More people-friendly streets trialled with the community

In an innovative new programme, Auckland Transport (AT) is working with communities and other agencies, making real world changes to our streets while simultaneously gathering user feedback.

The programme, called Innovating Streets for People, means projects can be improved upon in response to feedback from the people who live, work and travel in the areas.

Rather than the more traditional method of gathering feedback to proposed plans, the project trials allow community members to interact with the changes in real time. The goal is to receive feedback from community members, while allowing for a smooth transition to safer, more comfortable spaces.

The trials use temporary measures to address safety outside schools, speed/traffic volumes through residential neighbourhoods; and aim to enhance areas with place-making and cycleways. Some of the projects include community play street events.

The projects are led by local boards, Kāinga Ora, Auckland Transport, Auckland Council, Tāmaki Regeneration and Panuku Development Auckland. Community members, schools and local businesses are invited to contribute ideas to create the places they want.

Projects have already come to life in Onehunga and Mt Albert’s Ōwairaka District School, with 36 more projects to come. Most of these will pop up across Auckland in April and May.

Auckland Transport’s Group Manager of Network Management, Randhir Karma, says the temporary installations are about testing things in the community to see how they actually work.

“We are consulting with the community via these trials - which are adaptable and encourage community engagement. The installations encourage people to walk and cycle more – as they make our streets safer.”

Mr Karma says AT is embracing a 'consultation by trial' approach for the Auckland Innovating Streets Programme.

“Through this programme, AT is trialling new ways of working with our communities. Fast changes in our streets have the potential to deliver significant safety and liveability benefits in a short timeframe.”

Kathryn King, Urban Mobility Manager for Waka Kotahi, says: “it’s exciting to see more of the Innovating Streets pilots being implemented and trying new ways of creating vibrant spaces for communities to enjoy. The aim of these pilots is to support communities to meaningfully participate in the designing of their streets, and help make them safer and more people-friendly places.

“By experiencing the changes in real life, rather than commenting on plans, communities are to provide richer feedback and supply broader perspectives. This approach encourages people of all ages to get involved and share their views.”

Panuku Development’s Chief Operating Officer Ian Wheeler says the exciting thing about Innovating Streets is that it allows the community to co-design future changes to their places, see how those changes would look and feel and whether or not they’re something that could benefit their neighbourhoods long-term.

“Rather than just testing designs on paper, communities can interact with proposed street changes in real life. This is an excellent opportunity to deliver true, collaborative urban regeneration in Tāmaki Makaurau.”

Joanna Brain, Tamaki Regeneration Company’s GM Regeneration and Placemaking, says making temporary changes to local streets allows people to experience the changes first-hand, and give feedback on what worked for them and what didn’t.

“It’s great to be able to get feedback through people’s real experiences of the street changes, then that feedback can be considered before any permanent changes are made.”

The programme is 90 per cent funded by Waka Kotahi. Find out more at Innovating streets for people.