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Kerikeri: A better CBD experience

I walk through the CBD several times a week and often take time out to enjoy a coffee street side. The major detraction from both experiences is the traffic volume which generates considerable noise and vehicle fumes. The danger of crossing the street is somewhat mitigated by the traffic volume that usually reduces vehicle speeds to a state less threatening to those at the bottom of the 'traffic food chain'.

I recently spotted this article on The Guardian website related to an experiment that has been run in Barcelona, where traffic in blocks of streets was reduced to nearly zero. It has been so successful that they are now looking to fully implement it and the idea is now being picked up by other cities around the World.

This particular comment by the author of the study grabbed my attention:

“We urgently need a paradigm shift away from the car-centred urban planning model and towards a people-centred approach,” she said.

When the first superblock was introduced in 2017 in Poblenou, in the north of the city, it was met with opposition by car owners and also those who claimed it would be ruinous to local business. However, opposition has faded as residents have begun to enjoy the benefits of a traffic-free neighbourhood. There are also 30% more local businesses than previously and the area has seen a significant increase in the numbers of people making journeys on foot or cycling.

I know that Kerikeri is not Barcelona, but the issues are the same, just on a smaller scale. It should, in theory, be much simpler exercise for us to make the Kerikeri CBD a place where everyone enjoys their visit.

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