New Govt funding could aid city cycleways

A government promise to spend $100 million more on urban cycleways over the next four years could have direct benefits for Dunedin, National list MP Michael Woodhouse says.

The initiative was announced yesterday by Prime Minister John Key, who early in 2009 allocated $50 million - since topped up by a further $8 million- towards a national cycleway.

The new money for urban cycleways, to be drawn from the Government's consolidated fund, will be in addition to between $45 million and $103 million already announced for the next three years for walking and cycling from road fuel taxes.

Mr Woodhouse said an urban cycleway investment panel would be set up to investigate opportunities to invest in and expand urban cycle networks.

''Now it's up to Dunedin to make sure we secure some of the $100 million available,'' he said.

This was the opportunity Dunedin needed to complete the cycleway on State Highway 88 from St Leonards to Port Chalmers, and to build a separated cycleway running in both directions on the State Highway one-way systems.

''These are both good quality and `investment ready' projects and I encourage Dunedin City Council and all those who have been advocating for these projects to make sure Dunedin benefits from this new funding.''

Those were the types of proposals the urban cycleway investment panel would look to invest in, he said.

The panel would include representatives from central government, local government and other organisations.

Draft terms of reference would be presented to cabinet by October 31.

The news came as Otago Peninsula Community Board chairwoman Christine Garey urged the Dunedin City Council yesterday to find a way to complete the Portobello Rd-Harington Point Rd safety improvements project, which includes a shared cycle-pedestrian path along the peninsula's harbourside road, in the next four years instead of the next 10.

Council staff are expected to report back to the council in September on how the funding could be found to accelerate the project.

Council operations programme engineer Michael Harrison said the project might not be considered for the newly announced funding as it was technically a safety improvement project, rather than a commuter cycleway project.

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