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.