Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Changing Porirua driver behaviour

Work done to improve safety and traffic flow through Fantame Street in eastern Porirua is paying off, with 85% of drivers passing the shops and Russell School now travelling well under 30km/h.

Porirua Mayor, Anita Baker says the change in driver behaviour was a direct result of the traffic-calming improvements made to the heart of the Cannons Creek street through the People Changing Streets project.

The project was implemented by Porirua City Council and largely funded by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s (Waka Kotahi) Innovating Streets fund.

Mayor Baker says the project was born out of long-standing community concerns about speeding vehicles, crashes and near misses, and the strong neighbourhood spirit around the heart of Fantame Street.

Council worked with a group of local volunteers to co-design the changes.

Jacqui Edwards, a member of the volunteer co-design team, says she enjoyed being involved on behalf of the community group, Creeksiders.

“It’s been great to get involved in supporting some residents of Fantame Street to have a voice and an influence on some radical and major changes within their street,” she said.

In May, adjustable features, colourful street art, plants and seating were installed for the community to try out and give feedback on, and for the Council to monitor.

Safety improvements were also installed at the Castor Crescent and Fantame Street intersections with Warspite Avenue to slow traffic as it enters the area.

Since then, results of monitoring, surveying, research and community feedback shows the new configuration is positively changing behaviour and slowing traffic, Ms Edwards says.

“We also heard loud and clear that people weren’t happy with the original changes to the vehicle parking in front of the Fantame Street shops. In reducing the number of parks and changing the layout from angle to parallel parking we have reduced the danger from reversing cars on the busy street, plus created places for people to sit, meet and relax – something we think will be popular in the summer months.”

“However, we know parking is important for many people wanting to shop and take loads of washing into the laundromat. As a result, we are adding in more parking on Fawn Street directly around the corner. That way, we provide a combination of spaces to gather and more parking.”

Other changes, such as moving some of the planter boxes around and some minor layout changes at the Castor Crescent and Fantame Street intersections with Warspite Avenue, are also being made in response to feedback.

Work on the new parking and other minor adjustments was delayed slightly due to Covid lockdown restrictions and are now scheduled to start this week and finish on 14 September, subject to weather.

The Council’s People Changing Streets project is one of many collaborative street-improvement projects rolling out across the country, fuelled by funding the Innovating Streets for People programme.

The new street layout is expected to be in place for several years. This will provide the community with a long-term opportunity to identify whether current design is fit for purpose. Porirua Development and Porirua City Council will use this information to decide If the improvements should be retained as part of the wider redevelopment of eastern Porirua, the Mayor said.

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