… connecting shared pathways…
With a recent steep rise in the popularity of electric bikes, and recognising the extreme danger for everyone travelling along SH1 between Ōtaki and Levin, it would be excellent if shared bike / pedestrian / horse trails could be created to join the satellite communities to Levin and one another.
One possibility might be beside the railway line. These trails should NOT simply be beside the extremely dangerous traffic along SH1 as the current partial bike paths are, but should be completely separated.
Such trails would contribute to public health outcomes, and reduce pollution from taking a car on a shopping or cafe trip that could be achieved by electric bike or on foot.
If electric bikes continue to increase in popularity then people in Waikawa Beach, Manakau, Ōhau could reasonably cycle or walk between communities on a separate pathway for errands or just for fun.
It would also create an opportunity for the cycle tourists we sometimes see beside SH1 to be removed from that danger.
Waikawa Beach speed bumps
Under the Land Transport item on Page 34 and following I would like relief from the speed bumps on Strathnaver Drive and Sarah Street.
There are 5 speed bumps at Waikawa Beach: one on Drake Street, near the north end; one on Sarah Street and three in a one kilometre stretch of Strathnaver Drive. The Drake Street speed bump isn’t of concern to me as it affects only the last few metres at the north end of Drake Street.
All the speed bumps use the old-fashioned half-circle profile, rather than the flat rectangular kind used for example on the road to the beach at Ōtaki.
The speed bumps are very uncomfortable and dangerous for cyclists.
The Sarah Street and Strathnaver Drive speed bumps are effective at slowing cars and trucks. On Strathnaver Drive motorbikes and quads simply drive around them on the grass verge. Many people avoid the speed bump on Sarah Street by using Manga Pirau Street instead.
However, as Waikawa Beach becomes more and more popular with families cycling on the relative safe streets, the speed bumps are not only inconvenient but dangerous for cyclists.
Riding around the ends of the speed bumps is a difficult and scary proposition. The grass verges on Strathnaver Drive are rutted, full of soft sand, rabbit holes, shingle and occasional bits of wood or other debris. While motorbikes and quads can easily handle that terrain with large tires, suspension and engine power, cycles have only narrow tires and usually no suspension. A bike can easily slide and slip on that kind of surface.
The speed bump on Sarah Street terminates right in the gutter and the grass verge on one side is barely navigable because of trees and shrubs. There are still bumps to cross the gutter.
Going over a speed bump on a bicycle requires slowing almost to a stop, standing on the pedals and jolting carefully over the bump, ideally crossing at an angle. That is very uncomfortable and also scary, especially when cars are heading for the same speed bump at a much greater speed than the cycle.
Surely speed bumps aren’t intended to unfairly disadvantage cyclists?
I would like relief for cyclists so as to help
provide safe, convenient and efficient transit of people within Waikawa Beach. Cycling has benefits for health and environment and the 5 or 6 Km return ride between the village and the beach via Strathnaver Drive is very popular, especially in summer as an exercise route or a family outing.
I suggest cutting the middle portion out of each speed bump or perhaps cutting the ends short so cars and trucks would still have to slow but cyclists could just bike through.
In this era where climate change is a major concern and now we all have a refreshed emphasis on good health and exercise thanks to Covid-19 I believe the Council needs to pay even more attention to making it easier for us to cycle and walk, for fun or for more serious reasons like errands.