A hearing was held in Masterton this week for public submissions on the proposed Lansdowne to Kuripuni cycleway.
Of the 187 individuals and organisations that made written submissions, 13 elected to give a spoken submission to Masterton District Council at yesterday’s meeting.
The proposed route, which Waka Kotahi NZTA has agreed to fund, runs from Kuripuni shops, down Herbert St, and along Colombo Rd to Lansdowne.
It would become the first protected on-road cycleway in Masterton.
Two alternative routes have been suggested: The first running along Kuripuni St, then down Colombo Rd to Lansdowne, and the second running down Kuripuni St to Makoura Rd, then back up Johnstone St onto Colombo Rd to Lansdowne.
The cycleway would be a two-way lane and separated from cars by concrete bollards, and car parks on the side of the road would need to be removed for its construction.
It would provide a safer cycling route connecting Lakeview School, Wairarapa Hospital, Masterton Netball Courts, Queen Elizabeth II Park, Chanel College, and Red Star Sports Club.
It would also provide a partial route for students of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Wairarapa, Mākoura College, and students travelling from east Masterton to and from Masterton Intermediate, Hadlow School, and Masterton Primary School.
Some of yesterday’s 13 submitters supported the proposal; some opposed it.
Submitters in favour included Green Party candidate Celia Wade-Brown, who said a safe and protected bike lane would encourage people to try cycling because it would be safe from cars.
Wade-Brown said Masterton is well suited for bikes, and developing a safe cycling network would increase the number of people choosing to cycle instead of driving, reducing transport emissions.
She also said it would allow children to independently go to school and sports practices without needing a ride from their parents.
One detractor, Tania Scott of Chanel Court Hotel, said removing car parks on Herbert St would hurt the hotel’s business.
She said many of the hotel’s customers, including big companies, contractors, and people who come to Masterton for events, park their larger vehicles on the street in front of the hotel.
If the cycle lane were built, the larger vehicles would need to park in front of other people’s houses.
Scott also said the route is too busy and congested to be safe for children on bikes.
She suggested Kuripuni St as an alternative route to Herbert St.
Road safety advocate and former professional motorcycle racer Aaron Slight said the roads are already wide enough to be shared by cyclists and motorists.
He said there are not enough children cycling to school to justify a cycle lane.
Slight suggested the council build a cycle lane through parks to keep bikes off the roads.
He also supported Kuripuni St as a better route than Herbert St.
The council will meet next Wednesday to deliberate on the submissions and decide on the final route to be taken forward for detailed design.