New road layouts in a South Auckland suburb are slowing cars and getting more people pounding the pavement.
The Te Ara Mua Future Streets project, in Māngere, has brought in a number of changes in road infrastructure in the area in the last few years; created in a bid to better road conditions for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike.
Improvements made include raised pedestrian crossings, widened footpaths, the installation of dedicated cycle lanes, upgraded bus stops and better signage in the area.
Planting and street improvements were also made and a community trail put in encouraging people to walk or bike around their neighbourhood.
Project leader Hamish Mackie, of Mackie Research and Consulting, said they had been monitoring the changing behaviours since the different infrastructures were put in place.
"What we know now is that we've put the infrastructure in and we've learnt a bit about how well that's gone and how people are perceiving the various bits that have changed in Māngere.
"People like the look and feel of it. They like the pedestrian crossings, they like the wider footpaths, the shared paths and some of the cultural references."
The improved roads include Massey Rd, Windrush Close, Pershore Pl, Imrie Ave, Friesian Dr, the busy Mascot Avenue and in and around the Māngere Town Centre near Bader Dr.
The whole project, costing $10.4 million, officially opened in September, 2016.
VEHICLE SPEEDS DOWN, WALKING UP:
In the latest figures, the 85th percentile speeds on the intervention streets had dropped by an average of 11km/h.
On Friesian Dr alone, speeds have reduced an average of 17km/h.
Traffic volumes had also dropped; with 12 per cent less traffic on Mascot Ave near the Bader Drive roundabout, 24 per cent less further down Mascot Ave near Nga Iwi School and a whopping 31 per cent less traffic on Friesian Dr.
"That makes it safer for kids getting in and out of school and to the town centre,'' Mackie said.
Video data also showed a growing number of cyclists and more people walking the streets.
With obesity statistics high in the area, another big aim for the project was to encourage physical activity and more opportunities to get to places - for example, the shopping centre - via improved footpaths and the community trail by bike or on foot.
Pedestrian safety was better guaranteed also.
"They don't have to wait as much, they don't have to run across the road to avoid traffic. We see fewer conflicts or fewer near-misses with vehicles and people crossing the road.
"We see that particularly with people in wheelchairs, mobility devices, prams and people pushing shopping trolleys."
Mackie said, however, there continued to be divided opinions about cycle lanes effectively taking out parking spots on main roads - such as those previously on Mascot Avenue outside the shopping centre and opposite the Samoan consulate-general building, which is frequented daily.
Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board chairwoman Lemauga Lydia Sosene said the changes had created better behaviours and new understandings about road safety - both from a pedestrian's point of view and that of a person behind the wheel of a car.
"There's more awareness - somebody will yell at you now,'' she laughed.
"Traffic slows right down now and for me, that's got to be a win.''
Te Ara Mua Future Streets is a partnership between Mackie Research, Auckland Transport, the NZ Transport Agency and the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board.