Cycle trail trial
A five-kilometre length of Palmerston North’s College St is the site of a new trial cycle route.
Highlighting the route along the existing cycle lanes from Maxwells Line in Awapuni to the Albert St roundabout are ‘‘Primary Route’’ cycling signs, with disc-shaped directional indicators on side roads, installed courtesy of Higgins on existing lamp-posts and roadside poles.
Horizons Regional Council road safety co-ordinator Desley Monks said the trial, which could go national, was part of the Palmerston North City Council’s Integrated Transport Strategy, and is designed to help bike riders find a safe route along city streets.
‘‘We know that some people who ride or want to ride a bike don’t always know the safest route to get through town, particularly in Palmerston North where there is an influx of new students every year.’’
The trial route was chosen because of its high use by those who cycle to school, university or work.
Monks hoped the simple but innovative idea, a collaboration between the NZ Transport Agency, PNCC, Horizons Regional Council and Higgins, would further encourage cycling in Palmerston North.
The idea is that the signs would also prompt motorists to be more aware of cyclists along the route.
‘‘Motorists seem to have terrible trouble in this town seeing cyclists,’’ Monks said. Cyclist Willie McKay agreed. ‘‘Biking anywhere in town is a risk,’’ McKay said, adding that cyclists had to constantly remain alert to any potential hazards.
To help with promoting cyclist visibility and the new trial route, this Friday between 8am and 9am Horizons staff will be handing out hi-visibility vests, backpack covers and ankle snap bands, along with cycling road codes at the intersection of Cook St and College St adjacent to Savage Cres.
Over the next three years the trial route will be monitored, tracking the number of cyclists, and seeking community feedback about whether the signs have made a difference to people’s choice of transport. A special fundraising lunch in Palmerston North that had the NZ$183,000, 18-carat gold Melbourne Cup as its centrepiece raised $1300.
The ‘‘pass the plate’’ luncheon for racing industry stakeholders and sponsors at The Fat Farmer in Hokowhitu attracted 40 guests, who were addressed by city mayor Grant Smith and Caroline Powley from the Trevor Smith Renal Fund.
‘‘It was a fabulous day,’’ Powley said. ‘‘ We were really stoked with the support.’’
The $1300 will go towards buying Lazyboy chairs for at-home dialysis patients who have to spend up to six hours three days a week receiving the treatment, ‘‘so they need to be comfortable’’.
Local fundraising for the comfort of dialysis patients included the purchase last year of nine flat-screen televisions for the hospital renal unit.
After lunch, the Cup toured the unit, visited the hospital’s oncology and rehabilitation wards, and the staff cafeteria.
A highlight for Alasdair Robertson from RACE Incorporated was seeing how many people wanted their photo taken with the cup.
New cycle route riders on College St negotiate the Cook St roundabout (from left) Malcolm Todd (Horizons Regional Council), Johnny McKay, Willie McKay, and Shaun Harvey (Transport Agency). The Cook St sign indicates where the route is, and the insert picture shows signage along the primary route.