Rotorua Weekender: $5.5 Million for Rotorua's new cycleway

Friday, July 3, 2015

When I was a kid I used to ride my bike to school. In fact my friends and I would ride our bikes everywhere.  I guess times were simpler, and our roads were certainly safer. Every school had a bike stand (differing from my parents' time where it was a bike shed). Cycling was much more an everyday thing for our children

Today it doesn't always seem that kids are as safe as they need to be on our roads. All over the country we read about accidents where car hits bike. Many parents probably won't let their sons and daughter ride to school or the shops or their friends' houses for fear of them falling in harms way.

That's part of the reason I lobbied Transport Minister Simon Bridges for funds to build safe cycleways in Rotorua.

Last week we joined Prime Minister John Key in Rotorua to announce a $333m investment in urban cycleways throughout New Zealand. Rotorua will get its share of this with $5.5m being spent on cycleways in our city.

In fact we have done very well in this area over the last few years. Who would have thought that cycling would be as important to our local economy as it is. Visitors come to ride bikes and they spend a lot of money in local shops whilst here. Cycling is responsible for creating and supporting local jobs.

Following last year's $225,000 government grant to upgrade the Skyline Gravity Park, we saw the successful running of the international mountain bike festival Crankworx in March. An additional $420,000 was also provided to help promote the event, and Rotorua, over the next 3 years. We've also seen investment in Rotorua's National Cycleway winding 74km from the city past four outstanding geothermal areas. I've cycled some of this with my family and it is truly world-class. 

Last week's announcement will see $3.59 million from Government and $1.93 million from Rotorua Lakes Council spent on a network of specialist cycleways linking residential areas of the city with the CBD. It will mean a safer, easier and more accessible commute to work and school for you and your family.

The cycleway project builds on initiatives that bring visitors into our district, and will mean that Rotorua has some of the best cycling infrastructure in the country.

Rotorua is fast becoming the 'Cycling Capital of New Zealand'.