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Open Street Sunday transforms Dixon & Lower Cuba Streets


Media release
13 September 2013


Open Street Sunday transforms Dixon & Lower Cuba Streets

Bikes and skateboards, rollerblades, scooters and pedestrians will take over Dixon and Lower Cuba Streets as part of Wellington’s - and the country’s - inaugural Open Street Sunday on 22 September.

The event, being run by Greater Wellington Regional Council in partnership with Living Streets Aotearoa and local businesses, coincides with International Car Free Day.

Open Street Sunday is modelled on Open Streets held around the world, where vehicles are excluded from suburban and CBD streets to enable people to enjoy car-free streets.

Choirs, bands, bike and skateboarding challenges, a treasure hunt and roti making demonstrations are just some of the other activities that will be taking place.

“It’s an opportunity to transform an inner city streetscape from a place where cars rule, to one where people can relax, be entertained and have some fun,” says Susan Hutchinson-Daniel, the Regional Council’s Sustainable Transport Projects Coordinator and organiser of the event. “It is really quite amazing to see how a city street changes when there are no motor vehicles around. Of course CBD streets need to be open to traffic for business needs but it’s wonderful to see what happens when they’re opened up occasionally to non-motorised traffic.”

Businesses have got on board with the event because they realise the potential economic benefits of enabling more pedestrians in streets. Studies show that people on foot spend more than if they are driving cars and struggling to find parks nearby.

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“The Open Street idea means streets are accessible to everyone including those in wheelchairs,” says Ellen Blake of Living Streets Aotearoa.

Dixon Street, between Taranaki and Victoria Streets, and Lower Cuba Street, between Manners and Wakefield Streets, will be “open” from 1pm – 4pm with the vibrant Batucada Wellington band kicking off the fun.

Throughout the afternoon there’ll be bicycle skills sessions and challenges, a treasure hunt digging out ‘unique features’ of both Dixon and Lower Cuba Streets, roti making demonstrations by local Malaysian restaurant Little Penang, Argentinian and Italian specialities from La Casa Caffe, delicious treats from Lazeeza Mediterranean, tasty delights from Satay Kajang and great deals in store from Memphis Belle.

Wellington choir Doubtful Sounds will perform and there’ll be an open mike for budding artists to sing and entertain. Carparking spaces will be filled with creations and works-in-progress from the Wellington Sculpture Trust.
Kids - and kids at heart - are encouraged to bring their hopscotch talents, rollerblades, scooters, bicycles and skateboards to Open Street Sunday.
“Bring your deck chairs, beanbags, friends and family and recapture the joy of playing in your neighbourhood streets.”


ends

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