Residents are being encouraged to put on their helmets and get on their bike, as a way to decrease traffic congestion in Tauranga.
As part of Tauranga City Council's Cycle Action Plan they will be visiting locations to discuss what can be done to increase cycling throughout Tauranga.
The council are asking for feedback on how they can get more people riding bikes, what puts people off riding bikes and which routes should be improved and prioritised.
Tauranga City Council transport manager Martin Parkes says Tauranga's roads are becoming increasingly congested in many areas and cycling is a good alternative option.
“Congestion is worsened by Tauranga's strong dependency on car use, having the highest rate of trips to work made by car of any New Zealand city. One result of this is that over 60 per cent of Tauranga's carbon dioxide emissions come from vehicles,” he says.
“Cycling is often the fastest way to get around for short journeys. It's a low cost travel option that offers reliable journey times, it's better for people's health and it's better for the planet.
“As our city grows, every person on a bike is one less person in a car. We are therefore undertaking this project to give people more transport choices, to make sure all types of people feel safe riding a bike and to enable more people to ride a bike to school, tertiary education and work.”
Martin says the cycling facilities available are designed for experienced cyclists and not for less confident bike riders.
“We are wanting to hear from people who ride now, and also from people who don't currently ride a bike, but might if it was safer and easier.”
The public can come to local events, markets and shopping malls, or alternatively can complete an online survey and a hard copy feedback form with a few questions.
“The event locations were chosen to provide a good cross section across the whole of the city, as we want to talk to different parts of Tauranga's community and to provide the opportunity for people in all local areas to come and talk with us.”
People can also map routes using an online mapping tool or on a ‘Have your say' brochure, which will include a map of potential cycling routes around Tauranga.
This is the first of a number of projects the council hope to deliver in the coming years related to encouraging Tauranga's residents to use alternative forms of transport other than a private car.
Since May they have also been focused on undertaking stakeholder engagement.
This involved conversations, discussions and workshops with key stakeholders and tangata whenua, as well as agencies, groups and forums with an interest in cycling, sports, health and education.
They are also working closely with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council on improving the bus services across the city, as another viable option of transport.
“We have been really pleased with the positive feedback received during this early engagement, people have voiced their support for the project and are looking forward to the opportunity to have a say in how we can get more people riding bikes around the city.”
The public engagement will start on Monday, September 18 where a number of staff from transportation, travel safe, parks and recreation, and communications will be attending.
Some of the dates and locations of the events are:
September 20, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology 12pm - 2pm
September 21, Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology, 12pm - 2pm
September 23, New World Brookfield, 10am - 2pm
September 24, Papamoa Plaza – Pedal Papamoa, 9am - 11am
September 30, Bayfair Shopping Centre, 9am - 6pm.
September 30, Greerton Village Cherry Blossom Festival, 10am - 2pm
October 5, Red Square Downtown Tauranga, 12pm - 2pm
October 6, Red Square Tauranga, 12pm - 2pm
October 6, the NightOut Market, Bethlehem, 6.30 - 9pm
October 7, The Little Big Markets, 9am - 2pm.
October 7, Tauranga Crossing, 10.30am - 3pm
October 28, Bethlehem Town Centre, Centre, 11am - 2pm.
October 29, Oropi Sunday Market, 9am - 1pm