Thursday 26 October 2017
Hamilton‘s Western Rail Trail has won the ‘Big Bike Bling’ Award at the 2017 Bike to the Future Awards in Christchurch.
The shared pathway, funded by Hamilton City Council and the NZ Transport Agency through the Urban Cycleways Programme, is one of the key projects in the city’s Biking Plan. The plan is a long term vision for a fully-connected biking network that is safe and attractive for Hamiltonians.
The trail travels along the rail corridor from Kahikatea Dr, around the west of Lake Rotoroa to Norris Ward Park and into the central city.
The Western Rail Trail has quickly become a quintessential part of Hamilton’s 150km of biking network, says City Transport Manager Jason Harrison.
“We have automated counters which have been installed along the path, and these have counted 38,412 journeys in three months since the trail opened, averaging 422 per day.”
“The trail links the southwestern suburbs with the central city which makes it a fantastic asset, not just for commuters and visitors, but also for the more than 1600 students within 500 metres of the route.”
“It features a rail history theme and interpretive signage exploring Frankton’s heritage, landscaping, lighting along the trail and drinking fountains, rubbish bins, bike fix-it stations, seating and tables,” Mr Harrison says.
Growth and Infrastructure Committee Chair Dave Macpherson says the path is part of the larger Access Hamilton strategy delivering safe and effective connections for all the city’s transport modes.
“The new trail has become part of Hamilton’s key infrastructure and will in time connect with a fully integrated network for people to get around the city. It’s an element of a bigger picture for Hamilton’s future.”
NZ Transport Agency Senior Manager System Design Brett Gliddon says the Big Bike Bling award category acknowledges transport infrastructure projects that have had the most significant impact on encouraging more people to cycle and contribute towards creating an integrated transport system that offers New Zealanders more transport choice.
“The judges were impressed by the significant impact the Western Rail Trail has had on encouraging more people to cycle since its opening in April 2017 and how the trail has quickly become an integral part of Hamilton’s transport network.”
The Bike to the Future Awards, delivered by the NZ Transport Agency and Cycling Action Network (CAN) recognise and celebrate the people, projects and workplaces that have put innovation and energy into making cycling a safer, more accessible mode of transport.