting to spend less than half what was recommended to improve urban cycleways.
Ministerial briefings and a draft Cabinet paper, prepared for former transport minister Gerry Brownlee, show the Ministry of Transport advised spending $450 million to develop urban cycleways to a level that would be safe and convenient for commuters and children riding to school.
Of the $450m, $260m spread over five years would have been funded by the Government, with local councils picking up a $70m tab, and the remainder coming from the Land Transport Fund.
Still at least it’s a start and hopefully the government soon realise the benefit of investing in cycling and decide to do more. That might be possible if Simon Bridges lives up to the slogan on his t-shirt yesterday.
Secondly the urban cycleway panel was announced and it’s great to see both Glen Koorey on there as well as Pippa Coom. That gives me some confidence that we’ll get some good results out of this funding.
On to the projects, as mentioned in the announcement, there are 13 initial projects on the list – although two of the Auckland ones are part of the same overall project. The projects are:
There is more detail about all of the projects here. Auckland is clearly doing well out of the initial batch of funding with a total of $5.2 million in funding out of the $9.9 million total.
The three main centres are expected to get the bulk of the funding from the urban cycleway programme as shown in the table below.
In a separate post I’ll cover off the Nelson St cycleway which is where the announcement took place and for which work will start soon.