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Helping Kiwis Choose To Walk More Often

Press Release – For General and Immediate release

Who’s helping New Zealanders choose to walk more often?

On Friday 24th July 2009, Living Streets Aotearoa hosted The Golden Foot Awards. These inaugural national walking awards celebrate and acknowledge organisations that are helping people use their feet more often.

Project representatives and key officials gathered in Wellington on Friday evening to discover who the winners were and celebrate their success.  The awards, funded through New Zealand Transport Agency, were hosted by Living Streets Aotearoa presented by NZTA board member Alick Shaw. 

Despite tough competition, six projects were selected as category winners to receive the vivid golden jandals that are the 2009 Walking Award trophies.

The Twin Streams walk and cycleway in Waitakere won the best walking facility for a large scale sustainable stormwater management system that has incorporated new walking and cycleways which will serve as the backbone for active transport mode.

Sandy Mills, from Waitakere City Council, said ”This award is great, it will really give promoting walking a boost in the Auckland region. It’s a great project that links transport and recreation and is used by all ages.”

The first Puffin crossing in this country, in Hutt City, won the Accessibility Innovation Award. The signals on the side of the road by the pedestrian make it much easier for children and anyone with limited eyesight to see when to cross.

Other winners include The Great Perimeter walkway that surrounds Christchurch, 10,000 steps Northland, a campaign to promote healthy activity run by Sport Northland , the design for a subdivision in Cambridge and Buggy Walks, a programme to encourage caregivers with children in buggies to get out and about.  (more detail in attachment)

The awards were open to all groups and organisations in New Zealand and nominations included a wide variety of projects. Narrowly missing out on awards were some fantastic projects including Turanganui Riverside Walkway in Gisborne and Happy Feet a scheme to encourage kindergarten children to walk, through a series of fun activities.  Also highly commended was Bronte Davemport from Timaru whose school project looked at ways of improving a walking school bus and produced a ‘walking school bus stop sign’.

Living Streets President, Cr Celia Wade-Brown, says “Walking is incredibly important to all ages and the best places to visit are the most walkable. These Golden Foot awards make walking more visible part of our transport system. Engineering, policy, urban design, signage and promotion can all encourage safe and pleasant walking. Walking is part of almost every journey and a key driver of city centre economic prosperity. Walking more could cut our country’s health bills dramatically. It’s a delight to recognise some of the organisations that have made people’s steps a little easier.”

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