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A Network Of Safe Streets For People In Nelson South

Mayor Nick chatting with residents on Kawai Street at a residents pop-up meeting

There was a short delay due to a shortage of green paint, but the construction stage of Nelson’s latest Streets for People project is complete and now enters the trial phase.

This phase of the Streets for People project around Nelson Hospital is the follow up to phase one, the successful Innovating Streets project along Kawai Street South, completed in 2021.

This area of Nelson South was identified due to the high number of both drivers and active transport users and its proximity to schools. It was the first stage in creating a safer transport connection between the Railway Reserve and Waimea Road and successfully reduced speeds on roads including Kawai Street South, Tipahi Street South and Tukuka Street.

Residents in the Franklyn Street area, which has similar transport needs to the area around Kawai Street South, were introduced to phase two in December 2022.

This was the start of the award-winning Innovating Streets project, which successfully reduced speeds on roads such as Kawai Street South, Tipahi Street and Tukuka Street. This area of Nelson South was identified due to the high number of both drivers and active transport users and its proximity to schools. It was the first stage in creating a safer transport connection between the Railway Reserve and Waimea Road.

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Stage two, which focused on streets around the hospital between Motueka Street and Hampden Street, started with a series of on-street resident meetings, multiple letter drops, and a hospital staff survey. Contractors started the physical work in February 2024.

The result is a raised crossing on Motueka Street, raised tables on Tipahi Street and Franklyn Street, and speed cushions along Kawai Street. Multiple planter boxes and bollards have also been installed on these streets, and the shared pathway on Tipahi Street has been widened.

“Streets for People aims to make it safer and easier for people to use active modes of transport and improve the livability of streets for residents,” explains Acting Group Manager Infrastructure David Light. .

“Council highlighted several project aims including a reduction in vehicle speeds, a reduction in the volume of traffic, cleaner air, a safer network for active travel and a more ‘people-focused’ neighbourhood. ”

BEFORE: Motueka Street x Tipahi Street
AFTER: Motueka Street x Tipahi Street

The treatments have now been in place for several weeks and have begun to have an effect.

The first round of monitoring post construction was completed in early May and showed an immediate drop in speed. Pre-construction data showed that only 25% of vehicles on these streets traveled under 30kmh. Post-construction data shows that 64% of vehicles on Kawai Street and 46% of vehicles on Franklyn Street are now travelling under 30kmh.

The internationally accepted speed to greatly reduce the chances of a pedestrian being killed or seriously injured if struck by a vehicle is 30kmh. The death risk for a person driving at 50kmh is 80%; this drops to 10% when driving at 30kmph.

There has also been an increase in active transport along Tipahi Street with an additional 86 people walking, cycling or scootering along the new shared pathway in the morning.

Motueka Street has had a major shift in vehicle volumes at peak times. The 8am pre-construction count recorded 535 vehicles using the street in an hour. Post-construction, this has dropped to 387 vehicles. During peak traffic between 4pm and 5pm, pre-construction data showed 862 vehicles using the street. Post construction, this had dropped to 730 vehicles.

BEFORE: Franklyn Street x Kawai Street
AFTER: Franklyn Street x Kawai Street

Simon Duffy lives on Kawai Street and has seen the project from concept to completion.

“I commend Council for recognising the need to prioritise safety and taking action to address it,” says Simon.

“The positive impact of these improvements to Kawai St is evident, as residents and visitors can now navigate the street with more confidence and peace of mind. I hope this commitment to Streets for People and similar efforts are implemented throughout the city to create a safer road network for all.”

The ethos behind the Streets for People programme was to make it quicker and easier for councils to trial changes. It means that Council can take the time to get feedback from residents and to trial low-cost, temporary changes before making them permanent.

"As Council has moved through the project we have been able to make quick changes in response to feedback from residents,” says David.

“For instance, Council changed the tree in one of the planter boxes as residents didn’t want a tree that would grow to be too large. Residents on Franklyn Street had concerns about the placement of some cycle separators, which were relocated. Planter boxes on Hampden Street have also been relocated following comments from residents.”

All changes will be temporary for at least 12 months. If the changes are successful, they will become permanent.

Streets for People is an NZTA Waka Kotahi funded project. The budget for Nelson South was $1.4 million with Nelson City Council contributing $140,000.

This project is tracking under budget.

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