Hutt City Council’s Policy and Regulatory Committee has recommended that Council should increase its investment in cycling and walking infrastructure by $3,012,000 over three years to encourage greater participation in active travel in the city.
In New Zealand and globally, the move to creating walking and bike-friendly cities is growing as planners adapt to changes that see people living more centrally and closer to where they work, and seek to exploit the broad range of quality of life benefits.
Finding the funding
This announcement comes hot on the heels of the Prime Minister’s announcement of $100 million in new funding to accelerate cycleways in urban centres.
Mayor Ray Wallace says, ‘We will be making a strong case for access to that funding; the fact the $100 million was announced in Petone surely bodes well for our success.’
Hutt City Council has worked closely with stakeholders such as Living Streets Aotearoa and the Hutt Cycle Network on the Walk and Cycle the Hutt plan. Through a range of methods, the plan aims to encourage people in the city to walk and cycle more often and further. Council and community will continue to work together to further develop an action plan.
‘The Hutt region has an existing network of cycleways that are well used by residents and visitors to the area. Adding to those and improving existing routes will have wide-ranging benefits, says Mayor Wallace.
Improving health and traffic congestion
‘Studies show that transport that requires people to be active is hugely beneficial to cities, as well as the health of those active people. Benefits to cities include reduced congestion and vehicle operating costs, greater safety, and resilient infrastructure.
‘Promoting greater levels of walking and cycling contributes to Council’s four key areas of focus – Growth and Development, Environmental Sustainability, Infrastructure, and Leisure and Wellbeing.’
The Policy and Regulatory Committee meeting on Monday 18 August approved the Walk and Cycle the Hutt plan and the recommendation that Council should approve the increased expenditure as part of the 2015 – 2025 Long-Term Plan.
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Surachai