A trial underway in Pukekohe’s King Street will create places to gather, eat and shop by bringing food and businesses on to the street.
Led by Panuku Development and Auckland Transport with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency funding, the Pukekohe Streets for People project is trialling a one-way section for King Street while marking outdoor spaces with concrete barriers.
In response to public feedback, Franklin Local Board and Panuku have agreed changes over the coming weeks to improve the look of the temporary installations.
“There’s support for activating the street and lanes, relocating the market, and events such as the Veggie Basket Festival on 15 May, which we want the changes in place for,” said Board chair, Andy Baker.
“It’s a trial, so nothing is gold-plated. But we expect a certain level of quality and Panuku agrees. No-one wants to spend a fortune on a trial, but we can do better.”
Panuku priority location director, Richard Davison has asked the community to suspend judgement.
“This is the first step in a process to test the concept’s safety and functionality. We’ll roll out improvements to make the area more attractive, such as tables and chairs and trialling the markets and festival in the square,” he said.
“While temporary, they’re things designed to bring more foot traffic to town.”
Deputy Mayor and Franklin ward councillor, Bill Cashmore said the trial needs to proceed so the impact on businesses can be understood.
“People need time to adjust their behaviour as they get used to the new layout. Different designs can be trialled, but the key point is to have a friendly and attractive town,” he said.
Local board member, Amanda Kinzett says the market move will be a major step forward, appealing for patience, support for the area’s businesses, and for drivers to not use the street as a thoroughfare.
“The market operator is excited by the move, which will bring people to town, and it’s important to remember the concepts being trialled are what locals told us they wanted,” she said.
“We’ve had a good discussion after a bumpy start and now it’s important we ensure we’re supporting the businesses we’re trying to help.”
The first trial makes King Street one-way east from Hall Street to create a safe walking and crossing points. Longer-term that would require Massey / Manukau Road and Stadium Drive / East Street intersection upgrades, but Council says that including those in the trial would be impractical.
Devon Lane is also temporarily one-way, creating walking spaces and improving road safety and access from Farmers’ car park to town.
Mr Davison says a trial approach means Panuku can tweak ideas as the project advances.
“King Street runs to the end of June but that doesn’t mean waiting to act on public or board concerns. We are listening and can adjust things based on feedback. We’ll also be surveying people and monitoring traffic and pedestrian flows.”
The future of King Street and Devon Lane’s trials will be assessed from the end of June.