Government wants widening of footpaths so people can maintain 2m distance post lockdown

TVNZ | 12 Apr 2020

In a bid to maintain social distancing even after we come out of lockdown, the Government is giving extra money to councils to widen footpaths and roll out temporary cycleways throughout the country.

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High Street in Auckland.

Today, Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter announced the project which aims to ensure people can keep two metres apart while out and about.

“When people begin to return to city centres following the lockdown we want them to have enough space to maintain physical distance,” Ms Genter said.

“Some of our footpaths in busy areas are quite narrow. Temporary footpath extensions mean people can give each other a bit more space without stepping out onto the road.”

Basic materials like planter boxes and coloured paint will be used to carve out the temporary footpath extensions, similiar to the trials already set up for Auckland’s High and Federal streets.

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Federal Street in Auckland.

“Councils are able to use highly-visible plastic posts, planter boxes and other materials to create temporary separated bike lanes where people feel safe,” Ms Genter said.

“It’s now up to councils to put forward projects if they want to take advantage of this initiative. The NZ Transport Agency will help councils implement street changes that meet the Innovating Streets pilot fund criteria safely and with minimal disruption.”

Funding will come from the Innovating Streets for People pilot fund, which is part of a wider programme that supports projects using “tactical urbanism” techniques.

Councils can apply for funding from the NZ Transport Agency, who will cover 90 per cent of the cost of rolling out temporary changes to the streetscape.

However, while planning can start during lockdown, the rollout of temporary changes will not happen while New Zealand remains at Alert Level 4.

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