Streets for People co-design workshops to kick off in February
Published on December 19, 2022
In February Whanganui District Council will commence the first community co-design workshops for the Waka Kotahi-funded ‘Streets for People’ projects on lower St Hill Street and Guyton Street.
Back in September, the council’s town centre regeneration team successfully secured $1.26m of central government funding through Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to work directly with the community to co-design and trial a range of streetscape improvements. The goal is to improve public transport connections, enhance safety and convenience for pedestrians and cyclists – and make both streets more inviting, people-friendly spaces to visit, not just travel through.
The council’s general manager, community, property and places, Sarah O’Hagan, says this external funding will be split across two projects – with Guyton Street likely to include a range of streetscape improvements to the road and pathways, and lower St Hill Street to focus more specifically on supporting public transport, including the new 2023 high frequency bus route.
“The first community co-design workshop will be for the lower St Hill Street project and will be held in the first week of February 2023. One of the key focus areas will be talking about how a public transport hub next to the Trafalgar Square car park (near the existing bus stops) might look. The goal will be to create a visually-attractive, people-friendly space where bus users can relax and take shelter while waiting for their connecting bus.”
“These initial workshops will be a chance to communicate the scope of the projects to our community partners and for us to hear how our town would like to see the spaces developed. We want to make sure what’s provided on lower St Hill Street suits the community,” Sarah O’Hagan says.
The high frequency bus route begins in late February. The community will be consulted on the lower St Hill Street transport hub in the first part of 2023, before the design is finalised, and hub construction will begin after June 2023. This timeframe will give both the council and community stakeholders time to see how the new high frequency bus route works and develop a design to best support it.
The proposed public transport hub is part of a move to make public transport easier to use and more accessible in our region – with Horizons having also recently secured a central government Transport Choices grant which will see up to 15 new bus shelters and real-time bus signage across the Whanganui network.
“Later in February the council will also hold the first co-design workshops for the Guyton Street streetscape project, so keep an eye out for more detail around dates,” Sarah O’Hagan says.
The central business district section of Guyton Street (between St Hill and Wicksteed streets) is an area that the council has received a lot of community feedback on over recent years – most notably from the Guyton Group Trust, which has advocated for works to beautify it and improve safety.
Leslie Stead, who heads the Trust, says they’re looking forward to working with the council and community partners to come up with a plan to breathe new life into the street.
“We’re passionate about Guyton Street and its history, and we believe it has potential to become an important new creative precinct in Whanganui. So we’re extremely excited about the opportunity to work as a community to brainstorm ideas on how to make it a safer, more beautiful space that’s inviting for foot traffic and better connected to the rest of the CBD.”
Both the St Hill Street and Guyton Street workshops will feature two session time slots (in the daytime and evening) to help ensure as many community stakeholders as possible can fit a workshop into their schedule. February has been chosen to avoid the Christmas rush and give people a chance to enjoy a break through January.
Following these initial workshops, the council will present a summary of the feedback they gather back to the wider community before holding the second workshops to finalise detailed designs. Infrastructure for the public transport hub is expected to be installed during the June-December period, to then monitor and assess through to the first half of 2024.
The council is directly inviting stakeholders on Guyton and St Hill streets to take part in the workshops, with members of the wider community also very welcome to attend. You can register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org