Pedestrians talk the walk

Foot traffic speaks out on Rocks Rd revamp

KATE DAVIDSON
Last updated 08:20 20/08/2014
 Gina Gray, left, and Diane Burr
MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ

ON THE WATERFRONT: Gina Gray, left, and Diane Burr walk along Rocks Road.

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Pedestrians are adding their voice to the controversial Rocks Rd redevelopment options debate.

The Nelson City Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency have put out two concepts for upgrading the road and making it safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

One concept is for enhancing on-road cycle lanes and the footpath, costing between $9 million and $13m, and the second concept is of a shared 4-metre-wide cycling and walking route on the seaward side of the road for between $11m and $15m.

Kel Squire grew up in Nelson until he was 17 and has spent the last 10 years in Asia. He was walking along the coastal path yesterday towards Tahunanui while back in New Zealand on holiday.

Squire said while walking the route he had not noticed anything wrong or broken with it and could not really see a reason to upgrade the path.

"They have just got money to spend obviously," he said of the council and government.

However, he thought there might be justification to upgrade the road if there was a tourism benefit.

Gina Gray from Hope and Diane Burr from Stoke had just been walking along the walkway chatting about the condition of the path.

"As a cyclist I think I would prefer the 4m one and sharing it," said Burr and Gray agreed as a walker.

"I want a distance between me and the traffic because it's not a pleasant walk. It's very noisy and narrow and you can't walk side by side and chat," she said.

However, Burr said a shared pathway would need a white line to mark room for cyclists and pedestrians, but she liked the idea of carrying on the "theme" of shared cycleways.

Both said the setting for the walkway was beautiful and the region did not make the most of it.

As Washington Valley residents Lili Abeille and Manaia Te Manawa were strolling along the path towards the city yesterday they said preferred separate walk and cycle ways.

Abeille said she used to walk along the river, but had stopped because of having to share pathways with cycles, which often approached unexpectedly and fast.

Te Manawa said he thought pedestrians should come first on separate pathways.

"I don't really like it when bikes are coming along and getting you to move away," he said.

Daily walker Cynthia McConville does not walk along Rocks Rd because of the traffic, but does use the shared pathway in Atawhai and said cyclists went too fast and did not give enough warning so she was not supportive of a shared path for walkers and cyclists.

"There are many people in my age group who use these pathways to maintain their fitness and health.

"I believe the waterfront because of its outstanding scenery will become a very popular destination with walkers and the council will soon find itself with a user conflict if it chooses to go ahead with Option 2."

Those wanting to give their views can fill out a survey form on the Nelson City Council website.

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- The Nelson Mail

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