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.

Simon Bridges with Councillor Chris Darby and Mayor Len Brown
Simon Bridges with Councillor Chris Darby and Mayor Len Brown

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:

Urban Cycleway Funding Jan 15

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.

Urban Cycleway Indictative Funding

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.

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  1. Great news, but what is their definition of urban? Hamilton to Ngaruawahia; is that urban or rural, or at least ex-urban? All good, but given it’s already a fraction of the figure that the Ministry advises as necessary and of economic value, this broad definition of urban will surely mean urban centres will still only see disjointed routes, not coherent networks…..

    And, as with every transport system, the power, and therefore value, comes from whole networks, not just a little bit here and a little bit there.

    1. Exactly Patrick. A network. Where you can leave your home, visit school, shops, work etc, all as part of a safe cycle network.

      1. Northwest Hamilton to Ngaruawahia is largely an industrial/employment area. The cycle route is idea for getting to and from work.
        For people living in Ngaruawahia you will very likely be closer to more jobs than many people in Hamilton City.

  2. So 30% of NZ’s population live in Auckland and we have a single representative on the panel? The first bunch of projects are encouraging but after then?

    1. I think you’ll find that Richard Leggat is also from Akld, although with the amount of travel he seems to do, he probably has the rest of the country well covered too 🙂

      1. Glen Great to see you’re on the panel, I know you’ll be working for the best outcomes for all of NZ, as will Pippa and the rest of the panel. We look forward to seeing the fruit of your intelligence, knowledge, and effort. God’s speed.

        1. Cheers Patrick, it will be an interesting exercise. I look forward to seeing what is proposed to us for consideration.

    1. With respect to the Minister, that’s more than a little over-optimistic. But still it’s certainly a great start, and considering the extremely high value of getting even a small percentage of people in cities out of their cars for even a small percentage of journeys especially TO OTHER ROAD USERS, I am confident that sense will prevail and this just be a start.

      1. Lets not get carried away. Auckland may not be able to stump up for its share in the future. With only a $5m budget (down from $10 currently) for active modes in the draft LTPs basic network Aucklands ability to leverage the Urban Cycleways and Land Transport funding may well be limited.
        There has never been a better time to build cycleways, every $1 of rate payer funding will potentially unlock $2 of central government funding.

        1. Exactly.. so from the councils’ perspective, that $ 2 bonus for every $ 1 council spend should make the BCRs for cycling projects even more attractive relative to roads.

  3. This is great. I just think if all arterials were zoned with no.parking as soon as possible, and we remarked making practical decisions for protected cycle, bus and car/truck in one go then it is just physical protection costs and dutch intersection treatments and a up for both cycle and bus. It all just seems disjointed and quite expensive and may clash with what is best for all 3 modes.

    1. The fact is we have a lot km of arterials to make safe and intersections. I think we should look big picture and be as efficient as possible. What is a visual, good barrier with plants how much are they. What is the Std dutch treatments and what is this. Let’s cost look big picture on cost only. We cannot to use Ferraris as physical protection, it seems that cost wise for nelson st.

      1. An option is the lower rectangular terracotta planters say 250mm high , stick down with selleys liquid nails, mass fill with topsoil and plant hedging to make up for height. Local board/parks could plant. A row of these would give good protection or we put in extruded conc kerb at about the same price of about $60 m. The first option would give a better height overall, look good, fast to do and cheap plus can be moved if need be.

