More and more Hastings students will be biking, walking, skating and scooting to school as the first phase of Hastings District Council’s Heretaunga Arakura – Hastings Pathways to School programme gets underway.
Some 20 schools across the city including Flaxmere schools, Lindisfarne College and Taikura Rudolf Steiner school are part of Heretaunga Arakura, a partnership between Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, with a total $8 million of funding over the next 12 months.
“With Aotearoa’s target for net zero emissions by 2050, it’s vital we start transitioning young people and their whānau from their reliance on cars, towards more sustainable transport like bikes, scooters, skating or walking around their neighbourhoods,” says Hastings Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst.
“Mode shift will not only improve the health and well-being of ngā tāngata (our people) but of papatūānuku (our land) by creating neighbourhoods that are easier to move around, where everyone can access calmer streets, and residents have a deeper sense of place and belonging – we will build more connected and vibrant communities that we can all be proud of.”
Many Hastings students have surveyed their schools and completed GIS (Geographical Information Systems) mapping, capturing travel behaviours throughout their school community, walking common school routes, and documenting any barriers stopping students and the broader community from moving to healthier, active transport modes.
Collected data will give the Council a deeper understanding of popular school routes, current transport modes, and how they can design the best solutions for the entire community.
Hastings District Council will work alongside Sports Hawke’s Bay to run road safety and cycle skills workshops so whānau feel more confident about letting tamariki use active transport to and from school.
“One school at a time, Heretaunga Arakura will make our city more liveable, and community focused,” says Mayor Hazlehurst
Council is also looking to build raised crossings, traffic bumps and planter boxes directly outside school frontages, with additional traffic calming measures being implemented on major school travel routes. Schools will have the opportunity to bring their own whakapapa into design elements with native plantings, pavement designs and school values woven into traffic calming solutions, creating a sense of place and connection to their kura.
Heretaunga Arakura is funded through two Waka Kotahi funds.The Streets for People Programme supports councils to use quick, low cost, scalable improvements that inform future changes. The Transport Choices package is part of the Waka Kotahi Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF) programme. This aims to demonstrate what’s possible for communities nationwide by quickly providing people with healthier, more affordable, and safer transport choices that are good for us, and for the environment.
Another project funded by the Transport Choices package is Walkable Neighbourhoods. This week early adopters Mahora and Camberley community schools and surrounding neighbourhoods looked at Council proposals for making their neighbourhoods more walkable. Both communities had already met with Council and given feedback and pointers.
Waka Kotahi Manager Urban Mobility Kathryn King says our communities want safer, more resilient, and adaptable streets with less traffic, so children can confidently walk or bike to school. “Heretaunga Arakura will help achieve this in Hastings.”
The first phase of Heretaunga Arakura aims to roll the project out to 20+ schools and communities within a 6km radius of Hastings CBD between May 2023 – June 2024.
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