People Powered Streets in Kelston

Publish Date : 16 Apr 2024
Kelston School Mascots
Trial Changes In Place

Auckland Transport (AT) is working with communities to design street changes that will inform future permanent changes to their streets.

‘Streets for People’ is a worldwide concept that involves analysing the purpose of a street, deciding who its primary users are and redesigning that street in partnership with those users.

Auckland is one of 13 participating councils across NZ receiving funding from Waka Kotahi through a $30 million grant from the National Land Transport Plan.

There are several reasons why people want to reclaim their streets; environmental, health and safety being the main ones.

“We want to involve the community in designing on and off-street interventions, that will result in more people choosing safer, low-carbon and active trips,” says Adrian Lord, Auckland Transport’s Head of Active Modes.

Rapidly growing Kelston, home to six schools and serving more than 2,300 students, was identified as an ideal candidate to trial the ‘Streets for People’ approach, after numerous incidents of “near misses” on the surrounding streets were reported from within the community and fewer people wanting to walk or cycle to school, transport hubs and other local amenities as a result.

Over the past few months, the project team has worked alongside teachers, parents, and students from Kelston's schools to find out how they thought changes could improve the streets around them.

During the summer holidays, temporary changes to the street along St Leonards Road and outside Kelston Girls’ College were made.

Planter boxes, concrete blocks, and flexi-posts have been installed to encourage motorists to drive at slower speeds while passing through the area. The installations act as buildouts that widen the footpath so it can be safely shared by people walking and cycling, providing better sightlines for both students and motorists.

Temporary pedestrian islands, where people can safely wait their turn when crossing the road, are also being trialled and wheel stops have been installed in front of the St Leonards shops to prevent parked cars from encroaching on to the narrow footpath.

“At the beginning of last year, I was getting a phone call every week from a driver who had almost hit a child from my school.  Since the temporary changes have been in place, I’m happy to report I’ve not had a single call, said Bert Iosia, Principal, Kelston Intermediate.

“While traffic is slower, and that can mean a delay for drivers, school staff and many parents are happy to trade a couple of extra minutes travelling for improved safety for children walking and cycling to school,” he adds.

“It has made our school crossing much easier to manage, and cars turning out of Barbary Road into St Leonards Road are noticeably slower than before the trial was installed,” says Ivanka Soljan, Acting Principal, St Leonards Road Primary School.

Students from the intermediate and primary schools have been taking part in a five-week challenge to walk and cycle to school. The challenge finished last week, and data collected will be reviewed for impact on behaviour change.

A pop-up pump track at Archibald Park will serve as a space for the community to have fun while learning and exploring cycling skills.

Child on bike at bike park.

“Trialling these changes allows the whole community to experience them and have their say. This allows our project team to better understand the wants and needs of the local community before making any permanent changes,” says Adrian Lord.

The survey was open for community feedback until the 14th of April 2024. The outcome of the trial will be announced late June or early July after observation data and community feedback is reviewed. The trial will help inform possible permanent changes to the street.

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