A Hastings District Council programme to encourage healthier, low emissions transport to school has received a boost, with Waka Kotahi announcing approximately $6.4 million in additional funding to progress the Heretaunga Arakura (Hastings Pathways to School) programme.
The programme aims to get more students walking, biking and scooting to school in order to encourage healthy, active habits, cut the volume of emissions created by school runs, and reduce congestion at the school gate. It will see Council working to improve the safety of school zones across Hastings through a combination of urban design, traffic calming and lower speeds, while also equipping students with the skills and confidence to walk or ride to school.
Announced today by Minister of Transport Hon Michael Wood, the funding is part of the Waka Kotahi Transport Choices programme, which includes a focus on ensuring safe, green and healthy school travel. Transport Choices funding is currently indicative until Waka Kotahi works with Councils to explore how projects can be progressed in line with Transport Choices timeframes. Funding allocations may be adjusted after this consultation. It follows an initial $1.5M funding from Waka Kotahi’s Streets for People fund in September and means Council can look at rolling the programme out to many more schools across Hastings.
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst is thrilled with the news.
“We’re delighted. While the final figure is subject to us scoping the project with Waka Kotahi, this is a significant announcement that will enable us to make the journey to school safer for many more Heretaunga children.”
“Through a trial at four schools in 2020, we’ve seen the impact that a programme like Heretaunga Arakura can have – safer speeds around our schools, students empowered to choose active transport, and fewer safety worries for parents, teachers and principals.”
“We know that having fewer cars on the school run not only creates a calmer, cleaner and healthier environment at the school gate, but it has a direct impact on emissions and will make a meaningful contribution to our climate goals.”
“The potential for this programme is immense, and we’re looking forward to rolling it out to more schools across Hastings.”
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Manager Urban Mobility, Kathryn King says she is pleased Hastings District Council has received funding as part of the Transport Choices programme.
“The Transport Choices programme is supporting councils to give people more options in the way they travel. I’m pleased to say we received an outstanding response from councils around the country, embracing the opportunity to provide greater transport choices for their communities.
“Funding criteria specified projects that would deliver strategic cycling/micro mobility networks; create walkable neighbourhoods; support healthy school travel; or make public transport easier to use.
“The aim is to open up streets so everyone can get where they need to go in ways that are good for their health and the planet.”
The Heretaunga Arakura programme will complement Council’s work in Mahora and Camberley, where the Walkable Neighbourhood project is creating an environment conducive to walking as safe, healthy, and desirable way to travel. This project also received a boost from the Transport Choices programme, with approximately $3.1 million in funding announced.
The expanded Heretaunga Arakura programme will begin in earnest next year, with the project team contacting schools across Heretaunga in the New Year. Schools will be prioritised on a number of different criteria.
WAKA KOTAHI NZ TRANSPORT AGENCY: STREETS FOR PEOPLE PROGRAMME
Heretaunga Arakura is part of the $30 million Waka Kotahi Streets for People Programme 2021-24. This programme aims to make it easier and faster to create safer, healthier, and more people-friendly streets in our towns and cities. The programme creates opportunities for councils to partner with communities to accelerate street change projects. This will help Aotearoa to achieve its emissions reduction goals faster, while creating vibrant, people-friendly places for thriving communities.
WAKA KOTAHI NZ TRANSPORT AGENCY: TRANSPORT CHOICES PROGRAMME
The Transport Choices programme is a $350 million package of investments drawn from the Climate Emergency Response Fund to quickly progress strategic cycle networks; create walkable neighbourhoods; ensure safe, green and healthy school travel; and make public transport more reliable and easier to use. The outcome of this work will be a range of transport services and infrastructure that will help the uptake of active and shared travel options to reduce people’s reliance on travelling by car.
For more information, visit: www.heretaungaarakura.co.nz
4 December 2022
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