Two Rotorua cycleways have got the ministerial treatment with Transport Minister Simon Bridges in town to open one and "turn the sod" on another.
Mr Bridges visited Mokoia Intermediate School today to officially open the 1.6km Morey St/Brent Rd section of Rotorua's CyWay which will connect the east side of the network to Te Ngae Rd and the Whakarewarewa Forest.
He was welcomed by the school's kapa haka group along with Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick, district councillors, New Zealand Transport Agency officials and local cycling representatives.
His second duty was to "turn the sod" at the start of the next section of the CyWay - the Hospital Hill Cycleway Project - at the corner of Arawa and Ranolf Sts, that will offer a bike and pedestrian-friendly connection between the city, Lakefront and Rotorua's iconic Kuirau Park and Government Gardens.
"These paths provide a safe, shared route for cycles, scooters and walkers who want to get to their school, work and home, or make their way to the beautiful Rotorua lakefront," Mr Bridges said.
"When it is finished next year the entire 23.7km of Rotorua's $5.52 million CyWay will make cycling an even more attractive option for transport in the city.
"It will also have benefits for tourism and economic development by furthering Rotorua's reputation as a cycling destination and recreation-friendly city."
The CyWay is jointly funded by the Government's Urban Cycleways Fund, the National Land Transport Fund, and Rotorua Lakes Council.
Mrs Chadwick said it would make cycling safer for children on their way to and from school as well as providing commuting options for cyclists.
"This will complete our inner city cycle loop from Ngongotaha into town," she said commenting on the new project.
It also meant 14,000 schoolchildren in Rotorua would be within 500m of a cycle way in the city, she said.
Owhata Primary School principal Bob Stiles said having facilities that connected the neighbourhood to the school was a great step to seeing more children and their whanau on bikes.
"Having more students bike to school is not only great for their health and self-confidence, it also makes the school entrance a lot less busy during pick-up and drop-off times," he said.
To encourage more students to giving bike riding a go, both Owhata and Mokoia are now part of the Bikes in Schools programme.
The CyWay programme has grown from 10 projects to 11 with council staff investigating options for a Western Heights link to connect the residential areas there to the three main schools in the area.