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Colourful art, strategically placed safety features, plants, seating and tables were all deployed to slow traffic and create a community heart directly outside the shops and Russell School.
At the same time as the work in Fantame Street was done, safety improvements were installed at the Castor Crescent and Fantame Street intersections with Warspite Avenue to make people safer crossing those side streets, and calm traffic as it enters the area of Fantame Street.
Completed in September 2021, the project used the ‘tactical urbanism’ process, a first for Porirua. It was a collaboration between the ‘Engineroom’, a committed group of community volunteers, and the Council.
As soon as the new layout was installed for trying out, it was proving effective; 85 per cent of the cars passing the shops and Russell School started travelling well under the survivable speed of 30kph. Following monitoring and community feedback, the layout has been adapted by shifting some of its moveable materials – see below.
The project was implemented by Council and largely funded by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s (Waka Kotahi) Innovating Streets fund with supporting funding from Kāinga Ora (Porirua Development) and the Council.
The project was born out of long-standing community concerns about speeding vehicles, crashes and near misses, and the strong neighbourhood spirit around Russell School and the heart of Fantame Street.
Other streets in eastern Porirua experience many of the same issues, some worse than Fantame was. But Fantame Street was the right place for Porirua’s first go at using the new tactical urbanism process, due to having lower traffic volumes, a small neighbourhood centre with few intersections, and a strong neighbourhood culture anchored by Russell School and Pukerau Kōhanga.
Council’s new Road Safety Strategy prioritises several other streets in eastern Porirua for safety improvement works through Council’s regular transport programme.
Porirua artist, Nick Meli
In February and March 2021 the Engine Room group of community members worked intensively with Council in a five-week process to co-design the improvements to be made on the street for people to try out.
You can read more about the co-design process and experiences in the co-design report Summary of Community Co-design Workshops
In February and March 2021 the Engineroom group of community members worked intensively with Council in a five-week process to co-design the improvements to be made on the street for people to try out.
During this intensive period additional workshops were held with young people, primary school children, parents, and the wider community to hear their views on designs for the street.
You can check out photos of our progress, workshops, Russell School tamariki involvement and the street party here, and can read the detailed project updates below.
During May 2021 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. These features were installed on Fantame Street and the intersections with Fawn and Falcon streets, plus the Castor Crescent and Fantame Street intersections with Warspite Avenue.
In late May a large street party was held to introduce people to the new look Fantame Street and to kick-off the feedback period.
In June and July 2021 feedback was sought on the initial layout and lots of community comments were received and gathered through surveys, feedback postcards, walk-throughs for community members and from Russell School kids. Monitoring of the street also took place during this time. The initial results showed that despite comparing winter with summer and other challenges, the new configuration is having a good effect on people’s behaviour and is calming traffic in Fantame Street.
You can view our monitoring and evaluation report here The monitoring and evaluation results of Porirua City’s People Changing Streets
Part of the kaupapa for a tactical urbanism project like this is to move things around on the street if monitoring and community feedback show that’s needed.
During the feedback period people said they weren’t happy with the initial changes to the vehicle parking in front of the Fantame Street shops. Reducing the number of parks and changing the layout from angle to parallel parking has significantly reduced the danger to people from reversing cars on the busy street, and made room for places for people to sit, meet and relax.
However, parking is important for many people wanting to shop and take loads of washing into the laundromat. So in the spirit of tactical urbanism, Council and the co-design Engineroom decided to add additional car parking and a dedicated footpath on Fawn Street, directly around the corner from the shops. That way, the design keeps spaces for people to gather as well as providing 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, were also made in response to feedback and monitoring.
Council is always looking at how better to engage with communities, and streets are an important focus for community involvement. Waka Kotahi’s new Innovating Streets for People programme offered significant funding and support for councils around the country to try out tactical urbanism for street improvement, and the Fantame Street Neighbourhood project seized this opportunity. See the Innovating Streets for People website for more information and case studies from the programme.
Fantame Street’s improved layout is expected to be in place for several years. This will provide the community with a long-term opportunity to consider whether the street layout is serving the neighbourhood well. Porirua Development and Porirua City Council will use this intel to decide if the improvements to the streets should be made permanent, as part of the wider redevelopment of eastern Porirua.
Porirua’s first experience of using tactical urbanism has generated lots of insights for Council and the community partners. Council, Porirua Development, and Wesley Community Action all see value in investing in collaborative innovation in Porirua.
This project involved a massive effort from all sorts of people who put energy in from the community to make things happen. Special thanks go to the Engineroom (our community co-design group of 14 passionate locals), plus Wesley Community Action, Russell School, Pukerau Kōhanga, and artists Nina Nimarota and Liana Leiataua.
Our Engineroom members were: