Waka Kotahi and the Ministry of Transport’s Reshaping Streets regulatory changes seek to enable Road Controlling Authorities – councils and Auckland Transport, to contribute to emissions reduction targets by using existing roading infrastructure more effectively to facilitate mode shift.
The consultation document outlines three main areas for change.
The proposed provision for piloting street changes would allow councils to trial street changes for up to two years. Councils have already piloted a range of changes but have not previously had sufficient clarity on processes to do so under existing legislation. The regulatory changes would create a clear pathway for councils to pilot road changes to facilitate greater mode shift and represent international best practice in road space management.
The proposed Community Streets changes would make it easier for residential communities to use their local streets for community events while the School Streets changes seek to reduce dependence on private vehicles at school drop-off and pick-up times.
The consultation document also outlines changes to the provision of transport shelters which would remove special notification requirements for their creation and align with the consultation process for establishing bus stops. As an advocate for world-class infrastructure and the elimination of impediments and excessive red tape to implementing it, INZ supports the streamlining of transport shelter provision processes.
Our submission discusses how we cannot rely only on ‘building new’ to meet our infrastructure deficit and climate obligations. We must also find ways to use our existing infrastructure more effectively.
To date, public roads have been prioritised for private vehicular transport, and deviation from this has been marred by difficult-to-navigate processes under the Local Government Act 1974 that have hampered emissions reduction efforts.
There is an opportunity here to design and build our cities in a way that makes them more sustainable places to live and that enables Crown investment in active and public transport modes to achieve optimal value for money.
However, we are also conscious that there should be ample time for businesses and residents in the pilot area to be notified.
In our submission, we recommend that the proposed notification period for street change pilots be extended from two to eight weeks, while the length of pilots be shortened from two years to 12 months. Given that consultation would be through feedback on the operation of pilots it will be crucial that councils take action to modify pilots immediately where unforeseen safety or disruption issues occur. Guidance to assist councils in undertaking these initiatives will also be important and should be subject to public consultation.
The consultation document outlines an effective and clear way to ensure that our existing transport infrastructure is being used to meet our climate goals.
The pace and scale of change to meet our transport emissions reduction goals is clear, and significant change will be necessary to meet our obligations. To deliver on our ambitions, the provision of excellent public transport services and infrastructure in a regulatory environment that is prepared to enable change to cater for their operation will be vital to our cities and to encouraging the increased uptake of active modes of travel.