Longburn link jumps the gun
The first cycleway to be funded by the Government’s Urban Cycleways Programme is now open.
Transport minister Simon Bridges came to town last week and joined a peloton of bikes, trikes and scooters for the first official ride along the Palmerston North to Longburn shared cycle path. Simon says the sealed surface would make it safer for the community to get around.
‘‘Hopefully we’ll see a lot more people getting into cycling.’’
Not due to be actioned until 2022, funding for the Longburn Shared Pathway was announced in January and work on the 2.9-kilometre sealed path along the former railway reserve land beside SH56 commenced in March. The accelerated programme meant it was completed seven years ahead of schedule.
It’s now the city’s own ‘‘mini rail trail’’, following the original course of the North Island Main Trunk Line.
Until 1963, the tracks ran through Longburn and along Pioneer Highway to the central Main St railway station, situated about where the Convention Centre is now.
It has three major road crossing points along its length.
There is a crossing point at the Longburn-Rongotea Rd intersec- tion, while the Works Rd and Carey St intersections in Longburn village has been upgraded for pupils attending Longburn Primary School.
Care is also required at Walkers Rd. Longburn Adventist College students wanting to cross the 100kmh stretch of SH56 to join the pathway, can activate flashing pedestrian signs.
Motorists still have the right of way, but the lights are an interim warning measure until a lower speed limit can be considered.
Work on the cycleway’s threemetre wide, 23m long steel bridge across the Mangaone Stream near the Manawatu Trotting Club track was completed last month.
The $900,000 cost of the cycleway project has been split evenly between the Urban Cycleways Fund, the National Land Transport Fund and the Palmerston North City Council.
The city is also benefiting from the announcement two weeks ago of two new accelerated cycleway developments – the $9.6 million, 6.6km walking and cycling track from the Fitzherbert Bridge along the Manawatu River bank to Linton Military Camp, and $600,000 for bridge underpasses at Botanical Rd and Highbury Ave along the Mangaone Stream.
The costs are being shared between the three funding bodies.
Wearing his elaborate ‘‘spare bike chain’’, city mayor Grant Smith accompanies transport minister Simon Bridges along the newly opened Palmerston North to Longburn shared cycle path last week.