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Sunday’s Open Streets event closes roads to cars

A large section of the Wellington CBD will be closed to cars tomorrow from 9.00am to 1.00pm for the Te Ara Tapere ki Pōneke – Open Streets event.

Te Ara Tapere ki Pōneke is a free, active event for people of all ages and abilities to take over the streets and walk, play, ride and roll in places where this is not usually safe or possible.

Mayor Justin Lester says this first Open Streets event of this scale in the central city is an opportunity for Wellingtonians to enjoy the novelty of using public space in a different way.

“Open Streets events help to make local communities healthier and more resilient, support local businesses and encourage greater transport choices.

“The central city is our fastest-growing residential neighbourhood – a place where thousands of people live – so it’s the perfect location to close the streets to cars and turn them into a temporary urban park for half a day.”

Taranaki Whānui will open and bless the event.at 9.00am with a small ceremony in Te Aro Park.

Community groups and local businesses will run a range of activities, with e-bike trials, dance, music, street art, yoga, reusable-bag-making and other activities at eight hubs and elsewhere along the 1.4km route between Hunter Street and Jessie Street, via Victoria, Wakefield, lower Cuba, Dixon and Taranaki streets.  There’s no official start or finish – people can travel the route in either direction or join at any point.

You can download the full event guide here.

Councillor Sarah Free, Wellington City Council’s Portfolio Leader for Walking and Cycling, says the concept of Open Streets is worldwide and regular events held in many other cities are mostly organised by local communities.

“People are welcome to come and set up an activity on the day where there’s room. We’ll also have around 50 volunteers helping out on the day, including groups from Wellington Girls’ College and Wellington East Girls’ College.

“Te Ara Tapere ki Pōneke fits perfectly with our aspirations for Wellington to become an even more sustainable, healthy and people-centred place to live and visit.”

Motorists travelling across town are advised to leave earlier than usual, avoid the Taranaki Street area and consider using the waterfront quays, the bays, Kent and Cambridge terraces or via Brooklyn to access the eastern or southern suburbs.

With the annual Diwali Festival attracting crowds and traffic to celebrations along the waterfront from 1.30 to 9.30pm, traffic delays can also be expected in this area.

Parking restrictions will be in place from midnight today, Saturday, until 3.00pm on Sunday. These streets will be closed between 6.00am and 3.00pm (see map above) and traffic management will be in place:

Taranaki Street, between Dixon and Jessie Streets

Victoria Street (Hunter to Wakefield)
Wakefield Street (Victoria to Cuba)
Lower Cuba Street (Wakefield to Manners)
Dixon Street (Cuba Mall to Taranaki)
Inglewood Place; and
Ghuznee Street (Taranaki to Marion).

Manners Street (Taranaki to Cuba) will be bus-only. Bus services will run as normal except for routes 3, 18e and 21, with diversions in place. Check the details on the Metlink app (via The Wellington App). Information is also available at BikeThere.org.