Parking debate looms

Te Awamutu Community Board members have reeled at the prospect of the town surrendering carparks to cycleways.

One of Te Awamutu’s busiest sections of road in town could become a haven for cyclists

Waipā District Council’s urban mobility ideas were rolled out to members at Tuesday’s monthly meeting by project manager Erik Van Der Wel, who wanted feedback.

When it was revealed that Te Awamutu’s Mahoe Street could lose up to half of its parking, the feedback was negative.

“I can’t see how cyclists can justify losing about 10 carparks, especially in that busy section of town,” said board member Richard Hurrell.

The carparks would be replaced by separated cycleways or shared paths. Van Der Wel said it was “not taking out all of the parking – it would probably be close to half though.”

Almost $11 million was allocated for urban mobility in the council’s 2021 to 2031 Long Term Plan. As a result, cycleways and shared paths have been proposed for much of Te Awamutu.

The council has already found resistance to urban mobility schemes in its Streets for People project in Cambridge.

Van Der Wel said council hopes to increase the adoption of cycling through infrastructure that “makes it enjoyable and safer to bike.”

Cyclists account for one to two per cent of the traffic in Te Awamutu. Under plans being looked at as part of the programme Hazelmere Street; Rolleston and Whitmore Street in Kihikihi could also lose parking.

Community board members Ange Holt and Kane Titchener shared Hurrell’s concern over the “disruption” that removing carparks, particularly on Mahoe Street, could cause.

Van Der Wel urged the board to not close out options early, without seeing all the details.

He asked whether members would prefer to either extend the Kihikihi path to George Street and Te Awamutu Intermediate School, or extend the Kihikihi path to Kihikihi Primary School and the Kihikihi Domain.

They voted on the latter option, citing that it would be simpler and quicker to implement.

“At the end of the day council has to look at the big picture for the whole town, for the whole transport scene,” said Van Der Wel.

“The key really for the moment is to look at where is the best place to start.”

Watch the meeting:

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