August 8, 2023

Streets are for People: Councils empowered to reshape our streets

The best test of any neighbourhood is whether its makeup reflects the richness of culture of the wider society. Streets should be inviting for everybody to spend time, play and make journeys on foot, cycle or by public transport.

Waka Kotahi recently announced regulatory changes which will make it easier for Councils across the motu to do just this; work alongside community to modify streets to provide more space for people to move around in ways which make sense to them.

Healthy Families Waitākere is delighted to see two of its recommendations made during the consultation process have been implemented in the regulatory changes, including enabling:

  1. Piloting/trialling street changes included to inform permanent changes
    Street Pilots enable councils to pilot, or make short-term changes to streets, to test different street layouts and features. This allows communities to experience these changes in real time and provide feedback.
    Pilots allow communities to be more involved in the process of changing their streets and for continual improvement of the design while it’s in place. How the design works in practice and community feedback can then inform future permanent street changes.
  1. Support community streets
    Community Streets, also known as Play Streets, will make it easier for local communities to work with councils to temporarily restrict traffic on quiet local streets so tamariki can play and communities can connect.

These recommendations were based on findings and insights gathered by Healthy Families Waitākere during the Play Streets innovation.

Councils are now tasked with implementing these changes at a regional level. The workforce at Healthy Families Waitākere is looking forward to understanding how Auckland Council and Auckland Transport respond to these national regulatory changes.