Cycle use in Hastings shows a significant rise
The early results from Hastings District Council's annual cycle count have shown a significant increase in the number of riders since the Council's iWay initiative was launched.
iWay began in 2010 after council received $4.1m in funding from the New Zealand Transport Agency's model communities project. The aim being to increase the number of people who walk or cycle by making it easier and safer to ride or walk throughout Hastings. The initiative included the construction of on and off road cycleways and a promotion programme which encourages people to enjoy the great outdoors.
So far Council’s annual cycle count has been completed on 15 of 37 sites which are monitored throughout the area and the results have been compared with the figures gathered from the same sites and weeks in 2010/11. Of the 15 sites, seven have shown a significant increase in the number of cyclists. The overall figures from the 15 sites show a 23% increase in the number of cyclists using these roads.
Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers says “Major increases in cycle traffic have been recorded in Havelock Road, Wilson Road, Maraekakaho Road and Heretaunga Street East.”
“A new offroad pathway was built in Wilson Road as part of the iWay project which made it much safer to cycle and walk in this area. We expect to see further significant rises in cycling on Havelock Road once the new offroad pathway is completed by June 2012,” Cynthia Bowers says.
Council is pleased that the early results from the cycle count show such a healthy increase in the number of people who are cycling. This backs up what we are hearing from cycle shops around the region, with one reporting a 25% increase in the sale of bikes since the iWay project began. A council survey shows that the number of people who believe it is safe to cycle in Hastings has jumped by 24%.
Cynthia Bowers says “This encouraging increase in cyclists, together with the huge expansion of walking and cycling trails around Hawke’s Bay, shows that our ambition to become the cycling capital of New Zealand is now becoming a reality”
Cycling advocate Paul McArdle from the Bike On NZ Charitable Trust says “These numbers are further confirmation that Hastings District Council’s decision to invest in quality cycling infrastructure is having a positive impact.”
“Smart cities around the world are increasingly prioritising cycling because it helps reduce congestion, increases transport choices, improves health statistics and overall quality of life. The most significant and immediate impact of more people biking more often is that every dollar not spent on petrol is an extra dollar for our local economy.”
“In Hawke's Bay iWay is also providing support for our rapidly growing cycle tourism market which is great for our economy," Mr McArdle says.
iWay is a Hastings District Council initiative which aims to make walking and cycling easy, safe and fun.
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