Push to net bike tracks for more Palmerston North schools

St Mary's Year 6 student Kirvi Kibir, 11, enjoys the school's new cycle track.
David Unwin/Fairfax NZ.

St Mary's Year 6 student Kirvi Kibir, 11, enjoys the school's new cycle track.

Efforts are being made to secure additional Bikes in Schools funding so three more Palmerston North schools can peddle the benefits. 

Palmerston North City Council  hopes to build bike tracks at another three schools as part of the scheme, but extra money from the New Zealand Transport Agency is needed. 

Initially the council provided $50,000 a year in its 10-year budget to roll out the programme to one school a year.

St Mary's School in Palmerston North celebrates the opening of their new cycle track in November. 
Charlotte Hurley, 5, ...
David Unwin/Fairfax NZ.

St Mary's School in Palmerston North celebrates the opening of their new cycle track in November. Charlotte Hurley, 5, the newest student at St Mary's and Graeme Eaton one of the first students at St Mary's cut the ribbon to officially open the track.

But in 2016 councillor Aleisha Rutherford convinced councillors to bring most of the money forward to 2016 and 2017 so schools would reap the benefits sooner.

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Skills and pump tracks were built at Terrace End, St Mary's and Longburn schools in 2016. Schools also received 50 new bikes and helmets and a container to store them in.

Council road planning team leader David Lane said tracks for Ross Intermediate and Cloverlea school were under way and Takaro school's track would be officially opened on Friday. 

The aim was to get funding for three more schools this year if the council could secure additional funding from the New Zealand Transport Agency, Lane said. 

Once the council knew whether extra funding would be allocated, schools could express interest, he said.

Through the National Land Transport Fund, NZTA has $500,000 to support Bikes in Schools nationwide between 2015 to 2018.

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So far, it has provided funding to Longburn, Takaro and Cloverlea schools. Each school received between $10,000 and $12,500.

NZTA regional relationships acting director Lisa Rossiter said funding for the scheme was nearly fully allocated until the end of 2018.

"However [NZTA] is carefully tracking project delivery so that we can consider and agree to additional funding requests on a case by case basis," she said. 

Additional funding was assessed on whether it was part of a wider cycling behaviour change programme, Rossiter said. This included wrap-around activities such as outreach to parents and the community, and skills training. 

 

 

 - Stuff

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