Community innovations aim for safer streets

Published on 18 June 2021

Gillies St Kawakawa Dec 2019.jpg

Improvements to road layouts in Kawakawa, Moerewa and Kaikohe will be installed this month to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Kaikohe, Kawakawa, and Moerewa communities have identified streets that are unsafe for tamariki walking and cycling to schools and marae. In most instances, this is due to high traffic speeds.

The community-led safety projects are funded by the Waka Kotahi Innovating Streets for People pilot fund, which aims to create more people-friendly spaces in New Zealand towns and cities.

The projects will use road art, planters, speed bumps, road marking and pedestrian crossings to reduce the speed of traffic and encourage walking and cycling.

Local design agency, ĀKAU, is leading the projects in both Kaikohe and Moerewa. In Moerewa, ĀKAU involved tamariki from Moerewa School in the design process and local artist, Lorraine King, developed their ideas into graphics that will help slow traffic on Ōtiria Road. Students will also be painting planter boxes that will appear outside of Moerewa School and Ōtiria Marae. Contractors will begin installing the Innovating Streets for People project outside Moerewa School and Ōtiria Marae on Ōtiria Road later this month and should complete the project by July.

In Kaikohe, road art has already been designed by ĀKAU with Kaikohe tamariki. This will connect to a series of vertical markers that have started to be erected throughout the town. The aim will be to slow traffic and provide safer walking routes along Mangakahia and Recreation roads.

Meanwhile, Kawakawa will use road art, road markings and planter boxes to slow the flow of traffic travelling through the centre of town with designs by Lorraine King and Ngāti Hine. Work is due to begin in June.

Mayor John Carter commends the communities for working together to make streets safer. “It is inspiring to see passionate communities taking up the opportunity to offer creative and innovative solutions to make streets safer for kids walking and cycling to school, and for all pedestrians.

“Once in place, we hope Kaikohe, Kawakawa, and Moerewa residents will tell us if the temporary measures make them feel safer as pedestrians and cyclists. We also want to know what other improvements can be made.”

Communities will be invited to provide feedback on the road improvements at the Council’s Have your say webpage when work is nearing completion. The changes will be monitored for three months and can be changed or rearranged according to the feedback. Successful elements will stay in place for up to 12 months. If the projects prove successful, they may be applied permanently.