Euro­pean life­style in Man­gere?


Ex­ten­sive plan­ning and a re­search trip to Europe led to the de­vel­op­ment of Man­gere’s cy­cling and walk­ing paths, Fu­ture Streets - Te Ara Mua.

Ten in­ves­ti­ga­tors from New Zealand vis­ited Europe where they met with trans­port plan­ners, lo­cal and cen­tral gov­ern­ment agen­cies, vis­ited uni­ver­si­ties and saw vi­able ex­am­ples of in­te­grated trans­port net­works.

Part of the del­e­ga­tion was Hamish Mackie, the Fu­ture Streets project man­ager, and Le­mauga Ly­dia Sosene, Man­gereO­tahuhu Lo­cal Board chair.

The group vis­ited the Nether­lands, Ger­many, Den­mark and Swe­den over two weeks.

‘‘One of the things that re­ally stuck with me in all the ma­jor cities we vis­ited was how there were clearly des­ig­nated routes for light rail, traf­fic, cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans – which gave com­muters the right of way and en­cour­ages use,’’ re­calls Sosene.

‘‘To see that in ac­tion re­ally helped in the plan­ning for Fu­ture Streets.’’

She says through­out the trip the group used pub­lic trans­port, walked or cy­cled and ob­served that for Euro­peans, own­ing a car was not a pri­or­ity – very dif­fer­ent to a lot of Auck­lan­ders.

‘‘In Hol­land, we saw grand­par­ents cy­cling, and par­ents with lit­tle carts on their bikes for their chil­dren and en­joy­ing a healthy life­style - it was great to see.’’

Mackie says the Europe trip con­trib­uted to the project in an in­di­rect sup­port­ing way.

‘‘Bike lanes are just one part of Fu­ture Streets,’’ he says.

‘‘Much of the in­vest­ment is fo­cused on safer and eas­ier walk- ing trips – eas­ier to cross the road, slower traf­fic speed etc.’’

‘‘The big chal­lenge is to bridge a very wide gap be­tween this pro­gres­sive way of think­ing and the es­tab­lished ways of do­ing things here. Many peo­ple in New Zealand still value the pri­vate car mostly for ur­ban travel, be­cause often that is the only fea­si­ble op­tion.’’

He hopes to see an in­crease in walk­ing, run­ning and bik­ing over time as the en­vi­ron­ment feels safer for these activities.

The trip was funded by two Min­istry of Busi­ness, In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment grants - He Tipu Mana­hau and Fu­ture Homes/ Fu­ture Streets, and sup­ported by the FRIENZ project (fa­cil­i­tat­ing re­search and in­no­va­tion co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Europe and New Zealand).


Cy­clists in Am­s­ter­dam, the Nether­lands.

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