Making walkways safe for everyone

Woman seeks answers on works that were were meant to start over summer.

Woman seeks answers on works that were were meant to start over summer.

SAFETY ADVOCATE: Gisborne woman Kate Nelson has raised safety issues around existing footpaths and the new cycleways and walkways around the city. Ms Nelson met with Mayor Meng Foon last week on the Stafford Street footpath, who indicated bollards could be put up to provide footpath users with a barrier between them and the steep drop to the river below. Picture by Paul Rickard

GISBORNE woman Kate Nelson has watched progress on the cycleways and walkways around Gisborne with great interest. She is a staunch advocate for safety and things getting done when people say they will do them.

Ms Nelson uses a motorised scooter and is concerned about areas of safety she feels have been overlooked and remain unfinished around the city.

In particular is the next portion of the Taruheru River cycleway and walkway between Bright Street and Grey Street.

Ms Nelson approached Gisborne District Council (GDC) chief executive Judy Campbell last year, who said she had been assured it would begin over summer.

With autumn now here and no work done, GDC environment and regulatory group manager Kevin Strongman said they wanted to understand the whole cycleway and walkway route first before progressing to the next stage.

To do this, GDC has hired a consultant to investigate safe commuter route options. A recommendation from this investigation would then be put forward to the council in April before a start date for the next phase would begin.

Ms Nelson brought other safety issues to the attention of GDC.

These included raised portions of the Oneroa walkway, which runs along the town beaches, that have no edging on them.

Ms Nelson said this was a risk to all users of prams, cyclists, elderly walkers, toddlers, those on scooters or wheelchair users.

Mr Strongman said GDC had a safety engineer looking into a risk assessment of the Oneroa cycleway. It would be finalised late this month before considering whether further improvements were needed.

“We’re also completing design work on a pathway connection between Oneroa and Alfred Cox cycleway, which will be completed between May and July this year.”

False sense of security

The Stafford Street footpath would also benefit from some barriers, Ms Nelson said. The footpath runs between Whitaker Street and Russell Street beside a steep drop to the river. She said having a footpath there gives users a false sense of security.

“If there’s a path, make it safe,” she said.

Ms Nelson does not use either walkway as she is “petrified” about slipping off.

Mayor Meng Foon met with Ms Nelson last week. He indicated the footpath could have some barriers put up, perhaps bollards like the ones at the beach.

CCS Disability Action home-based support services team leader Sharon Reid said she had a concern with the log pathways down to the sand, off the Oneroa Walkway.

“The sand shifts under the logs, and between the logs, which makes it quite hazardous for anybody, let alone someone who is disabled.”

Ms Reid and Ms Nelson are also concerned about the steepness of some of the off ramps between footpaths around the wider parts of Gisborne.

“So the preference for motorised scooters is to use the cycle lanes or be on the road, which is also quite dangerous.”

For example, two of the slopes off Reads Quay to the river walkway were at too steep an angle for most motorised scooters to use.

Ms Reid said that CCS understood Gisborne District Council was looking at embedding the disability strategy into all district council plans, rather than having a separate strategy.

“CCS Disability Action has a vision that every disabled person will be included in the life of their family and community.”

GISBORNE woman Kate Nelson has watched progress on the cycleways and walkways around Gisborne with great interest. She is a staunch advocate for safety and things getting done when people say they will do them.

Ms Nelson uses a motorised scooter and is concerned about areas of safety she feels have been overlooked and remain unfinished around the city.

In particular is the next portion of the Taruheru River cycleway and walkway between Bright Street and Grey Street.

Ms Nelson approached Gisborne District Council (GDC) chief executive Judy Campbell last year, who said she had been assured it would begin over summer.

With autumn now here and no work done, GDC environment and regulatory group manager Kevin Strongman said they wanted to understand the whole cycleway and walkway route first before progressing to the next stage.

To do this, GDC has hired a consultant to investigate safe commuter route options. A recommendation from this investigation would then be put forward to the council in April before a start date for the next phase would begin.

Ms Nelson brought other safety issues to the attention of GDC.

These included raised portions of the Oneroa walkway, which runs along the town beaches, that have no edging on them.

Ms Nelson said this was a risk to all users of prams, cyclists, elderly walkers, toddlers, those on scooters or wheelchair users.

Mr Strongman said GDC had a safety engineer looking into a risk assessment of the Oneroa cycleway. It would be finalised late this month before considering whether further improvements were needed.

“We’re also completing design work on a pathway connection between Oneroa and Alfred Cox cycleway, which will be completed between May and July this year.”

False sense of security

The Stafford Street footpath would also benefit from some barriers, Ms Nelson said. The footpath runs between Whitaker Street and Russell Street beside a steep drop to the river. She said having a footpath there gives users a false sense of security.

“If there’s a path, make it safe,” she said.

Ms Nelson does not use either walkway as she is “petrified” about slipping off.

Mayor Meng Foon met with Ms Nelson last week. He indicated the footpath could have some barriers put up, perhaps bollards like the ones at the beach.

CCS Disability Action home-based support services team leader Sharon Reid said she had a concern with the log pathways down to the sand, off the Oneroa Walkway.

“The sand shifts under the logs, and between the logs, which makes it quite hazardous for anybody, let alone someone who is disabled.”

Ms Reid and Ms Nelson are also concerned about the steepness of some of the off ramps between footpaths around the wider parts of Gisborne.

“So the preference for motorised scooters is to use the cycle lanes or be on the road, which is also quite dangerous.”

For example, two of the slopes off Reads Quay to the river walkway were at too steep an angle for most motorised scooters to use.

Ms Reid said that CCS understood Gisborne District Council was looking at embedding the disability strategy into all district council plans, rather than having a separate strategy.

“CCS Disability Action has a vision that every disabled person will be included in the life of their family and community.”

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