I just got this response to my email asking for time extension etc for Accessible Streets.
What I read in this letter is that disabled pedestrians will be adversely impacted but we don't care. We put consultation documents out in accessible formats (a Government standard approach you will know), we are going to do a disability assessment later, and anyway 15km hour on a footpath is an improvement.
From: Tristan Culpan
Date: Tue, 12 May 2020 at 10:41
Subject: M200735 Reply from Hon Julie Anne Genter, Associate Minister of Transport
Tēnā koe e
On behalf of Hon Julie Anne Genter, Associate Minister of Transport, please find below a reply to your correspondence.
Tēnā koe e
I hope you are keeping well in these unusual times.
Thank you for your email of 8 April 2020 regarding the Accessible Streets package. The proposed rule changes are designed to improve safety for footpath users, encourage active modes of transport, and support the creation of more liveable and vibrant towns and cities.
I recognise that some of the proposed rule changes may disproportionately impact people with disabilities, whose reliance on the footpath is higher than other parts of the population. In particular, I recognise that these proposals may affect people with limited visibility or hearing, who may feel at greater risk if people are allowed to cycle on the footpath. They may also affect current users of mobility devices, whose use may be constrained compared to under current legislation.
You will be aware, however, that the Accessible Street proposals will be implemented alongside an increase in cycling infrastructure and the introduction of a 15km/h speed restriction on the footpath, which will lower the risk to more vulnerable footpath users.
Given the potential impact of the proposals on disabled people, I committed to working with disability organisations and other stakeholders during consultation. This included ensuring that the consultation materials (available in braille, easy read, large print and in audio format and sign language) are accessible to a wide range of people. The aim is to ensure that disabled people’s feedback is appropriately incorporated and any identified risks are minimised.
I have also asked transport officials to prepare a disability impact assessment following consultation. I expect to receive advice on matters relevant to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities once consultation has been completed. This will be informed by feedback from disabled people and their representative organisations during the consultation process.
As you mentioned in your email, the Government response to COVID-19 has had an impact on consultation on the Accessible Streets package.
I appreciate that many stakeholders are currently focused on the COVID-19 response. In recognition of that, earlier this month I extended the closing date for submissions and feedback by four weeks until 5pm on Wednesday 20 May 2020. Officials advise me that you, along with other stakeholders, were informed of this extension by email on Friday 17 April 2020.
The decision to extend public consultation will provide individuals and organisations with more time to read, engage with and respond to the Accessible Streets proposals. Although Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency cannot run face-to-face meetings at the present time, its officials would be happy to discuss the Accessible Streets rules package with individuals or organisations via telephone or skype.
Separately, you may be interested to know that the Government will provide extra funding to help councils expand footpaths and roll out temporary cycleways to help people maintain physical distancing practices as New Zealand moves down through the alert levels.
Funding will come from the Innovating Streets for People pilot fund, part of a wider programme that supports projects using ‘tactical urbanism’ techniques such as pilots and pop-up, interim treatments that make it safer and easier for people walking and cycling in towns and cities. You can find out more about the fund on Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s website at https://www.nzta.govt.nz/roads-and-rail/innovating-streets.
Thank you for taking the time to write.
Nāku noa, nā
Hon Julie Anne Genter
Associate Minister of Transport
Ngā mihi koe,
Tristan Culpan| Hēkeretari Matua | Office of Hon Julie Anne Genter | Associate Minister of Transport
Level 6.C Bowen House | Parliament Buildings | Wellington | New Zealand