21 October, 2008

The Great Harbour Way

I went to a meeting a couple of weeks ago organised by a bunch of people interested in improving recreational and commuting routes around Wellington harbour. The grand plan is called "The Great Harbour Way" and consists of a continuous, safe, signposted walkway and cycleway around the whole perimeter of Te Whanganui-a-Tara - Wellington Harbour from Fitzroy bay in the west to Sinclair Head in the east. That is a 72 kilometer continuous stretch of coastline. At the moment almost all of it is walkable and cycleable - with a notable exception being the stretch between Petone and Wellington, where cyclists can risk themselves on a very narrow and rough cycle lane down the side of SH2 (on the opposite side of the railway tracks from the harbour) but there is no route for walkers at all.
In addition to finding it a great idea in principle, I had the pleasure of discovering that the people who organised the meeting have a very serious plan for getting transport funding for this section of road. Some of the presentations from the meeting can be found here.
Some fun facts that I picked up along the way:
  • The health benefits of walking can be roughly costed at $1 per kilometre that you walk instead of driving/staying at home. Admittedly that is the benefit to council/government/society rather than money in your own pocket, but it still seems a pretty significant figure to me.
  • Cycling is apparently only worth 50 cents per kilometre - I am curious as to how much of the 'lost' 50 cents is due simply to the increased risk of cycling on NZ roads, and whether the figure would be higher elsewhere.
  • The cost of a 3.5m wide path for cyclists and pedestrians has been costed at $50 million. It was pointed out that this equates to 1km of Transmission Gully!
No word yet on how long this will take (it was pointed out that the project will require consent/support from at least 7 interested parties) but I will keep you posted.