Wellington City Council has announced that it will prioritise pedestrians and remove private vehicles from its 'Golden Mile'. Which places in Hawke's Bay could, or should, follow suit? Louise Gould reports.
It's 2021 and cars are still allowed on Emerson St. And that's not going to change any time soon, Napier City Council says.
Napier's main shopping street has been the poster child in Hawke's Bay, along with the streets around Hastings' clock tower, for pedestrian-only streets in the region.
But Emerson St is no longer in the spotlight, with Napier City Council instead focusing its short-term attention on making other areas of the city more people-friendly.
A council spokesperson said there were "many" current council projects aimed at providing safer pedestrian and cycling routes, including a trial at West Quay - a project aimed at increasing safety and amenity for pedestrians and cyclists in front of the hospitality precinct.
"As a result of this trial a number of permanent changes are being made," they said.
"Some people (members of the public, businesses) have expressed a desire for us to fully pedestrianise West Quay but we are not actively exploring this option at this stage."
NCC is also about to begin a consultation with businesses, residents, cyclist groups and the wider community regarding Carlyle St - which will feed into a safety review of the street.
Hastings District Council public spaces planning manager Rachel Stuart said making Hastings city more people-friendly is an integral part of its city centre revitalisation strategy.
"While there is no discussion at this point about removing vehicle access, there has been a focus on upgrading and widening footpaths, creating laneways and enhancing parks," she said.
Work is under way on Heretaunga St East as part of the Hastings Eastside Eat Street project started last year.
The project was made possible by $300,000 from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency's Innovating Streets pilot fund.
Stuart said this will enable the East 200 block to be closed to vehicles when events are being held – and includes raised pedestrian paving areas.
HDC councillor Damon Harvey said the project is a "step in the right direction" to make Hastings and surrounding areas more friendly towards cyclists and pedestrians, which is something he says he'd love to see more of.
"It would be fantastic to have a broadened ability to have other parts more pedestrian and cycle-friendly than they are now, although we are doing pretty well both in a recreational point of view but also a commuting point of view," he said.
Harvey said Havelock North could benefit from a similar project to what is being done on Heretaunga St East.
"I've always wondered whether Havelock Rd near Mamacita could be closed or there could even be temporary closures of that road when there are events on," he said.
"There is significant traffic congestion in Havelock, which suggests that not only is that difficult for those that are driving, but it also increases the risk of incidents occurring for pedestrians and commuters."