New Pathway Will Provide More Choices

Encouraging more people to cycle and walk to get around Whanganui’s urban area is behind the construction of two new shared pathways for the city.

“Our goal behind our new ‘Let’s Go Whanganui’ project is to help make it easy to leave your car at home by providing safer ways to cycle and walk,” Mayor Annette Main said.

“We want to improve active transport choices for people who not only want to bike or walk, but to scooter, skate or use mobility aids to get around. Our new shared pathways will provide better connectivity between existing transport links, improve safety for everyone and by interpretive signage will enable us to share the stories about our place.”

Construction work started this week on Stage 1 of the new City to North Mole shared pathway which runs from the Whanganui City Bridge to the North Mole at Castlecliff Beach. The three metre wide sealed path and boardwalk will upgrade the existing riverfront pathway. Options for providing recreational access through the port area are being considered as part of the project.

“This pathway celebrates our river culture and history, creating an easy riverside trail that connects the town centre to our seaside suburb of Castlecliff, and creates an iconic end point for the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail where it meets the Tasman Sea,” Mayor Main said.

“Landscape designer Craig Pocock has developed some exciting concepts to enhance the areas along the shared pathway with parks, wetlands, seating, artwork and signs to create more vibrant spaces beside the river.

“You don’t have to be an avid walker, runner or cyclist to enjoy these facilities. The pathways and adjacent areas will be places for people to stop, enjoy and connect with the river or town centre, just as much as they will encourage people to travel along the pathways.”

The City to North Mole pathway is one of two urban shared pathways that will be developed with funding assistance from the government’s Urban Cycleways Programme.

The $219,000 tender for Stage 1 of the works between the Whanganui City Bridge and Bedford Avenue has been awarded to Presco Group. Stage 1 is to construct a concrete shared pathway, develop paving and seating areas and relocate the existing bollards, seats and cycle/pedestrian counter. This work has attracted NZ Transport Agency/Crown funding of 75 percent. Stage 1 of the City to North Mole work is scheduled to be completed by July 2016. Details for Stage 2 are being finalised and tenders will be invited soon.

The second shared pathway, planned for construction in 2017/18, is the Te Tuaiwi Shared Pathway. This will be a three metre wide sealed path that will provide a safe route across the Whanganui City Bridge, through town and past some of our central schools.

It connects with many of our existing pathways through town and will give our children a safer route to school. It will also make it easier and safer for people to get across town on foot, by bike, scooter or skateboard, or with mobility aids.

“Alongside the construction of the pathways, we are developing a ‘Let’s Go’ programme which aims to make walking, scootering and cycling a popular and safe travel choice for our community,” Mayor Main said.

“Let’s Go Whanganui will be a collaborative initiative with other groups and agencies to provide the community with infrastructure, opportunities and information required to allow a wide range of active transport choices.

“The project will involve infrastructure upgrade projects, such as the new shared pathways, as well as educational and behaviour change programmes such as cycle skills training, travel planning, events and competitions.

“We have funding from NZ Transport Agency/Crown for this project and I’m looking forward to sharing more details with our community when we have our project details confirmed.”