Nelson awarded $5m from Waka Kotahi to improve cycling connections

05/12/2022 10:45am

Nelson's cycling and walking network will be boosted by improved east-west connections due to a $5m Transport Choices programme award from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

The $5m funding will make up 90% to 100% of the budget for improved transport connections between the Brook area of Nelson and Waimea Road, including protected cycle paths, safer pedestrian crossing facilities and dedicated speed control measures. 

Waka Kotahi’s Transport Choices programme aims to help people with low-emission transport choices by making it easier to travel in ways that are healthy and aid our environment. Household transport is responsible for 25% of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

Group Manager Infrastructure Alec Louverdis says the funding will allow Council to accelerate plans to make cycling and walking a safer and more viable option for our community, with the knock-on effect of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.“ 

“National census data shows Nelson already has high rates of walking and cycling, but we need to build on that enthusiasm and provide more safe and convenient connections for people who want to make the choice to take a bike or walk for their journey.” 

The Transport Choices programme is a distinct but complementary round of funding that will build on the success of the award-winning Streets for People programme by creating a safe east-west transport route from the Railway Reserve, across Waimea Road and out to the Brook. 

Council’s initial Streets for People project, called Innovating Streets, saw changes to the road layout between the Railway Reserve and Kawai Street South, which slowed down traffic and prioritised pedestrians on residential streets. The results of the award-winning trial were positive with traffic volume and speeds substantially decreasing close to places like Nelson South Kindergarten and Nelson Intermediate School.  

The next stage of the Streets for People programme is now in its planning stages and involves extending that safe route all the way past Nelson Hospital and across Waimea Road, providing more schools, businesses, hospital staff and visitors, and residents with a safe and convenient way to cycle and walk through these key strategic sites. 

Nelson Mayor Nick Smith welcomed the funding support from Waka Kotahi, saying an east-west link from the Brook to Waimea Road was an important part of improving Nelson’s cycling network. 

“Improved cycleways are good for Nelson. The key is getting the community engagement right on the detailed design, so they work well for cyclists, other modes of transport, and the neighbourhoods they travel through."   

Refined concept design for the project will be produced in the new year and will be followed by community engagement to ensure the new connections best serve the people who live and travel through the area. 

Waka Kotahi Manager Urban Mobility Kathryn King says she is pleased Nelson City Council has received funding as part of the Transport Choices programme. 

“The Transport Choices programme is supporting councils to give people more options in the way they travel. I’m pleased to say we received an outstanding response from councils around the country, embracing the opportunity to provide greater transport choices for their communities. 

“Funding criteria specified projects that would deliver strategic cycling/micro mobility networks; create walkable neighbourhoods; supdport healthy school travel; or make public transport easier to use. 

“The aim is to open up streets so everyone can get where they need to go in ways that are good for their health and the planet.” 

Transport Choices funding is currently indicative until Waka Kotahi works with councils to explore how projects can be progressed in line with Transport Choices timeframes. Funding allocations may be adjusted after this consultation.