A project to create safer and healthier journeys to school for children will soon be underway in Cambridge, following the success of an application for funding to make streets more people-friendly.

More than $600,000 will be provided by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to Waipā District Council for the implementation of the Safe Routes to Schools and Businesses for Active Transport project.

Created in collaboration with a local community group, including Olympic cyclist Sarah Ulmer, the project seeks to make key streets in Cambridge safer for residents and children to bike, walk and scooter to work and school.

Council service delivery group manager Dawn Inglis said the project was a fantastic opportunity for the council to trial a range of "tactical urbanism techniques" for minimal cost.

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"The success of this application is significant because it will allow us to test a range of safety techniques and then consult with residents and road users to see what works for them before investing in permanent road safety measures."

Techniques that may be implemented include artwork on the road surface to improve visibility, temporary speed bumps, new crossings, wayfinding signage and kerb extensions.

The project would also include funding for two community event days to engage with residents and provide an opportunity for feedback.

Inglis said a key focus was providing safer opportunities for students to get to school without relying on car-based travel.

"We know from a 2018 council-supported Safe Ways to School Survey that a lot of students would love to bike, walk or scooter to school but don't feel safe doing so.

"What we also saw during lockdown was a significant number of people out and about on their bikes when there were fewer cars on the roads. We'd like to keep this going so we know improving road safety is an absolute must."

Several streets identified as high-risk in the survey will be used for the project.
Cyclist and project ambassador Ulmer said the success of the application was a big win for Cambridge.

"This is a really cool opportunity for our town and builds on the existing momentum of making Cambridge a safer and more enjoyable place for cyclists.

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"We know kids want to ride their bikes to school, and parents want them to as well, but they need to be safe, so this project is really about children getting to school safely."

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Around 10 per cent of the project cost will be funded by council and the other 90 per cent funded by Waka Kotahi. The project must be delivered by June 30, 2021.

Funding for the project will come from a pool of $13.95 million which will be used to fund 40 projects across the country to make streets more people-friendly.

Progress for major roundabout project

Significant progress has been made on a major roundabout in Cambridge despite a month-long delay due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Work on the Hanlin Rd roundabout, which began in February, is more than 50 per cent complete, with the form of the roundabout visible.

Waipā District Council transportation manager Bryan Hudson said: "Our contractors are making fantastic progress and the roundabout is really starting to take shape now.

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Good progress is being made on Cambridge's Hanlin Road roundabout. Photo / Supplied
Good progress is being made on Cambridge's Hanlin Road roundabout. Photo / Supplied

"We had expected to complete this project in August and we are now looking at September.

"However, that is still really great, given the restrictions which were in place."

Since returning to the site at alert level 3, contractors have completed the relocation of underground power lines and the drainage retention systems and have prepared the foundations of the site.

Work is now underway to excavate the existing road towards Cambridge, clearing the way for the construction of new entrances and exits to the roundabout.

Hudson said a temporary access road was in place to divert traffic from the site while work was underway and traffic has been flowing freely.

Traffic management and a speed limit of 30km/h are also in place to ensure driver and worker safety.

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Once complete, the intersection will include access to St Peter's School, the Avantidrome and Cambridge Rd, a bus stop next to the Avantidrome, a pedestrian refuge on Cambridge Rd and shared paths and cycleways.

The project is being jointly funded by Waipā District Council and NZTA with support from St Peter's School and Home of Cycling Charitable Trust.