Recognition for city cycle plans

Dunedin's recent and planned cycling projects are being lauded as inspirational and ground-breaking and are in the running for national recognition.

The New Zealand Transport Agency's cycle friendly awards will be announced at the 2Walk and Cycle conference in Nelson on Wednesday.

Dunedin city councillors (as a group) are a finalist in the commitment by a public organisation category for the plans for a separated cycle lane on State Highway 1 through the city.

The project, which is yet to be built, is described in a note accompanying the finalists announcement as ''quite possibly the most significant breakthrough for urban cycling in New Zealand history''. The note says Dunedin's plans have inspired similar plans in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

The city is a finalist in the same category for ''leading the way in cycle planning'' with its wider urban cycle network plans.

The description said the number of people cycling in Dunedin was expected to increase due to the planning of the network being aimed at the widest potential cycling audience - the ''interested, but concerned'' (those interested in cycling, but concerned it was unsafe).

That group represented about two-thirds of the population and included people of all cycling levels and abilities. It said Dunedin was leading the way in urban cycle network development and the success of the city's planning approach was a model that could be used across New Zealand and Australia.

''The relatively low cost of the South Dunedin network, at $4.5 million (a curtailed plan is now estimated to cost about $5.5 million) makes it an affordable proposition for many other cities across Australasia.''

The State Highway 1 lane project was also a finalist for the best cycle facility project and Dunedin's Robert Thompson a finalist in the cycle champion category as a ''tireless advocate'' for cycling whose efforts were ''helping make Dunedin a flagship city for a more cycling friendly New Zealand''.

The University Of Otago is up for the best New Zealand joint walking and cycling project for its adolescent mobility health consortium.

Dunedin city councillor Kate Wilson, who will represent the council at the conference and awards ceremony, said it was ''very exciting'' to be nominated at a time when cycling was at the forefront of much transport thinking around the country.

The credit was due not only to Mayor Dave Cull for leading the council through the cycling debate, but also to the ''hard work'' of council staff on the projects.

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