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Cars need to give way to walkers in city

Sep 1st, 2010 | By | Category: Latest News, News

Walking MAIN

PARKING SPACE: Could this one in Cuba St be better used for shops?

AN over-supply of car parking in Wellington could be bad for the economy and pedestrian areas around retail units would be better instead.

This is the view of Wellington mayoral candidate and councillor Celia Wade-Brown, who says carpark land used for parking would have better economic value if used for shops.

“If people stop walking around we’ll have a dead and dangerous place,” she says.

Reporting back to the city council strategy and policy committee after the Living Streets Aotearoa walking (urban) conference in Wellington earlier this month, she says she came away with two main ideas:

  • Bins and street signs still pose hazards to the vision-impaired pedestrians.  Therefore an action plan is required to modify existing street furniture.
  • An overall supply of parking may be bad for the economy. A major challenge will be addressing suburban parking and accessibility.

Fellow councillor John Morrison says each transport mode is as important as any other.

“Both walking and driving cars are important,” he says. “There is no contest between them – they are both a priority.”

He believes if cars were banned from the city it would die within a week.

“It’s a big mistake to set up a contest, because it then becomes an ideological green issue.  I agree that (walking) is good for your health, but not to put other things down”.

He says people prefer to travel by car when there is howling southerly blowing, and do not want to struggle up Wellington’s hills.

“I represent an elderly population who live in areas with steep access. I doubt if they would prefer to walk.”

walking 3

STREET HAZARDS?: 'An action plan is required to make safe existing street structures.'

Traffic consultant Julie-Anne Genter told the two-day walking conference that space is money.

“Too much money is wasted on car parking, and should be re-directed into having a more balanced environment where the car is not more important than everything else,” she said.

Engineering consultant Tracey Allatt said allocating road space should be made more fairly.

“The main obstacle for implementing wider footpaths, cycle lanes, and bus lanes is parking. More mobility means less accessibility,” she said.

Liz Thomas, director of Living Streets Aotearoa, Wellington, said more space for pedestrians and retail outlets meant people spent more money in shops, boosting the economy.

Speakers at the conference – which promoted the overall benefits of modern urban walking environments – included Transport Minster Stephen Joyce, city councillors, urban planners, transport consultants, university lecturers and walkers.

Current Wellington City Council policy on walking promotes the benefit of doing it safely throughout the city and aims to raise numbers by improving the overall experience.

walking 4

URBAN WALKING: Pedestrians on their way to work and school.

“DOLLARS and the sense of walking” was the theme at the fourth Living Streets Aotearoa walking conference in Wellington.

Attracting an audience of around 150 people, speakers came from government, city councils, NZTA, urban planners, transport consultants, university lecturers as well as Rugby World Cup organisers.

The first main theme looked at reviewing, valuing and implementing plans to construct model community concepts, and highlight the benefits to local communities.

A presentation on the town planning process, called “Paving the Streets with Gold”,by Martin Wedderburn (Colin Buchanan Consultancy in the UK) introduced the “Urban Realm Tool Kit”, which measures  key areas such as climate change, economic growth, quality of life and environment, and others.

Describing the parking argument, he said car drivers spend more in shops because they can carry more, “but walkers visit more often.”

He showcased three London case studies which provided more walking space and valuable benefits to the community.

Nigel Cass (general manager of Tournament Services for Rugby New Zealand 2011) said walking will be heavily promoted at next year’s tournament.

“The opportunity of walking to and from all our venues is critical,” he said.

Tom Beard (Wellington City Council) described the types of people who roam cities and the way they do it.

He quoted 19thcentury French poet Charles Beaudelaire: “For the perfect flaneur (a stroller), for the passionate spectator it is an experience of joy to set up house in the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of the movement, in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite”.

He explained “flaneurs” are people who pay attention, and look out for little details about the history of the city.

On the second day Julie-Anne Genter (McCormick Rankin Cagney Consultants) discussed “Space is money”, arguing too much money was wasted on car parking, and should be re-directed into a more balanced environment.

Tracey Allatt (BECA) agreed when discussing allocating road space. The main obstacle for implementing wider footpaths, cycle lanes, and bus lanes was parking: “More mobility means less accessibility.”

Transport Minister Steven Joyce said he enjoys walking to relax.

He said he believes in the benefits of increasing active modes of transport, and realises it is important to get the balance right across the board.

“If we can get demonstrable gains as to how many more people are walking, then we may be able to achieve something significant,” he said.

He believes people should be encouraged and educated about the benefits of healthy activities.

Robin Kearns (School of environment, The University of Auckland), who studied the ‘Walking School Bus’, found education was huge in getting children to walk.

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is a Whitireia Journalism student, who enjoys crafting a good story.
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