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Māngere is a large suburb located near Auckland Airport. The area is multicultural with large Pasifika, Asian, Māori, and European communities living in the suburb.

Like most Auckland suburbs, Māngere has historically seen more road capacity developed to meet the demands of increasing motor vehicle traffic and active travel infrastructure has been of relatively lower priority. The suburb is dissected by two motorways (SH20 and SH20A) as well as several busy arterial roads.

Completed in 2017, ‘Te Ara Mua – Future Streets(external link)’ was a flagship project in Central Māngere (see project area map below) that involved changing the features of Māngere streets in order to:

  • Increase opportunities for walking, cycling and other forms of physical activity.
  • Improve road user behaviour and safety.
  • Quantify the economic, health and social benefits of safe roads and streets.

A key feature of the design process was community participation to understand local concerns and aspirations. The Local Board and a community reference group had a leadership role in the community engagement process and many meetings, conversations and events with various groups were held. A stall set up in the local shopping mall, with maps and opportunities for people to plot their normal trips and the issues experienced on them, was particularly successful. All together 43 formal community engagement sessions were carried out, in addition to numerous informal meetings of various kinds. A rich explanation of how travelling around Māngere was experienced by local people was achieved. The specific locations of problem areas were identified, as were key issues that had high levels of agreement.

These were:

  • Personal safety – especially on off-road pathways with poor lighting, youth drinking and crime.
  • Speeding traffic.
  • Lack of crossings - especially on busier arterial roads.
  • Roads are dangerous for cycling.
  • Confusion about road user priorities, especially around the shopping mall.
  • Dogs in the area posing a threat to pedestrians and cyclists.

All of the issues and opportunities were then combined with other city-wide aspirations (such as healthy communities, safer streets and a better cycle network) and background theory (self-explaining roads), to create design objectives for the street interventions.

A design committee, including representatives from the research team, Auckland Transport and other consultants, debated and developed the design concepts, in conjunction with the community reference group over a total of seven participatory planning sessions (three with the community reference group and four with the design committee). In between these meetings, design work was carried out by sub-groups taking direction from the design committee.

The introduction of high-quality cycling infrastructure was one aspect of the design approach that was not overtly raised by the community through the engagement process, although concerns about cycling safety on the road were raised. Improving cycling facilities was introduced by the design team, in response to emerging leading practices, a national desire to see better quality cycling routes, the development in cycling infrastructure in other parts of the city and a generally future-focussed approach. There were also some local champions for better cycling infrastructure.

The works included:

  • A fitness loop including a shared path that runs from Waddon Place in the Māngere Town Centre to Windrush Close and then through parks and local roads to Mascot Avenue, then back to the town centre along Mascot Avenue. The loop includes directional, information signage, and design elements produced via engagement with mana whenua(external link).
  • Improved pedestrian facilities including defined walking areas, speed tables at crossing points to calm traffic and reduce speeds across Māngere Central.
  • Signs identifying local features including volcanic cones on one pedestrian crossing in the carpark leading to the town centre.
  • Raised pedestrian crossings to calm traffic and reduce speeds particularly near Nga Iwi School and the town centre.
  • Speed tables, chicanes and kerb extensions in Friesian Drive and Imrie Road to calm traffic and reduce speeds to make it safer and easier for pedestrians to cross.
  • Coloured slightly raised intersections on Fresian Drive to slow traffic and break up forward sight lines.
  • A new signalised pedestrian crossing in Massey Road, plus two enhanced pedestrian crossing points to make it easier for people to cross Massey Road.
  • Improvements to the bus terminal in Bader Drive adjacent to the town centre.
  • Separated cycle lanes in Bader Drive, Friesan Drive, Thomas Road and Orly Avenue.
  • Improved street lighting.
  • Two pou carved by local iwi adjacent to the town centre in Mascot Avenue and Orly Avenue.

Reference: Te Ara Mua - Future Streets suburban street retrofit(external link)

Project owner: Auckland Transport

  • Key challenges and issues

    There were a number of challenges that were overcome in the design phase of Te Ara Mua, and then enablers that eventually allowed the project to proceed, including:

    • Lack of initial buy-in to the project.
    • Unclear project governance, management and decision-making procedures, made more difficult than usual by the unique partnership arrangement between the research team and Auckland Transport.
    • Regulatory barriers and difficulty in delivering trials within standard planning procedures.
    • Inertia for current standards and processes is enormous and change is hard.
    • Different cultures and expectations between the research and Auckland Transport personnel, due to different backgrounds and perspectives.
    • Funding uncertainties, due to only partial funding for the project being confirmed at the outset.
    • Unrealistic timelines partly due to funding needing to be confirmed and partly due to the relatively complex nature of the project.
    • People (as well as Transport and Health Policies) don’t generally appreciate the link between streets and health.
    • Community acceptance of the cycle infrastructure was mixed.
    • The Mangere Central cycling infrastructure is not well connected to a wider cycle network that would enable longer trips.

    Reference: Te Ara Mua Future Streets: The process of implementation and short term lessons(external link)

     

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  • Successes and learnings

    Despite its challenges, Te Ara Mua was overall regarded as a success. The key components that made it successful include:

    • The cross-disciplinary research team, which was critical to developing strong relationships with community groups and transport planners and funders, while also enabling the team to develop an integrated, mixed methods plan for assessing a broader range of outcomes than has been possible in similar studies to date.
    • The area-level intervention design instead of isolated pieces of infrastructure spread thinly over larger areas.
    • Prominent local champions such as Triple Teez, led by Teau Aiturau and others who are using the new infrastructure to promote cycling.

    Key learnings include the need to ensure:

    • A mechanism and funding stream to support non-Business-as-Usual community trials and managing risk.
    • Memorandums of Understanding are prepared that set out expectations, timelines, roles and responsibilities and budget.
    • Time is spent up front to understand each other’s constraints and ways of working.
    • That staff turnover does not frustrate establishing relationships of trust.
    • Better understand local cycling culture in both a Pasifika and low socio-economic context and the mix of infrastructure and other activities that will develop cycling.
    • There are likely to be operational issues after the implementation of new and different infrastructure in a community including parking in cycle lanes and non-compliance of signage particularly around turn restrictions.  Design tweaks such as additional markings and signage may be needed after the initial period of adjustment to address these.

    Hamish Mackie and Adrian Field talks about colour surfacing on the Te Aranga design community trail.

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