The New Zealand Government is to provide extra funding to help councils expand footpaths and roll out temporary cycleways to help people keep two metres of physical distance after the Alert Level 4 lockdown.
“When people begin to return to city centres following the lockdown we want them to have enough space to maintain physical distance,” said associate minister of transport Julie Anne 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 Innovating Streets for People pilot fund, part of a wider programme that supports projects using ‘tactical urbanism’ techniques such as pilots and pop-up, interim treatments that make it safer and easier for people walking and cycling in the city.
“Footpath extensions would use basic materials like planter boxes and colourful paint to carve out a bit more space in the street for people walking, like we’ve seen on high street and federal street in Auckland,” said Genter.
“A number of cities around the world, including New York, Berlin and Vancouver, have rolled out temporary bike lanes to provide alternatives to public transport, which people may be less inclined to use in the short term. Councils are able to use highly-visible plastic posts, planter boxes and other materials to create temporary separated bike lanes where people feel safe.
“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 lockdown 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% of the cost of rolling out temporary changes to the streetscape.”