22 Nov 2018
By MERANIA KARAURIA
Build the Path is a community-led campaign to build a shared east-west bike and walk path in conjunction with Te Ahu a Turanga — Manawatu-Tararua Highway.
The NZ Transport Agency’s new Manawatu-Tararua Highway Te Ahu a Turanga will connect Ashhurst to Woodville and replace the Manawatu Gorge Rd.
Build the Path spokespeople Miriam Sharland and Ross Castle say NZTA will risk making a real mistake if it failed to include the path in its design.
“This is a big decision.Their transport mandate is access, safety and modeneutral, and this path delivers on all three.
The path will create benefits for the community and the potential for recreation and tourism in Te Apiti and the Manawatu River Gorge was high, they said.
The campaign was important and the feedback and support from varied groups in the community for the shared path was positive, they said.
”Over 70,000 people already use the Gorge Walk, and 150,000 people live on its doorstep.
“We’re within a two hour drive of a million people, and five million people visit New Zealand every year.
“The path will boost our economy by expanding the recreation and leisure places that are critical to attracting and retaining leading businesses and workforce talent.
“It will also create direct opportunity for adventure and activity-based businesses.
“The recreational opportunity is huge — on the city’s edge the path will link into a wild and energetic landscape which is a real drawcard for locals and visitors.
With millions of visitors arriving in New Zealand every year, BTP said the shared path was another reason for them to visit the Manawatu¯ .
City councillor Brent Barrett said that the BTP campaign hopes to replicate the successful Kapiti campaign.
“The shared pathway along the Kapiti Expressway has a higher than predicted use.”
BTP says the path will link into local bike and walk networks, connecting to Te Araroa and the NZ Cycle Trail, which are the backbone of adventure tourism and active recreation.