The New Zealand government has decided to provide additional funding to help councils expand footpaths and unveil temporary cycleways to help people maintain two metres distance after the level 4 lockdown is lifted.

New Zealand Transport Associate Minister Julie Anne Genter has said that the government wants to provide enough space to the people for social distancing when they return to city centres following the lockdown.

Genter said: “Some of our footpaths in busy areas are quite narrow. Temporary footpath extensions mean people can give each other a bit more space without stepping out onto the road.”

The financial assistance for the project will be provided by the Innovating Streets for People pilot fund.

It is part of a wide programme that supports projects using tactical urbanism techniques including pilots and pop-up, interim treatments that make it safer and easier for people walking and cycling in the city.

 Genter added: “Footpath extensions would use basic materials like planter boxes and colourful paint to carve out a bit more space in the street for people walking, like we’ve seen on High street and Federal street in Auckland.

“A number of cities around the world, including New York, Berlin and Vancouver, have rolled out temporary bike lanes to provide alternatives to public transport, which people may be less inclined to use in the short term.

According to the Transport minister, highly-visible plastic posts, planter boxes and other materials could be used to create temporary separated cycleways.

Councils can now start applying for funding from the Transport Agency now, but work cannot commence until the lockdown ends.

The NZ Transport Agency will cover 90% of the cost of rolling out the temporary streetscape changes.