3 May 2021
Today the Te Manawa ō Owhatiura trial begins on Owhatiura Drive, Iles Road, Larcy Road and Lynbert Road. The project aims to create child-friendly streets that allow all people to move safely around the neighbourhood on the way to school, work, or the Whakarewarewa Forest.For the first week, Police, Lynmore Primary School staff, local residents, parents, and Council staff are guiding locals through the changes to the streetscape, teaching and encouraging safe crossing behaviour by tamariki.
The trial project will be live for 6-12 months and uses low cost, adjustable elements to provide safer places to cross the road; improve visibility for pedestrians and drivers; reduce driver speed and traffic congestion; and create a safer and more vibrant space outside the school gate. The adjustable nature of the trial provides the opportunity to learn what works for the community, and evolve the project to suit.
The design elements are being introduced in two stages. Stage one includes placing the crossings and build outs. Stage two will follow shortly after, adding colour and vibrancy to the space.
90% of the project is funded by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency through the Innovating Streets for People fund, meaning locals are able to benefit from the trial with Rotorua Lakes Council only contributing 10%.
Co-acting Principal Michael Cunliffe encourages school whanau to share their thoughts on how the trial changes their experience of walking or biking through the area, once the settling-in period finishes at the end of the month.
“If parents can feel safer about their children walking, biking and scootering to school through the trial, we can have more kids getting that boost of independence that trickles into their learning. The chaos of pick-up and drop off times also has the potential to be turned into something more peaceful for residents, and beneficial for students and their parents.”
Residents, locals and school families are encouraged to ditch the car on their next trip through Larcy Road, Iles Road or Owhatiura and test out how the additional crossings, changes to parking space, increased visibility, and reduced congestion in front of the school changes their feeling of safety while moving around the neighbourhood.
The Te Manawa ō Owhatiura trial project is based on the community’s appetite for change to support active modes users.
Locals and school whanau were supportive for a trial, and participated in surveys, attended design workshops, and met with members of the working group to identify barriers for children being able to safely walking and biking around the area. Community ideas and feedback were used to create and tweak the trial design layout before it was introduced to the streets today.
For more information on the Te Manawa ō Owhatiura trial project, click here or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.