Long­burn link jumps the gun

The Tribune (NZ) - - Front Page -

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.

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON / FAIR­FAX NZ

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.

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