Press Releases March 18, 2024

PRESS RELEASE: International leaders shine spotlight on Wellington’s street changes

Wellington, New Zealand March 17, 2024

Global giants Janette Sadik-Khan (Transport Principal, Bloomberg Associates and Chair of Global Designing Cities Initiative),  and Salvador Rueda (Director of Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona) arrived in New Zealand’s capital city this week to back the sustainable street changes that are putting people at the heart of Wellington’s streets.

After freeing New York’s streets from being choked with congestion by rolling out rapid street changes to provide bike lanes and pedestrian improvements, former New York Department of Transport Commissioner Janette Sadik Khan is no stranger to seeing public sentiment shift in favour of street design that gives people better options to get around.

“When you give people a choice, they choose better streets,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, Transportation Principal at Bloomberg Associates and former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation. “Wellington’s bold cycle lanes have already sparked a biking boom and shown the transformative power of reclaiming streets for people. Investments in streets that work for everyone are investments in the economic, environmental, and mobility future of a city.”

Joining with Salvador Rueda, a global force in urban planning to reorient cities towards a more sustainable model, Janette’s visit to the capital follows news of Wellington being selected as one of the ten winning cities of the Bloomberg Initiative for Cycling Infrastructure, led by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with the Global Designing Cities Initiative. Through the program, Wellington is receiving support and technical assistance to increase the number of bike lanes in the city by 160 percent, using resident input to inform planning and development.

“We’re so impressed with the approach Wellington has taken – making quick, affordable, and effective changes to street layouts – to get connected routes in place that improve public transport, walking, and cycling. As one of the ten global cities selected to participate in the Bloomberg Initiative for Cycling Infrastructure, Wellington’s approach is one with potential to spread as a champion of these innovative changes across the country.”

Wellington was selected to host this year’s 2WalkandCycle conference based on the work the city has been doing to improve walking and cycling in the city. The gathering on Monday and Tuesday will host leaders, politicians, and professionals working in urban planning and transport across local and central government, as well as consultancies, businesses, and departments focusing on health.

Both Janette Sadik-Khan and Salvador Rueda will present keynote speeches at the conference, ahead of presenting to local leaders and a public event on Wednesday, 20 March.

Mayor Tory Whanau is thrilled to welcome the pair to Wellington.

“Wellington being one of the ten cities from across the globe selected to participate in the Bloomberg Initiative for Cycling Infrastructure program last year was a great endorsement of Paneke Pōneke, our plan for Wellington’s bike network and sustainable street changes. It really puts the spotlight on the huge potential we’re unlocking for better urban design and new ways of addressing urgent local and global climate issues.”

“Having Janette and Salvador here to share their experiences and knowledge with a New Zealand audience is not only inspiring, but a great opportunity to highlight how modern cities are working to tackle climate change and create resilient cities that can support growth now and into the future.”

“These projects are all part of our commitment to our climate action plan, Te Atakura – First to Zero,” says Whanau. “We’re aiming to reduce our emissions 57% by 2030, with a goal of reaching net zero by 2050. We know transport is our largest source of carbon emissions, which makes it an obvious focus for our city. Bloomberg Philanthropies support for both our sustainable streets and our Digital Twin tool doesn’t just help us here in Wellington – it helps us share our learnings with other New Zealand cities, and cities around the world so we can tackle climate change together.”


2WalkandCycle Conference – 18 and 19 March 2024

March Streets – Cities – People public talk – 20 March 2024

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