Bik­ing, walk­ing path needed on high­way

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWS - By MERANIA KARAURIA

Build the Path is a com­mu­nity-led cam­paign to build a shared east-west bike and walk path in con­junc­tion with Te Ahu a Tu¯ ranga — Manawatu¯ -Tararua High­way.

The NZ Trans­port Agency’s new Manawatu¯ -Tararua High­way Te Ahu a Tu¯ ranga will con­nect Ash­hurst to Woodville and re­place the Manawatu¯ Gorge Rd.

Build the Path spokes­peo­ple Miriam Shar­land and Ross Cas­tle say NZTA will risk mak­ing a real mis­take if it failed to in­clude the path in its de­sign.

“This is a big de­ci­sion.Their trans­port man­date is ac­cess, safety and mod­eneu­tral, and this path de­liv­ers on all three.

The path will cre­ate ben­e­fits for the com­mu­nity and the po­ten­tial for re­cre­ation and tourism in Te Apiti and the Manawatu¯ River Gorge was high, they said.

The cam­paign was im­por­tant and the feed­back and sup­port from var­ied groups in the com­mu­nity for the shared path was pos­i­tive, they said.

”Over 70,000 peo­ple al­ready use the Gorge Walk, and 150,000 peo­ple live on its doorstep.

“We’re within a two hour drive of a mil­lion peo­ple, and five mil­lion peo­ple visit New Zealand ev­ery year.

“The path will boost our econ­omy by ex­pand­ing the re­cre­ation and leisure places that are crit­i­cal to at­tract­ing and re­tain­ing lead­ing busi­nesses and work­force tal­ent.

“It will also cre­ate di­rect op­por­tu­nity for ad­ven­ture and ac­tiv­ity-based busi­nesses.

“The re­cre­ational op­por­tu­nity is huge — on the city’s edge the path will link into a wild and en­er­getic land­scape which is a real draw­card for lo­cals and vis­i­tors.

With mil­lions of vis­i­tors ar­riv­ing in New Zealand ev­ery year, BTP said the shared path was an­other rea­son for them to visit the Manawatu¯ .

City coun­cil­lor Brent Bar­rett said that the BTP cam­paign hopes to repli­cate the suc­cess­ful Ka¯ piti cam­paign.

“The shared path­way along the Ka¯ piti Ex­press­way has a higher than pre­dicted use.”

BTP says the path will link into lo­cal bike and walk net­works, con­nect­ing to Te Araroa and the NZ Cy­cle Trail, which are the back­bone of ad­ven­ture tourism and ac­tive re­cre­ation.

■ BTP is seek­ing feed­back on the Build The Path on­line sur­vey. Con­tact Miriam Shar­land 027 529 4141, Ross Cas­tle 027 477 2548, buildthep­[email protected], Face­book @buildthep­ath

Build the Path cam­paign spokes­peo­ple Ross Cas­tle and Miriam Shar­land are call­ing for a shared bik­ing and walk­ing path­way to be built in con­junc­tion with Te Atu a Tu¯ ranga — Manawatu¯ -Tararua High­way, which will re­place the Manawatu¯ Gorge Rd.

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