Engagement the “point of the Streets for People project”

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From pink and blue polka dots and orange hit sticks to a one-way street and pop-up cycleway, the Streets for People project is turning heads.

It’s a three-month trial aimed at making streets in Cambridge safer and easier for children to walk, bike and scooter to school by testing a range of temporary changes on a network of streets to see which are effective and which aren’t in achieving this goal.

In the few weeks since installation began, it has been a hot topic in the community with hundreds of residents sharing their thoughts on the 25 temporary changes through social media, face-to-face and via email.

In fact, of any Council project, it has garnered some of the highest levels of engagement with the community – something Waipā District Council service delivery group manager Dawn Inglis is proud of.

“That is the point of this project, to get feedback from our community, listen, tweak our designs to make them more effective or remove them altogether if they aren’t working.

“We always knew this project would be a challenge but it’s an amazing opportunity for us to work closely with the community in a way like never before and hopefully come away with something that works for everyone.”

Inglis said while there had been many negative comments circulating on social media about the temporary changes, there had also been a significant amount of positive and constructive feedback including some images shared to Facebook of children enjoying the new cycleway.

“We realise not all of the changes will work as expected but that is the point of trialling them.”

Inglis said a concern raised by many was around the pink and blue dots becoming a distraction for drivers.

“The dots are meant to change the road environment enough to appeal to drivers’ natural instincts to slow down and we’ve seen evidence they are working quite well and slowing traffic.”

Another concern raised was about the effect of the changes on emergency services.

Inglis said as a key stakeholder, Council had worked closely with fire and ambulance services to ensure the temporary measures would not prevent them from carrying out their duties.

“Soon we will be starting an official consultation with residents so that we can all take part in a conversation about what is and what isn’t working.

“I would strongly encourage all residents to take part and let us know what they think – whether you love it, think things need to change or hate it, all feedback is good feedback.”

Consultation is open from 9am on April 14. A link will be available at www.streetsforpeople.nz and hardcopy surveys will be available at the front counter in Council’s Cambridge office, 23 Wilson Street.

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