Projects to create a safer and more accessible main street in Waipawa as well as walking/cycling pathways for Otāne and Pōrangahau are on track to begin before the end of the year.
Last Friday, Central Hawke’s Bay District Council hosted an on-street preview of road safety improvements for Waipawa's main street, offering a chance to view drone footage and maps of changes to be tested later this year.
The event outside Waipawa Library was the latest in a series of community engagement initiatives held after Central Hawke’s Bay District Council was granted Waka Kotahi funding in September, 2022.
Town Activation Portfolio Lead for Central Hawke’s Bay District Council Deputy Mayor Kelly Annand says the project has been a long time coming, after years of community calls to make the main street safer.
“Even before Project Thrive in 2017, we were talking with the Waipawa community about what they wanted for the town centre. A safer, better connected main street has always been key to these discussions, as reflected in our Integrated Spatial Plan 2020-2050 and the 2022 Town Centre Plan.
“Last year we were lucky enough to be selected by Waka Kotahi for funding to test much-needed improvements along the main street. Since September, we have been working with a co-design group, including community members, business owners and local police as well as technical designers and engineers, to develop detailed designs to be tested later this year. These changes are available to view on the Council’s website,” says Deputy Mayor Annand.
While a busy corridor for freight, plans also needed to reflect the thriving community of pedestrians, cyclists, school children and shoppers who use Waipawa's main street.
The Streets for People programme includes measures to reduce traffic speeds through town, give better access to both sides of the street, and make it easier for people to cycle or walk - all small, healthy changes to help reduce carbon emissions.
By piloting and testing street changes in the community, Council will be able to learn and make quick progress to inform permanent changes for the future.
Testing is set to begin in September, once a contractor has been appointed. Feedback from the community during this phase will be sought.
Proposed and temporary changes for Waipawa main street include:
Additional temporary pedestrian crossings on the main street and the Ruataniwha Street intersection
A temporary roundabout at the Ruataniwha intersection
A temporary cycleway along the main street, extending from Waipawa River Bridge to Victoria Street/Waverley Street intersection
Temporary traffic calming and road narrowing from Tamumu Road
Otāne and Pōrangahau will also see active transport changes coming their way later this year thanks to funding from Waka Kotahi via the Transport Choices programme.
In Pōrangahau, this means a shared footpath for safer walking or cycling to the local school, while shared paths are planned to connect most of Otāne township. The changes were in response to feedback from both communities. Work in Otāne and Pōrangahau is expected to commence in the last quarter of 2023.
Central Hawke’s Bay District Council Chief Executive Doug Tate says while recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle remains a priority for both Council and community, the Streets for People and Transport Choices programmes can now slowly be reactivated.
“We’re seeing first-hand the impact of our changing climate - Cyclone Gabrielle followed the wettest winter on record. Both the Streets for People and Transport Choices programmes encourage safer, healthier active ways to get around, helping to reduce emissions. They’re good for people, good for community connection and good for our environment.
“We would never be able to afford these programmes on our own, especially not now, so we’re grateful to Waka Kotahi for funding and ongoing support. We’re looking forward to community feedback as work starts to take shape in these three locations across the district.”
Central Hawke's Bay District Council is one of 13 councils across the motu to participate in the Streets for People programme and will receive 90 percent of funding for the project from Waka Kotahi.
To read more about Streets for People in Waipawa and see the drone footage of the safety and connectivity improvements to come, visit: chbdc.govt.nz and search #streetsforpeople.
12 July 2023
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