Healthy active streets are vital for our wellbeing.

Healthy Families Hutt Valley is working together with Hutt City Council and our communities to make the Hutt a place where we are active together, feel safer, happier and healthier and more connected.

Safe and pleasant routes between home and key local destinations like shops, work, cafes, schools and libraries strengthen our connection to our city and each other.

To demonstrate what healthy vibrant public spaces can be like, Healthy Families Hutt Valley in partnership with Love Wainuiomata hosted their second Wicked Wheels event in October.

More than 60 people on bikes and scooters of all kinds filled Wainuomata’s Queen Street for a celebration of how to get active and have fun through play.

Wicked Wheels, showcased the many and varied ways to have fun on wheels.

It was also an opportunity to collect insights to inform how best to create active and bike-friendly streets and neighbourhoods.

Whānau at the event, who were encouraged to cycle there, had fun at a dedicated bike rodeo that included a bike ramp and jumps and a special obstacle course.

Healthy Families Hutt Valley City Design Lead Mark Shanks, said the first steps to creating bike friendly neighbourhoods were to illustrate how to get active and have fun on a bike, while identifying if any barriers existed to people using their bikes.

“Events like Wicked Wheels showcase cycling as a fun and safe activity that the whole family can enjoy, by bringing cycle-related play right into the centre of town.

“It also gives us the chance to talk to people about cycling and share what is available for cyclists in Wainuiomata and Lower Hutt.

“There are many awesome cycling opportunities in Wainuiomata, it begins with kids riding bikes to and from school and getting around town to their sport practices and games, and visiting friends.”

Wicked Wheels is part of a wider Streets Alive approach between Healthy Families Hutt Valley and Hutt City Council.

The approach centres on putting people’s health and wellbeing at the centre of Council’s planning and urban design decisions about what the city would look like in the future, to ensure the city worked for people who wanted to get around and have fun on a bicycle.

NZ Transport Agency Lead Advisor, Urban Mobility, Claire Pascoe, said there were a host of benefits from making urban areas easy for people to travel around without getting in their car.

“Towns and cities that provide people with healthy transport options that allow them to connect with the people and nature around them are great places to live, work, play and explore.”

Mark said the data and experiences gathered at Wicked Wheels is a way of providing community voice which will inform future planning for both Healthy Families Hutt Valley and Hutt City Council.

“The movement for active transport and transport autonomy is inseparable from healthy streets, play, and placemaking. In all cases public space is re-imagined – not only how it looks and how healthy it is, but how we move across it and what we do in it while we are there.”

“Destinations not only need to be cycle and walk friendly but they also need to be attractive. The destination itself needs to be a place that the community wants to connect with and use.”

Imagine if our streets supported our people to get active and play while connecting with their city and each other.