Notes from the Public Footpath Meetings 25 Aug 2020

TDC held two public meetings on 25 August 2020 to present the initial concept for the proposed footpath from Upper Moutere Village to the Community Centre.

TDC's road engineer Graham Rimmer and Transportation Manager Jamie McPherson presented proposal drawings and plans.

Both meetings were well-attended and a lot of overall positive feedback was provided. Our ward councillors were all in attendance, as were the principal of Upper Moutere School and representatives from other local community groups.

Click below for a collection of notes from the meetings, in case you were not able to attend.

Speed Limits And General Road Safety

General speed limits and problems with speeding on the Moutere Highway will be investigated by TDC in addition to and separate from the proposed pathway. Nationwide legislation changes by NZTA in this regard have only just been finalised, and there will be a consultation on a "Speed Management Plan" for the whole district.

Footpath Route Options

The currently proposed route, entirely along the west side of the highway, has been deemed the most feasible and safest, as it is the only route that avoids highway crossings. It is also the shortest route at just 1.3km and thus the most affordable to build.

Most of the pathway would be a standard gravel track of 2.2 - 2.5m width inside a 3m wide corridor. Where available width is an issue, this could be reduced to 1.5m path width.

See this article for more information.

Pathway Funding/Timeframe/Land Purchases

TDC has received $183,000 funding for this pathway project from NZTA. Various private parcels will be affected by the proposed route and TDC has yet to enter negotiations with landowners regarding land purchases where necessary.

This process can take several months, and where private land is required the outcome depends on the cooperation of the landowners.

If land availability can be resolved pathway construction could occur in February 2021.

Village Features/Protected Trees/Path Width

The preservation of landscaping features and protected trees along the route will be considered.

At the top of the village, where minimum allowable path width is considered as one option to minimise impact on existing fences and planting, this might result in a 1.6 - 1.8m wide concrete path with a kerb, directly adjacent to the road (bollards or safety fencing is likely not feasible in this case for several reasons).

In these narrow situations it will be important to emphasise the shared nature of the pathway: cyclists might have to slow or dismount to pass other users safely, and all users will have to use respect and consideration towards each other.

Where root systems of trees need to be protected, this can be achieved by use of a mat system underlay under the gravel track cover.

Future Improvements and Other Considerations

It was discussed that there is scope for general improvement and better management of pedestrian and cycle traffic inside the village, improvement of existing footpaths, and pedestrians crossings in the village. However, these are outside the scope of this footpath proposal and need to be addressed separately.

In a related matter, it was highlighted that most school bus stopping locations in the immediate area (for both local and high school buses) are currently less than ideal with regards to access and safety and have room for improvement.

Highway Route vs River Routes

MHRA has summarised the difficulties associated with the previously considered river routes and the reasoning for promoting the highway route.

See this article for details.