Pathways project connecting communities
With another section of the new East Taupō Arterial (ETA) shared pathway completed, Taupō is well on its way to having a pedestrian and cycling network that circles the entire town.
The recently completed shared pathway along Acacia Bay Road now links to the CBD and the Great Lake Pathway.
A new 2.8 metre-wide pathway that runs alongside SH1 from the airport roundabout to the SH5 Napier-Taupō roundabout will connect future residential developments in the south of the town. Work is under way on the next segment, which connects this section to the intersection of the ETA, Broadlands Road.
Lynaire Campbell, of the Cranky Divas cycling group, said it was great to see the pathway progressing, and she and the Divas were looking forward to the completion of the next phase.
“We do a fortnightly ride of up to 40km,” she said.
“Pathways like this are perfect as you can really stretch your legs without having to worry about sharing the space with cars and trucks. We feel a lot safer on the shared pathways, and cycling is really about communities – building communities and connecting communities – and when this network is done it will mean anyone can circle the town by bike.”
Taupō District Council landscape architect Fraser Scott, who was responsible for the design of the Great Lake Pathway section of the network that recently received a Recreation Aotearoa Health Park Award, said it was fantastic to see the degree to which the community was using the pathways.
“Taupō was incredibly fortunate to receive $3.6 million from shovel ready infrastructure funding for the Eastern Arterial Shared Path and building the path will help to future proof links to multiple other roads and new developments in that area,” he said.
“It’s great to see that the path is already attracting users though, and has really been embraced by the community. Many people don’t feel comfortable cycling on roadways or unsealed paths, so the new shared pathways offer a safer environment for them to get out and about or move around the town.”
“Whether walkers and joggers or mums and dads with pushchairs, or cyclists and skaters, people are using them to get exercise, to commute to work, to enjoy our beautiful town and lake or to just get around. Between July 2021 and July 2022, just over 300,000 people used the lakefront pathway, and for a town of our size at a time when we weren’t seeing anywhere near the number of visitors that we usually do, that is a fantastic figure.”
Road safety Coordinator Sarah Wraight said many in the community appreciated safer cycling environments and they were a great way to get more people out of cars and onto bicycles.
“This shows people appreciate safe cycling environments and just how key they are in reducing congestion. With people investigation alternative modes of transport, given the price of fuel, we are seeing many more people walking, biking or scooting, and these are all better for our health, wellbeing and help reduce our impact on the environment.”