MEDIA RELEASE: Innovating Streets trial in Martinborough underway

2 February 2021

The Innovating Streets co-design process for the northern side of Martinborough Square has kicked off, after central government funding was secured to design and create a temporary, vibrant and safe space for socialising, increasing foot traffic and supporting local businesses via the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Innovating Streets Fund.

This trial was derived from community views that there was an issue around pedestrian safety and the need to increase connectivity between Kitchener Street and the Square. In response to these concerns, SWDC and project management and design consultancy firm, Boffa Miskell, have identified this as an opportunity to use the Innovating Streets funding to trial potential solutions.

South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen says this is the perfect opportunity to trial some fun and creative spaces and reduce traffic in a very busy area.

"Our residents have been raising safety concerns about speeding cars, safety of pedestrian crossings and lack of flow to the square for some time.

"This project gives us the chance to work with our communities to explore options to make use of the fantastic green space in the middle of our town, support local business and improve social wellbeing,” says Mayor Beijen.

SWDC and Boffa Miskell are currently engaging with the community to explore options that may include temporarily repurposing car parks, widening footpaths and installing seating. A business engagement workshop was held today, to ensure draft design concepts meet community needs and do not have any unintended impacts. This workshop was the first step in a longer co-design process that we’re asking the public to get involved in.

Projects under this fund are conducted under the ‘tactical urbanism’ approach where projects are co-designed with the community and street changes trialled in live environments. 

SWDC Group Manager Partnerships and Operations Euan Stitt says this is not a permanent fix.

“This initiative offers people the opportunity to trial concepts, seeking feedback so it can be adjusted or removed if it does not suit, eliminating the risk of investing in a permanent solution.”

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Urban Mobility Programme Manager Kathryn King says the Innovating Streets pilot fund supports quick, low-cost interim improvements that create more people friendly spaces in our neighbourhoods.

“By using a tactical urbanism approach to test what works for communities we can create attractive, vibrant places that make space for people and help to support local businesses. We’re pleased to support this project through the Innovating Streets pilot fund.” 

There will be an opportunity to give feedback both before and after the changes are put in place to evaluate the success of the trial and whether any permanent changes to the space are desirable. 

Information about Innovating Streets is available at www.nzta.govt.nz/roads-and-rail/innovating-streets/about, or if you would like to have your say on the South Wairarapa pilot, please email innovating.streets@swdc.govt.nz. Updates and information on how to give feedback will be available on our website and Facebook page once the project gets underway.

ENDS

Media contact
Jorja Bramley
027 2488 402
comms4@swdc.govt.nz

South Wairarapa District Council