Funding boost will make it safer and easier to walk, bike and ride around our towns
A $2.3 million package to upgrade public transport facilities and improve walking and biking options in Matamata-Piako is on its way, thanks to funding from Waka Kotahi NZ as part of its Transport Choices initiative.
Late last year the land transport agency put a call out to local councils to submit ‘shovel-ready’ projects for consideration. Transport Choices funding aims to help councils deliver strategic cycling/micro mobility networks, create walkable neighbourhoods, support healthy school travel and make public transport easier to use. We successfully applied for funding for seven planned projects across the district.
Mayor Adrienne Wilcock said the funding means Council could bring forward important upgrades to our transport network. “This is a big win for our district and will help us fast-track a number of upgrades our communities have been asking for. The funding will help us deliver quick-to-build, low-cost improvements and should make a valuable difference to those who catch a bus or use our footpaths and crossings to get around our town centres.”
Mayor Adrienne said our funding proposal was shaped around community feedback received in recent consultations including the 2021-31 Long Term Plan, 2021-51 Parks and Open Spaces Strategy, the Pride of Place consultations and ongoing conversations with community groups. “You’ve let us know we could do a better job of creating walking and biking connections in our town centres and making our footpaths and crossings more accessible and safe to use. We’re excited to make a number of small but important upgrades much sooner than we hoped,” she said.
Over the next 12 months, we will be creating shared paths, installing or upgrading some crossing points and upgrading some footpaths and kerbs to improve connections between our district’s green spaces, schools, public spaces and town centres. Earlier this year we also applied for funding from Transport Choices for a pop-up pump track to help make our open spaces more attractive for our young people.
“This pump track is really neat and we’ll receive it just in time for summer,” said Mayor Adrienne. “The idea is we’ll pack it up and move it around the district throughout the year. Its first stop will be the Morrinsville Recreation Ground when we open the new perimeter path in December. I think families are going to really enjoy it.”
The Morrinsville Recreation Ground perimeter path, due December 2023, is one of the seven projects to receive Transport Choices funding. The shared walk and bike path will run on the reserve along the railway track from Lorne Street to Avenue Road South and better connect Morrinsville Rec to the town centre.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Manager Urban Mobility Kathryn King says the Transport Choices programme is supporting councils to give people more options in the way they travel.
“I’m pleased to say we received an outstanding response from councils around the country, embracing the opportunity to provide greater transport choices for their communities. The aim is to open up streets so everyone can get where they need to go in ways that are good for their health and the planet,” said King.
Transport Choices is an investment package within the $350 million Waka Kotahi Climate Emergency Response Programme that supports local councils to begin immediate work for reduction of emissions by developing safer, greener and healthier travel options. We are contributing an additional $500,000 already earmarked in the Long Term Plan for some of these projects, bringing the total package of upgrades to $2.8m.
The Transport Choices funding requires projects to be completed by July 2024. You can see the full range of projects over at mpdc.nz/walkbikeride