Push for off-road cycling park

Push for off-road cycling park

Bike Manawatu is proposing to help pay for an off-road cycling park in Palmerston North.

It would include a 1.2km criterium circuit and a BMX track, catering for a variety of cyclists and skaters.

Locations suggested are the area between Paneiri Park and Waitoetoe Park, the Linklater Reserve, or land on the river side of the banks at Waterloo Park.

Bike Manawatu will present plans to the city council’s community wellbeing committee on Monday.

Council property manager John Brenkley estimated the cost could add up to about $320,000.

Bike Manawatu leader Steve Stannard has seen a similar set-up in Canberra, which was also used by roller-skaters, in-line skaters, skateboarders and roller-skiers.

It was used for daily recreational enjoyment and training, and hosted local and national championships.

The money Bike Manawatu has for the project was earlier earmarked for use setting up an indoor velodrome at Massey University.

That project lapsed when the Waikato-Bay of Plenty beat Manawatu in the bid to host the New Zealand Cycling Centre of Excellence.

Bike Manawatu said an off-road criterium track would overcome the difficulty of arranging road closures for the traditional street sprints, and would provide a multi-purpose track for other users.

It said the development would be a good fit with the council’s goal to make the city the best place to ride a bike in New Zealand.

The first-choice location would be at the end of Maxwells Line, making use of land recently purchased between Waitoetoe Park and the Manawatu River.

It would fit with council plans to develop a car park in that area to enhance access to the river, and encourage greater use of the adjoining riverside walking and cycling track.

The Linklater Reserve was another option, but it was in early stages of development, without a network of access roads and tracks.

The third possibility was over the stopbank from Waterloo Park, which linked to already well-developed recreation facilities, with stopbanks providing a natural viewing spot for spectators, but little parking space.

Brenkley recommended further work be done so the proposals could be considered during next year’s Long Term Plan review.

He said the development would provide a hub for cycling and skating activities.

A BMX track had been part of the velodrome proposal, and the council periodically received requests to provide one.

“Palmerston North is probably the only city of its size in New Zealand without a BMX track.”

Brenkley said many people were also interested in a “pump” track for bikes used without pedalling around a circuit of rolling mounds and banked corners. He suggested it be included.

The idea of a junior cycle safety park will also be discussed at the committee meeting, which will receive a recommendation that it should be set up at the Victoria Esplanade.

– Manawatu Standard

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