Innovating Streets – Rostrevor Street: Success

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The biggest success from the Innovating Streets project came from council staff getting a very diverse group of people into the same room, asking them to suggest anything, then collecting ideas and representing them as a picture, and reviewing them again. We also need to give credit to Mayor Paula Southgate, Councillor Angela O’Leary (who opened one of the ideas workshops) and Councillor Sarah Thomson for attending some of the workshops and seeing the limits and the impossible challenges the council staff were up against from the start. For Rostrevor Street, the goals set by Waka Kotahi (NZTA) and those expected by city councillors varied between partially met and fully met. (See page 141 & 153 of the report.)

  • More accessible and inclusive to more people – Partially met
  • More attractive to more people and people stay longer on the street – Goal met
  • Enhance community pride in the space – Goal met
  • The West Town Belt ‘heart’ is experienced as one cohesive open space – Goal met

2.1 Raise awareness of mana whenua narratives amongst the wider community – Goal met

3.3 – Provide a safe place for people walking, scootering, and skateboading’ – Goal met

Anyone who has spent a small amount of time looking at the recent history of cities in the Netherlands or Germany will have seen city centres reactivated once motor vehicle through-traffic was reduced and on street car parking was removed. Even as recently as 2018 in Hamilton, Bryce Street was closed with no outcry or published measured negative effect. In terms of what the Innovating Streets project measured as effects of the closure, a good starting point is project update 3, which says ‘peak-time trips across the city regularly fluctuate by -/+ 5 minutes on an average journey’, followed by project update 5, which states ‘congestion is tailing off as people driving through the area adjust their habits’. From the ‘Rostrevor Street draft Monitoring and Evaluation Report’ page 157: ‘the analysis showed no change in traffic congestion or delay as a result of the closure of Rostrevor Street between Norton Road and Tristram Street’.  (page 157 – link)

Car parking, like congestion, is always a subject that leads to people wanting to find ‘alternative facts’ or ‘additional facts and alternative information’ (link to meaning). The ‘Rostrevor Street draft Monitoring and Evaluation Report’ page 157 survey measure showed ‘The impact on commuters of the removal of [Rostrevor St] on-street parking was neutral’.

Reports Conclusion – ‘There was no increase in congestion or any reduction in parking availability … the closure provided a safe place for people walking, biking, scootering, and skateboarding’ Page 162

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