Future Streets: the lessons learned and future research on safety
Give it time and have a go at using it.
That's the message from the project leader behind the Future Streets - Te Ara Mua project in Mangere. It's come under some criticism for its lack of usage and purpose from some locals.
Elected officials who back the wider shared pathways, cycleways and other safety measures defended their funded at the official opening this month.
Hamish Mackie says Future Streets is not about forcing people into one mode of transport.
"The idea behind it is if you imagine how easy it is to drive in the car somewhere, imagine if you could walk, cross the road or road a bike in the same way ... that's really the goal," he says.
He says there will be more initiatives and programmes in the future to support cycle training and for people to use it.
"It will take a bit of time for people to have a go basically."
Associate Transport Minister Tim Macindoe says it is a "signature project" in the Government's 'Safer Journeys' programme.
It's that national status that sees the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment funding its research.
Mackie says there are two parts to the research: first is observing and counting "people's behaviours".
That involves counting cycling and walking trips as well as recording how people use the space, he says.
The second part of research is door-to-door surveys of residents about the area and how they get around.
"We're actually going to have a really robust piece of research that actually helps us to understand what people think of it all."
All the research was done before and is being done now after the improvements. It's also compared to a control area in Mangere East.
On the whole, Mackie says the project was a successful collaboration between multiple agencies.
But researchers learned about adapting consultation, too.
At the beginning a workshop virtually had nobody turn up, Mackie says.
The public stall at the Mangere Town Centre was "one of the best things we did", he says.
There shoppers at multiple Saturday markets were first asked how they got around and later shown concept designs and asked for their response.
Information provided by Auckland Transport shows there were about 44 consultation events and meetings from mid 2013 until 2015.
"We've got perspectives and we're experts in certain things but we can't necessarily come into a community where we don't live and know how everything works."
Reference groups with representatives from parts of the community, including Nga Iwi School, worked well, Mackie says.