Council walks the walk on safer streets initiative

The Streets for people initiative will see temporary road-safety changes put in place across Cambridge, with the goal being to “see what works and what doesn’t.”

Cambridge will become “more vibrant, attractive and safe for children to walk, bike and scooter to school” under a Streets for People initiative unveiled this week.

The initiative comes after more than 250 residents and business owners identified issues on Cambridge streets they believed compromised safety.

The plan, which includes trialling new pedestrian crossings, planter boxes, painted dots on the road and a pop-up dual cycleway, is designed to address issues by making temporary changes to several streets and testing their effectiveness.

Community spokesperson and member of the Streets for People project team Sarah Ulmer said it was an exciting project grounded in feedback from the community.

“The whole idea of the Streets for People project is to use this feedback to trial some rapid, low cost and temporary changes to certain streets so we can see what works and what doesn’t in making our streets safer and easier for kids – and all of us – to use.

“The streets we have selected link four Cambridge schools and will allow us to create a route for kids to use to get safely to school, and home again, each day.”

Ulmer said the project had come about as a result of the 2017 Safe Ways to School survey carried out by Cambridge-based business CCASM.

“In this survey, 73 per cent of parents who participated said they wanted their children to be able to ride, walk or scoot to school if their routes were safe which shows how important it is we make some changes to our streets.”

Mum of two Kelly Collins said it was important for children to be able to use active modes of transport to get to school.

“When we get out of cars and onto bikes and scooters and our feet, we connect, not just with the places we are going to, but to the places and people in between.

Waipā District Council service delivery group manager Dawn Inglis said the project had been a collaborative effort between Council and the Cambridge community.

She said once it was in place, changes and improvements could being made “along the way”.

The initiative will be launched in February and run to June 2021.

Then, successful changes would be left in place and unsuccessful ones removed.

“Once the changes have been installed, we will have a three-week settling in period to give people the opportunity to test it out and then we’ll be seeking feedback for three months until June 2021,” Dawn Inglis said.

The Streets for People project is being funded by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

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