Hutt at Heart

Getting the community moving towards the benefits of active transport

An event to showcase cycling as a fun and healthy way to get around and play welcomed more than 60 people on wheels of all kinds to Wainuomata’s Queen Street.

Wicked Wheels, held for the second time on October 12 in partnership with Love Wainuiomata, promoted the many cycling opportunities available in and around the town, and fed into on work underway on how best to create bike-friendly streets and neighbourhoods.

Whānau at the event, who were encouraged to cycle there, had fun at a dedicated bike rodeo that included a bike ramp and jumps and a special obstacle course.

Healthy Families Hutt Valley City Design Lead Mark Shanks, said Wicked Wheels had been a great forum to start a conversation with the community about cycling, and about whether any barriers existed that were either stopping or limiting people using their bikes.

“Events like Wicked Wheels showcase cycling as a fun and safe activity that the whole family can enjoy, by bringing cycle-related play right into the centre of town.

“It also provides the chance to talk to people about cycling and share what is available for cyclists in Wainuiomata and Lower Hutt.

“There are many awesome cycling opportunities in Wainuiomata and we would encourage more locals to be out enjoying themselves on their bikes.

“It begins with kids riding bikes to and from school and getting around town to their sport practices and games, and visiting friends.”

Wicked Wheels also fed into work already underway on Streets Alive, a joint approach between Healthy Families Hutt Valley and Hutt City Council.

The approach centred on putting people’s wellbeing at the centre of Council’s planning and urban design decisions about what the city would look like in the future, to ensure the city worked for people who wanted to get around and have fun on a bicycle.

Streets Alive was expected to run between November 2019 and March next year.

“Events like Wicked Wheels show our people in the community the important role of play in our physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing.

“They are also case studies that can help ensure we are at the cutting edge of street play in New Zealand, building the and momentum to see safe streets for play rolled out right across the city, and the country.”

Mark said the data and experiences gathered at Wicked Wheels would also feed into an integrated walking and cycling plan for Wainuiomata that Healthy Families Hutt Valley was working on with Hutt City Council’s Transport Team.

The plan is based on the 20-minute neighbourhood concept which promotes communities being able to meet every day needs within a 20 minute cycle.

Complementing his work around creating spaces that put peoples wellbeing at their heart, Mark had also been placemaking in Taita and Lower Hutt.

Placemaking is a process of creating people-friendly public spaces in towns and cities, based on the ideas of the local community, and often using their input and labour.

Healthy Families Hutt Valley had been out cleaning up, repainting the walls and planting in a well-used alleyway in Taita.

”Active transport and placemaking are connected in improving the health outcomes of our whanau.

“The movement for active transport and transport autonomy is inseparable from healthy streets, play, and place making.

“In all cases public space is re-imagined – not only how it looks and how healthy it is, but how we move across it and what we do in it while we are there.

“Destinations not only need to be cycle and walk friendly but they also need to be attractive. The destination itself needs to be a place that the community wants to connect with and use.

Imagine if our streets supported our people to get active and play while connecting with their city and each other.

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