A report to the Waitamata local board shows that the shared space on Fort St has been a success and approval has been given to carry on with stage three of the upgrade which will introduce another share space at the eastern end of the street. Here is the executive summary of the report:
The purpose of this report is to communicate results of the Fort Street (Stage 1) shared space evaluation and seek the Board’s support for the shared space design proposed for Stage 3 of the Fort Street upgrade.
The results of the evaluation indicate that the performance of the shared space in Fort Street (Stage 1) has thus far been successful. Stage 1 comprises Jean Batten Place, Fort Lane and the western end of Fort Street between Commerce Street and Queen Street. Stage 2 extends from Commerce Street to Gore Street and includes the section of Fort Street that runs between them. Stage 3 covers the eastern End of Fort Street running between Gore Street and Customs Street East.
A key objective of the project was to improve pedestrian amenity and to create a more attractive environment for people. Feedback from users indicates that people find the space more attractive with a majority keen to keep visiting the area in the same or greater frequency than they did before. Counts suggest that pedestrian volumes have increased in the area (more than 50% in peak hours), vehicle volumes have decreased (more than 25%) as have average vehicle speeds (to approximately 20 km/h). User feedback has shown that vehicle travel time delays through the area are minimal (6-11 seconds), delivery agents have found it ‘much easier’ to make their deliveries in the new shared space environment and people feel much safer in the area. Moreover, property owners (75%) revealed that they see value in being located near a shared space. Further detail on the evaluation results can be found in the attached document.
There is some pretty good results in here, pedestrian volumes up 50% during peak hours, traffic volumes down, minimal traffic delays, delivery vehicles are finding things much easier and property owners are happy which I think is an astounding result and a testament to the hard work put in to get this project going. Stage 3 was designed at the same time as the first two stages but was delayed pending the outcome of this evaluation. After getting the feedback the report says that there was only one commercial tenant, located in the stage 2 section, that was unhappy with proceeding on to stage 3.
Here are the key results out of the evaluation:
- User Perceptions – improved
- Highly positive perception of users
- 91% of surveyed users highly complementary about the area post upgrade
- Foot Traffic – increased
- More than 50% increase in pedestrian numbers in peak hours
- Peak hour count of 7400 pedestrians using the area, up from 4800 in 2009
- Pedestrian Environment – improved
- Majority of pedestrians and drivers believe pedestrians have priority
- In reality, data indicates pedestrians assume priority when pedestrian numbers are 1000+ per hour. Vehicles tend to be given priority otherwise.
- 52% of surveyed users felt there were still to many cars in the shared spaces
- Vehicle traffic – reduced
- 1470 less vehicles per day using Fort St
- 2009 count of 6170 vehicles, 2011 count 4700
- 1000 less vehicles per day using Jean Batten Place
- 2009 count 2918 vehicles, 2011 count 1918
- Reduced Vehicle Speeds
- 5-9km per hr reduction in Fort St
- 2-8km per hr reduction in Jean Batten place
- 25% of surveyed users felt vehicle traffic should be more restricted
- 75% of delivery services found it ‘much easier’ to make their deliveries
- 1470 less vehicles per day using Fort St
- Safety – improved
- Over 80& of surveyed users felt ‘very safe’ in the area
- Greatly improved perceptions of safety at night time
- Minority (5%) of users felt the space was dangerous/confusing/unsafe for pedestrians
- Distinct destination – more analysis required
- Anecdotal evidence suggesting the area now has a broader appeal as
- Fewer people feel there is nothing special about the area
- Economic performance - inconclusive
- Limited economic information presently available
- Areas to be measured in coming years
- Property values
- Vacancy rates and sales data
- Retail turnover
- Consumer spend
- 75% of property owners saw value in being located near a shared space
As I said earlier, these are some great results and the local board along with the CBD Advisory board have approved for stage 3 to go ahead. Personally I tend to go down there at least once a week and love the improvements, the place is a far cry from the grotty area it was not that long ago and it has been great to see new private development happening to really maximise on these improvements. In time I think this will become one of the best areas in the CBD and it would be great to see a few more areas given the same treatment.