2 Walk & Cycle Conference
By Jenny Lucas
The 2 Walk & Cycle Conference was held in Nelson at the end of October 2014 and as part of the conference various awards were presented.
The 2014 Golden Foot Awards, held in conjunction with the Cycle Friendly Awards, were presented on Wednesday, 29 October. The Golden Foot Awards are organized and funded through Living Street Aotearoa (LSA). This is the 4th Awards Ceremony acknowledging and celebrating notable New Zealand achievements promoting walking and walking-friendly communities. LSA acknowledges the significant support for the Joint Walking and Cycling Awards provided by the New Zealand Transport Agency. The judges were impressed with the quality and breath of nominated projects and had a hard task deciding the three finalists in each category.
The finalists for the Golden Foot Best Walking Facility were:
Auckland Council for the Auckland City Centre Shared Spaces Programme. Auckland’s public space had become dominated by the perceived needs of traffic and its attendant signs, road markings and traffic signals. What should be enjoyable
spaces between buildings had, in many places, become hostile infrastructure designed principally for the moving and storing of motor vehicles. Shared space reconcile the requirements for lively space, safety and comfort for pedestrians and
cyclists with the access needs of motor vehicles. Plans for a more attractive, walkable and vibrant city centre, with better connections to the Waterfront and a geographical heart started in 2004 with a redesigned Aotea Square. Since July 2011 Auckland Council has delivered 5 more shared spaces in Auckland. These changes to the street environment have empowered pedestrians and have redressed the imbalance between human and car. Drivers are encouraged to reduce speed and public spaces are created where people can move safely and freely and spend time as they wish. This contrasts with design philosophy that seeks to improve safety through the elimination of risk, too often leading to sterile and unstimulating spaces – precisely the type of environment that is not appropriate in a CBD!
Porirua City Council for Te Ara Piko Pathway (The Meandering Pathway). Te Ara Piko Pathway is a partnership initiative between the Porirua Council and the Rotary Club of Plimmerton. The project is a wheelchair-friendly pathway around the Pauatahanui Inlet. This contains the only large coastal estuary wetlands left in the lower North Island, which are recognised by the Department of Conservation as being of national significance.The project was started in 2005 and aims to provide a safe recreation and commuter route around the inlet. It also ensures improved amenities in the local environs by enhancing the ecological values of the area.The first stage from Motukaraka Point through Pauatahanui Village and connecting to Whitby has been completed providing access around the inlet where previously there was none or limited provision of pedestrian facilities.
The Te Ara Piko pathway has inspired the Pauatahanui Village to identify their Plan Vision as: “The provision of safe and pleasant walkways and cycle ways to enable children to have more independence of movement and residents and visitors to be less reliant on motor vehicles to access the village”
New Plymouth District Council for Lets Go Streets Project- WINNER
The Let's Go Streets Project got residents throughout New Plymouth District to redesign their street to be people-friendly. To set people off on the right “foot” the Let’s Go team gave out a ‘starter pack’ which had ways that encouraged people to venture back out into their street, get to know their neighbours and dream a little. Sixteen fully completed applications were received. Highlighted were the special character of street communities, what people loved and what they didn’t love about walking around their streets, what was cool about their streets, the history of their areas, the people, the trees etc. People also had to identify what was not so good about their street- eg traffic and children’s safety. Residents were asked to describe in words or pictures what they would like to have done. This generated an enormous array of creative fun ideas from all ages including gardens, giant slip ‘n slides, petting zoos, art, playgrounds, seating. Residents were also encouraged to say what they could contribute to the Let’s Go project team. Offers of builders, landscapers, artists, cajolers and bakers came forward, making it clear that people were already pulling together- whether or not their application was successful!
Two street project applications were selected for the redesign and build. Davies Lane and Pendarves St. “Our street has been transformed from a sterile inner city ‘car park’ to a family friendly environment where school activities such as fitness events take place. The residents are very happy with the outcome” said one Pendarves Street resident.