I recently visited the Nelson region and I was really pleased to see the amazing progress there on separated cycling infrastructure. This is both in Nelson City itself and the more rural areas like Mapua and Motueka – in the Tasman district.
I hadn’t realised but this article states that:
Nelson had the highest rates of cyclists in the country and it was one of the top cycle spots, [Cycle Advocates Network spokesman Patrick Morgan] said.
and I saw nothing in Nelson to dissuade me from that opinion. As you can see from the article, there are problems (it is still auto dependent NZ after all!) but the discussion seems to be where the separated cycle infrastructure should be, not if it should happen.
Though I am a little confused as to why flexible separators or low concrete separators aren’t just put on the outside of that cycle lane. That has proved to be very effective at keeping traffic out of cycle lanes in North America – the same question as I have with the cycle lanes on (just for example) Lake Road.
Mapua and Rabbit Island
One of the first parts of the project put in place was the cycle path running from Mapua, across Rabbit Island and then linking with a separated cycle path all the way into Nelson City. This is facilitated by a ferry across the Mapua inlet. Various businesses supplying accommodation and food to cyclists have sprung up and the facility is well used.
The ferry has been steadily busy all summer and the increased numbers at the Mapua wharf has had a great effect. There is now a shared space there to improve the cycling/walking environment and a cycle shop has been opened to give information to users of the trail.
The trail across Rabbit Island is not paved but it is metalled for most of it and was recently improved to deal with some sandy spots. Rabbit Island is however quite flat so it is far from a difficult offroad track. It appears to be enjoyed by young and old with few problems.
Recording of cycle numbers have revealed some great numbers and growing enthusiasm for the concept. Overall, really positive signs for cycling in one of our nicest small cities and once again proves the maxim: Build it and they will come!