Napier walk and cycleway to improve safety

The Government is funding a new separated walking and cycleway path along Napier’s Chambers and Ellison streets to provide safer access for local students and residents across Marine Parade and State Highway 51, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Police Minister Stuart Nash announced today.

Funding of $2.7 million has been provided for the project from the Government’s $50 billion COVID Response and Recovery Fund set out in Budget 2020 which earmarked $3 billion for infrastructure projects.

Phil Twyford says the walk and cycleway will close an existing gap in the walking and cycling network between the shared path on Chambers Street and Marine Parade along Ellison Street, and along Te Awa Avenue from Ellison Street to Napier Boys High School.

“Significant numbers of commuters and recreational users use this area but this gap means there is not a continuous safe and reliable route. To close this gap, this project will create off-road access and upgrade the current inadequate crossings across State Highway 51 and Marine Parade.

“It will also include a connection along Te Awa Avenue from Ellison Street to the sports fields at Napier Boys High Schools which hosts many sporting events. There are generous existing berms on both routes which means there is room to create a separated walk and cycleway,” Mr Twyford said.

Stuart Nash says the routes are heavily used by students, commuters, and people walking, jogging and cycling. “The local community has serious concerns about road safety in this area,” Mr Nash said.

“Police and the Napier City Council work closely with whanau and local communities to improve road and rail safety for all users of the networks. Police school community officers work hard in our community to remind school children about road safety.

“This is a dangerous part of our off-road network. This cross city connection is further restricted by the railway line which means there are only a small number of places to cross safely. This means people tend to use less than safe crossing options.

“Just last year a much-loved 80 year old local woman was tragically killed while cycling near the Ellison St intersection. Her wider family, including 47 mokopuna and 30 great mokopuna gathered to mourn her. It reinforced that every single road death casts a long shadow.

“This project will reduce the time those crossing the road are exposed to live traffic by narrowing the road.

“How we travel around our streets and footpaths is changing as more Kiwis choose to walk, cycle, or use e-scooters and more shared pathways are created. So it’s important Government keeps up with these changes and keeps people safe,” Stuart Nash said.

Editor notes:

The $50 billion COVID Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF) set out in Budget 2020 earmarked $3 billion for infrastructure projects. Ministers established the Infrastructure Reference Group (IRG) to work with local councils and businesses to identify a pipeline of projects to support the economy during the COVID-19 rebuild. Cabinet then decided the key sectors and regional breakdown of funds with more than 150 projects worth $2.6 billion being approved in principle. Announcement here.

These sectors are (excluding a $400m contingency)

  • Housing and urban development: $464m
  • Environmental: $460m
  • Community and social development: $670m
  • Transport (cycleways, walkways, ports and roads): $708m

The approximate regional breakdown is:

  • Auckland region $500 million
  • Bay of Plenty Region $170 million
  • Canterbury $300 million
  • East Coast $106 million
  • Hawke’s Bay $130 million
  • Manawatu/Whanganui $140 million
  • Northland $150 million
  • Otago $260 million
  • Southland $90 million
  • Taranaki $85 million
  • Top of the South $85 million
  • Waikato $150 million
  • Wellington region $185 million
  • West Coast $90 million

The IRG investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. They are in addition to the $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme and existing Provincial Growth Fund investments.

All approvals are in principle and subject to contract negotiations. Investment values are also subject to change.

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