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Safer, Healthier School Journeys for Hastings Students

Mayfair School planter boxes

Changes made during the trial at Mayfair School

More Hastings students will soon be walking, cycling or scooting to school, with Hastings District Council securing funding to improve journeys to a number of primary and high schools.

Funding for the Heretaunga Arakura or Hastings Journeys to School programme, which is designed to encourage healthier and lower-emission transport options, was confirmed this week. The programme will see physical traffic calming near school zones, safe cycling classes to give children confidence on the road, and students actively involved in identifying safety issues on their journey to school.

It’s part of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Streets for People Programme 2021-24, which is designed to accelerate projects that make our streets safer, healthier and more people-friendly. The programme aims to help Aotearoa achieve its emissions reduction targets faster, while creating vibrant, people-friendly places for thriving communities.

It follows a trial funded by Waka Kotahi’s Innovating Streets fund and carried out by Council two years ago, at four schools: Irongate School, Hastings Central School, Mayfair School and Te Kura o Kimi Ora.

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst says the results from the trial showed that students want to get to school under their own steam, but many parents are concerned about their safety.

“We see that by giving children the confidence to get on their bike or scooter, the whole community opens up to them. They feel independent and connected to their community.

“Through Heretaunga Arakura we want to put children at the heart of urban street design to support a safer, greener, more equitable and liveable Hastings.

“Importantly, Heretaunga Arakura will help us reduce the emissions our vehicles produce while doing the school run – which will help address climate change and prevent our kids breathing dangerous fumes.”

Kathryn King, Manager Urban Mobility at Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, says she is very excited Hastings District Council is on board to participate in the Streets for People programme.

“Our new programme, Streets for People, builds on the solid learnings and experiences from the Innovating Streets programme, and it will help us move towards a healthier and safer future for us all, by putting people and place at the heart of our streets.

“Streets for People enables councils to partner with their communities more easily, to create more welcoming spaces for people quickly. Letting towns and cities across Aotearoa see the difference, and enjoy the advantages of low-cost improvements now, while working towards more permanent solutions.

“It’s becoming clear that our communities across Aotearoa New Zealand want safer and healthier streets that cater for everyone, and Streets for People is a step in the right direction to help achieve that.”

With funding now assured, the Heretaunga Arakura project team will be reaching out to schools soon to commence planning – working with those that have been identified to have the most need first.

Now that funding is assured, it is hoped some education programmes can be activated this year, with some street design work starting in the first quarter of next year.

The $30m Streets for People Programme 2021-24 aims to make it easier and faster to create safer, healthier, and more people-friendly streets in our towns and cities. The programme creates opportunities for councils to partner with communities to accelerate street change projects. This will help Aotearoa to achieve its emissions reduction goals faster, while creating vibrant, people-friendly places for thriving communities.

22 November 2022

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