A $13.95 million government investment will see around 40 projects that make streets more people-friendly being delivered across the country before June 2021.
In the first of two rounds of funding, from the Innovating Streets for People pilot fund, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has confirmed it will support these projects to be developed, installed and adapted in a range of towns and cities. Each project will be designed in partnership with local communities to make streets safer with more space for people, and will test layouts, materials and designs to inform permanent upgrades.
The projects include neighbourhood-wide interventions designed to reduce traffic and create more appealing environments for adults and children to walk, cycle and play; intersection repairs that improve safety outcomes and make it easier for people to cross, and improvements to make business districts more vibrant.
Innovating Streets is a nationwide programme designed to support councils and communities to build experience and knowledge in co-design processes to deliver urban street upgrades faster and with more community insight built in.
Kathryn King, Waka Kotahi’s Portfolio Manager Developing Regions says: “The programme aims to use the pilot fund to grow our national capability in the ‘tactical urbanism’ approach so we can scale up the pace of change as we transition to safer, cleaner, healthier and more equitable towns and cities. Pilots, pop-ups and interim treatments help us try out street changes and gain valuable on-the-ground feedback from communities.
“Research about the lockdown experience has shown that people enjoyed the sense of community that streets not completely dominated by traffic gave them – people went out walking or on their bikes more, they felt connected to their community and stayed local. Interim street changes are designed to help people think of their streets differently.
Waka Kotahi is currently working through funding agreements with councils for the projects. A list of confirmed projects will be added here once councils have announced to their communities.
The pilot fund has a 90% Funding Assistance Rate (FAR) which is the proportion of the approved costs that will be paid from the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF), with councils making up the other 10%. The second round of funding for councils is now open for applications, and closes on 3 July.
The Innovating Streets fund also supported COVID-19 response applications for physical distancing emergency works, with over $1 million approved for such projects.
Some of the projects to be funded in Round 1:
Innovating Streets will support parts of the long-awaited Access for Everyone pilot on Auckland’s Queen Street, which will make downtown Auckland a more welcoming and attractive place for the thousands of people who live, work and shop there every day. It will also help people travel more quickly through the city by bus, on foot and by bike.
The first stage of the Heretaunga Street East (200 block) project, referred to as Eastside Eat Street, gets underway on 29 June.
Developed through public consultation last year, it will provide a stunning vibrant space for everyone to enjoy which includes shaded dining areas on widened footpaths, with outdoor furniture and planter boxes complementing the existing trees and gardens. As well as seating linked to eateries, there will be public tables for anyone to use.
Innovating Streets will support Hastings District Council for Eastside Eat Street Stage Two. While the project will be co-designed with business owners, the concept aims to create a pedestrian-friendly experience, with overhead festoon lights and ability to close the street after hours for events.
Four proposed Christchurch projects aimed at making it easier and safer for people to move around and access community spaces will be trialled.
Through their Town Centre Heart programme, the Whakatane community want to deliver on long-held community aspirations of connection and vibrancy. Working with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, the Whakatane District Council plan to co-design a temporary traffic-free link to the river with their community and town centre businesses. A tactical urbanism approach will allow these changes and other iwi/community-led ideas to be tested and refined with ongoing conversations around changing the design and use of the space.
The Cambridge community, with support from Waipā District Council, wants to create safer routes to schools so more families can walk, bike and scoot to school. They plan to co-design treatments at crossing points and intersections that were identified by parents and children in 2018 as the highest priority areas. Using temporary treatments, they can quickly and cost-effectively test solutions and get more in-depth feedback and insight to improve the designs. This will give Council the confidence to invest in permanent safety treatments – and create a safer, healthier and more vibrant environment.