        1. I’m just pointing out that a full protected cycle network is missing on all arterials as well as bus. If there are close parallel routes and we need to have one mode on each one so be it leaving one lane each way for car. In terms of protection as stated above any local board can do that once marked outside of cycle lane. If we do one off high spec projects it is just going to kill us. The pressure needs to immediately come on council/AT to zone all parking off arterial roads as parking both sides probably fits even one way lanes down each side with protection is 1.8m and 0.8m protection. Roads like Ti Rakau Dr in Pakuranga has 2 lanes and parking over a great chunk of it. Obviously some roads might suit two way better at 3m and 0.8m protection. I think there a strong best practice grounds to reprioritise all our arterials before we did anymore physical works anywhere. With both protected cycle and bus network optimized within our existing corridors both modes can begin to grow strongly. I fair with the facts about protected cycling, bus in own space like Northern Busway, holding back rail growth that the whole transport industry is in breach of their ethics as professional engineers. Also I think funding proportions should change immediately as the split is not transport best practice but actually negligence to sustainability and future generations. That’s my view I wonder if IPENZ agrees.

        2. AT I suggest you measure all the arterials kerb to kerb and advise a new layout maximising protected cycle 3.8m two way or 2 x 2.6m for single way. Bus to have own lane leaving one lane for cars. Or this is my next job looking at the whole arterial road network. It just doesn’t make sense to miss out on Copenhagen.mode share and Northern Busway possible capacities/mode share. Pakuranga Rd a good place to start no reason why not marked out in 2 weeks.

        3. The busway on Pakuranga Rd again with terracotta rectangular planters , selleys liquid nails and hedging at $60m is now separated also.

  4. The money is really peanuts compared to the road building spend.

    I certainly trust NZTA and AT will ensure that both the Nelson St and GI cycleways are fully setup with counters from day one to count the traffic using them.

    And not just 1 counter either per cycleway, for the GI to Meadowbank cycleway there will be a number of entry/exit points along the way, so more than one counter will be needed to capture the usage patterns and to see if the usage is through traffic or local traffic (or a combination of both).

    On Nelson St the numbers using the old off-ramp to access Nelson St cycleway portion may be different from those cycling down Nelson due to the number of apartments at the top end of Hobson/Nelson.

    As these number will help bolster the case for (a) Phase 2 of the Nelson St one (which to me actually needs options A & B built) and (b) shows the pent up demand for the rest of the GI cycleway to be completed sooner than later.

    I hope that the section from Orakei to Tamaki Drive gets a start sooner than the projected 2017 start date as this is really the missing link here. But I know it requires more planning, and of course, they need to widen or duplicate the Orakei boardwalk section too given its current popularity.

  5. Once SkyPath is consented, I trust that common-sense will prevail and it will be “called in” by central or local government and be taken over fully, with any tolls used to fund more cycling infra. in Auckland.
    [the total cost of Skypath is not even year 2 spend of the 4 year Cycling budget Government announced at election time].

    Not that I have any problems with SkyPath Trust BOOT-ing (Build, Own, Operate, Transfer) Skypath, its just that it will become such a critical piece of Auckland cycling infrastructure in such a short time, it needs to be owned and managed as such. It will be way more critical than say Vector Arena is (another BOOT PPP) or the (un)Convention centre (a non-BOOT PPP that should be booted out ASAP)..

  6. Am I reading this correctly, that the Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive will be complete this time next year? If so that is great news.

  7. We should also set up automated bike rental stations in transport hub, schools, shopping area, office area, tourists points, recreational area, and community areas. So people can pick up a bike in one station and commute to another station and drop off. Commuters can swipe visa card as secure bond.

    I have seen those bike rental racks in Melbourne near the bridge to casino.

  8. Seems that John Key’s vision for ‘real’ cycleways are ones out in the country somewhere, to which people drive with their bikes on the back of the car, ride over several days spending lots of tourist-dollars on food and accommodation en-route, then requiring some sort of hire-transport back to their car, and finally driving away from with bikes on the back again. Boosts cycling stats wonderfully, but boosts vehicle-km far more!

    1. Well, Key is Minister for Tourism.
      As long as Simon Bridges is behind urban cycleways, then I have hope that this term could be great from a cyclists pov.

  9. Need urban low cost fabricated raised cycleways attached to existing street furniture/reinforced or new pillars one way/single track. Gets cyclist away from traffic/pedestrians/polution – formed from lightweight steel sections – bolted lengths together – means of construction?

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