A good little piece of news from the government yesterday with Environment Minister Nick Smith giving requiring authority status to the NZTA for cycleways. As I understand it, previously the NZTA could only designate cycleways within their own state highway corridors while outside of that it was up to Auckland Transport or local councils to do the consenting. That can make consenting for many projects difficult and that’s before taking into account there are often only a few staff stretched across many projects. Now they’ll be able to (try) and designate cycleways anywhere.
The New Zealand Transport Agency’s (NZTA) application for requiring authority status under the Resource Management Act (RMA) has been approved by Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith today.
“This approval will give NZTA requiring authority status under the Resource Management Act, so that it can apply to local authorities to set aside land specifically for cycleways and shared paths in the same way as it is already able to do for roads and motorways. It also enables NZTA to designate cycleway routes. The decision will better enable the Government to deliver on its ambitious plans of both safer and more convenient urban and rural cycleways,” Dr Smith says.
“The approval will make it quicker to construct, operate and maintain cycleways across the country, especially where they pass through different regions and land-use areas. This approval complements the initiative announced by the Prime Minister and Transport Minister Simon Bridges earlier this year, to invest $100 million in new funding for 18 urban cycleways. The requiring authority status is especially crucial for urban cycleways, as they can require access over hundreds of individual properties. Projects that will benefit from the approval is the Sea Path project on the North Shore, the Tamaki Drive cycleway and the Hutt Valley to Wellington cycleway.
“The significance of this decision is the Government affirming that cycleways, just like motorways, railways or transmissions lines and telecommunications cables are critical modern infrastructure in the 21st century.”
Today’s decision takes effect on 17 December.
The NZTA have been doing a fairly good job on cycling in recent years where they can and them being able to bring their power to bear outside of the state highway corridors can only be a good thing. Further with bike infrastructure now starting to get some meaningful funding from both central and local governments their expertise should be a welcome addition. Thanks Nick Smith
I wonder if there would be similar benefit in giving the NZTA the ability to designate rapid transit routes outside of state highways too.