The government are currently consulting on a suite of much needed changes to legislation that will remove red tape, to “make it easier for local authorities (like councils) to make street changes that support public transport, active travel and placemaking“. And that consultation closes later today.
In total there are 18 changes proposed across seven categories. Several of these have clearly come from lessons learnt as a result of Waka Kotahi’s Streets for People programme and, if enacted, will make it easier for programmes like that to thrive. This suite of updates also builds on the Accessible Streets changes that were consulted on two years ago and are currently waiting for cabinet signoff.
The changes, which are summarised below, are all pretty innocuous and sensible. They really represent just tidying up existing rules, bringing some of our outdated legislation into the 21st century and making it more consistent with other aspects of our transport system. They also in no way require councils to make changes to streets – nor do they remove the need for public consultation.
- Proposal 1: A new approach for piloting street changes
- 1A: Provide Road Controlling Authorities (RCAs) with new powers and requirements to install pilots, and set requirements for how to install them
- 1B: Enable pilots to be used as a form of consultation, with feedback collected during the pilot used to consider whether to make street changes permanent
- 1C: Enable pilots to be installed for up to two years
- 1D: Amend the Local Government Act (LGA) 1974 to make it clear that RCAs should not use the provision for ‘experimental diversions’ when piloting street changes
- 1E: Allow RCAs to lower the speed limit to support a pilot, in areas with a posted speed limit under 60km/h, during the pilot
- 1F: Update rules for trialling Traffic Control Devices (TCDs), so that RCAs can trial TCDs as part of pilots and choose how they notify people about TCD trials
- Proposal 2: Powers to filter and restrict traffic
- 2A: Enable RCAs to install modal filters if the objects they use are safe
- 2B: Ensure legislation provides clear powers to filter traffic, by removing the requirement in the LGA1974 that facilities built on roads cannot, in the opinion of a council, “unduly impede vehicular traffic entering or using the road”
- 2C: Enable RCAs to restrict or prohibit the use of some or all motor vehicles on specified roadways to support public transport use, active travel, health and safety, emissions reductions, and/or to create public spaces that promote community well-being.
- 2D: Provide RCAs with an explicit power to install TCDs
- School Streets
- 3: Establish powers and requirements for RCAs to create School Streets in partnership with local schools
- Community Streets
- 4: Establish clear powers and requirements for residents to hold Community Streets, provided they have approval from RCAs
- Closing roads for other functions and events
- 5A: Allow RCAs to close roads for reoccurring events, by removing the 31-day limit per year for road closures in the LGA1974
- 5B: Bring together powers and requirements to close roads for events in one piece of legislation and update notification requirements so that RCAs can notify the public in any way that they consider appropriate at least two weeks before an event.
- Pedestrian Malls
- 6A: Remove the requirement for local authorities to use the special consultative procedure when establishing pedestrian malls. Instead, they must apply the consultation principles in the LGA2002.
- 6B: Remove the ability for people to appeal to the Environment Court when a pedestrian mall is being created. People would be able to challenge the installation of a pedestrian mall through judicial review.
- 6C: Shift legislative provisions for pedestrian malls to the proposed Street Layouts rule
- Transport shelters
- 7: Remove special notification requirements for creating transport shelters. Instead, RCAs would be able to publicly consult on transport shelters in the same way they do for other features, like bus stops.
Despite the changes seeming sensible, they need support as there has been opposition, with claims this is part of a conspiracy to force people out of their cars.
If you want some more thinking on this to help in a submission, our friends over at Bike Auckland have put together a submission guide.
Submissions close at midnight and if you just want to indicate your support for them can be completed in just a few minutes, so get yours in now.