Small win, big gain for SBN’s BikeNow project.

By Natasha Fromont

Just over two years ago, SBN’s BikeNow project led a group of SBN members and cycling advocates to get together and propose a Cycle Action Plan for Tauranga, in order to ensure that safe and separated cycle ways were developed throughout the city. Many people were put off cycling because it was seen as dangerous, so the BikeNow group wanted to see safer cycleways that would encourage more people to bike to work and more children to bike to school.

The $120 million Baypark to Bayfair Link roading project at a key intersection along Tauranga’s proposed cycleway network was identified as a potential barrier to cycling, as the NZ Transport Agency was planning to remove the underpass that was well used by cyclists, pedestrians and other active transport users, since 1999. The Sustainable Business Network’s BikeNow group held many meetings with NZ Transport Agency, councils, local MPs, Ministers of Transport, and other key parties in an effort to have safe and separated cycleways included as a part of the project.

In June 2018, Tauranga City Council approved funding for a Tauranga Cycle Action Plan, which confirms the intersection is a key hub in the local cycleway network. This got the support of a large number of local people, thus highlighting the underpass issue. Meanwhile, the new government’s Policy Statement on Transport made it clear they want multi-modal solutions. This allowed a review of the Baylink project. Finally, after more than two years of meetings, the decision has been made to build a bigger and better underpass as part of the project – thereby future-proofing this intersection for a low emissions transport future.

This project received a lot of help from our members, namely the Bay of Plenty District Health Board, Sustainability Options, Fulton Hogan and Tauranga City Council. It goes to show that with some thought, effort, time and dedication – great things can happen!