'Walkway' it stays - and it's a space to be shared

MATT RILKOFF
Last updated 07:26 15/02/2012
tdn walkway stand
CAMERON BURNELL
New Plymouth's coastal walkway will now be known as coastal walkway.

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After exhaustive consultation and study, New Plymouth's coastal walkway will now be known as . . . coastal walkway.

Last October close to 400 people were consulted about the name after years of concern it implied walkers had precedence over other users such as cyclists, joggers or those on mobility scooters.

Three-quarters of those surveyed said they did not want a name change.

Walkway campaigner Ranald Gordon told the New Plymouth District Council's policy committee last night that this indicated people wanted walkers to have precedence on the walkway despite it being designated a shared use path.

He said council was obliged to put up signs encouraging people to "share with care" as not doing so would mean the council accepted the risk of serious accident occurring between a walker and a cyclist. Committee chairwoman Heather Dodunski was sympathetic to Mr Ranald's request, thanks to a close encounter with a speeding cyclist before Christmas, and he also found sympathy with councillor Phil Quinney who said that on one occasion on the walkway he thought he had walked into the Tour De France cycle race.

But Mr Quinney reeled against giving walkers first billing on the path or putting a speed limit in place to slow cyclists down.

"We risk contradicting ourselves," he said.

"That is what Let's Go is about. We are encouraging people to get on their bike and we couldn't police a speed limit anyway."

Council parks boss Mark Bruhn said signs reminding people the walkway was a shared use path would go up as soon as council confirmed the policy committee's recommendation to stick with the name "coastal walkway" next month.

Of the 97 people who wanted the name changed, "coastal pathway" was the most popular choice, followed by Coastal Trail and then Coastal Way.

Some respondents came up with ideas of their own such as Ara Takutai (coastal walkway in Maori), Ariki Trail, Ocean Walk, The Journey, Seafront Pathway and something in Te Reo.

In the same survey, respondents were asked how they used the walkway with a vast majority saying they walked.

However, some of those same walkers sometimes used it to bike with 44 per cent saying they used the walkway to cycle on, while 23 per cent said they used it for running or jogging. Dog walkers were the next biggest segment at 17 per cent, with 13.5 per cent having skateboarded or rollerbladed along the path.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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