New Zealand’s Associate Minister of Transport, Julie Anne Genter, recently announced that the government will provide extra funding to help councils expand footpaths and roll out temporary cycleways to help people keep two meters of physical distance apart after the Alert Level 4 lock down is no longer in place.
“When people begin to return to city centers following the lock down, we want them to have enough space to maintain physical distance,” said Genter. “Some of our footpaths in busy areas are quite narrow. Temporary footpath extensions mean people can give each other a bit more space without stepping out onto the road.”
Funding will come from the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Innovating Streets for People pilot fund. The program helps plan, design, and develop towns and cities by providing a toolkit of support options targeted at retrofitting streets to reduce vehicle speeds and create more space for people. A fund of at least NZ $7 million is available for council projects. The program uses ‘tactical urbanism’ techniques such as pilots and pop-ups that make it safer and easier for people walking and cycling in the city.
“It’s now up to councils to put forward projects if they want to take advantage of this initiative. The NZ Transport Agency will help councils implement street changes that meet the Innovating Streets pilot fund criteria safely and with minimal disruption. While planning can start during lock down the rollout of temporary changes will not happen while we remain at Alert Level 4. Councils can apply now for funding from the NZ Transport Agency, who will cover 90 percent of the cost of rolling out temporary changes to the streetscape,” Genter said.