What do you think Nelson’s City Centre could look like in the future?

We want your feedback and ideas on how to make it a place bustling with activity, where everyone can move about freely and safely, with space to recreate, rest a while and enjoy what Nelson has to offer.

COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work and interact with one another. The way we think about our public spaces, and how we use them may also have changed. Nelson City Council is seeking your feedback as we re-evaluate our city centre to determine if it’s still meeting our community’s needs, or if it’s time for a rethink.

If we are going to make a change, we need your help. We’ve put together three semi-permanent options to increase the amenity and walkability of our city centre in Trafalgar, Bridge and Hardy Streets, areas we know carry the highest number of pedestrians. The beauty of these options is that they can be constructed quickly, are reversible and adaptable and minimise construction effects on business. There is also a fourth option – to keep the existing streetscape as it is.

To help us make a change, Council has applied for a grant from a new Innovating Streets for People fund, aimed at helping councils create more people friendly spaces.

Please take the time to review the information provided below, and think about how you want our city centre to look in the future.

Nelson City Council identified the city centre as one of its top four priorities in our Long Term Plan. A safe walkable Nelson was identified as one of its six key moves to create a successful, people-focused regional heart in the City Centre Programme.

Investment in better streets and places delivers quantifiable commercial returns. Businesses, residents, developers and visitors all benefit from investment in the public realm and walkability.

With these objectives in mind, Council is looking at how we can further develop a thriving, vibrant, forward-thinking city centre that welcomes and encourages more pedestrian activity now and in the years to come.

More detail on the "Why" can be seen in the webinar

Council has developed three possible options for how to increase the amenity, safety and walkability of our city centre by making more space for pedestrians. All of these options are semi-permanent and can be constructed using a range of removable and adaptable kit including raised wooden platforms, planter boxes, seating furniture, and street markings. They can be used as a trial of how we might want to use public space into the future, similar to how we approached the pedestrian mall trials for Upper Trafalgar Street.

Council has temporarily reduced the speed limit within the city centre from 50km/hr to 30km/hr – it is proposed that this measure will remain in place for all of the options discussed below.

As our highest pedestrian areas, the options being considered for footpath widening focus on Trafalgar Street and the southern (sunny) sides of Bridge and Hardy Streets.

Trafalgar Street, between Halifax and Hardy Streets, provides 134 angle car parks. Hardy Street provides 25 parallel parks on the southern side and Bridge Street provides 36 parallel parks on the southern side. The options will reduce the number of carparks outside businesses. The exact number will be determined by any final design, considering your feedback, and the need to address any concerns about access, deliveries and other needs.

Options 1 to 3 involve partial or full reallocation of selected parking spaces and/or lanes closest to the kerb edge to create a larger area for people to walk, and in the case of option 3 to walk and cycle.

Options 1 to 2 can be easily removed and adapted if needed. The footpath can be made wider using decking and planters. In contrast, the measures in option 3 could also be tactical and reversible or they could be more permanent. If a more permanent solution is desired this may require further public consultation before it can be implemented.

Option 4 is to leave the existing footpaths and car parking the way they currently are.

These four options are described in more detail below.

All the proposed options require further exploration through more detailed design once Council has received public feedback. Your feedback will help shape the final design. Council is conscious of the need to provide for all levels of accessibility as well as service delivery, queuing, outdoor dining and pick up zones.

Materials might include non-slip timber decking on a metal frame (similar to the successful redesign of Auckland’s High Street), planter boxes, ground graphics, signage and managed servicing. Quality, robust materials that support safe movement and places for people is seen as key to achieving a successful outcome

For options 1 to 3, some help from Government may come in the form of funding from the New Zealand Transport Agency’s Innovating Streets for People fund, which supports projects using “tactical urbanism” techniques such as pilots and pop-ups, or interim treatments that make it safer and easier for people walking and cycling in the city. Up to $900,000 of funding is being sought by Council from the Innovative Streets for People fund which can be used if Council decides to go ahead with any of options 1 to 3 (outcome will be known by mid-June).

In addition, Council receives up to 51% funding assistance rates (FARs) for local transport projects from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA). It is difficult to say how much government funding versus rates funding will make up each of the options until they are designed and funding applications are decided upon.

Options 1 to 3 will involve different levels of budget considerations in addition to any Government funding.

To give you an idea of likely costs, a range of potential effects on rates has been provided below. The range accounts for different levels of government funding that might be obtained.

The capital works required for options 1 to 3 could increase rates by the following. Note the difference between 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 costs is based on the assumption that any option would only start construction in the second half of the financial year 2020/2021.

To provide some context, Councils existing Transport budget for 2020/2021 is $15 million, and of that $1.2 million is allocated for footpath works. A top up of $5 million has been provisionally set aside for implementation of any of options 1 to 3 should Council decide to do any works after considering public feedback gained from this survey.

Option 1:

Estimated Cost - Up to $3.1 million

Estimated Cost per rating unit 2020 / 2021 - $3 to $4

Estimated Cost per rating unit 2021 / 2022 - $8 to $10

Option 2:

Estimated Cost - Up to $4.7 million

Estimated Cost per rating unit 2020 / 2021 - $6 to $7

Estimated Cost per rating unit 2021 / 2022 - $13 to $17

Option 3*:

Estimated Cost - $800,000 to $12 million

Estimated Cost per rating unit 2020 / 2021 - $1 to $17

Estimated Cost per rating unit 2021 / 2022 - $2 to $45

Option 4:

Estimated Cost - $0

Estimated Cost per rating unit 2020 / 2021 - $0

Estimated Cost per rating unit 2021 / 2022 - $0


* The small end of the scale for option 3 provides for tactical treatment similar to Upper Trafalgar Street while the larger end of the scale would provide for premium paving from shop door to shop door and levelling of the whole area. If Option 3 were preferred, this could be undertaken as a trial similar to how we did Upper Trafalgar Street and then if successful there would need to be a further public consultation process under Pedestrian Mall provisions which would include conceptual design and costing options should there be a desire to make it permanent.

Option 1

6m footpaths (total width) both sides of Trafalgar Street (from Halifax to Hardy Streets) with parallel parking both sides, and 6m footpath (total width) Hardy and Bridge Streets south side only.

This option provides for greater pedestrian space but changes permanent angle car parking to parallel parking on both sides of Trafalgar Street, and reduces parallel parking on Hardy and Bridge Streets to one side only.

Outdoor dining and drop off and pick up zones along Hardy and Bridge Streets will need to be accommodated within the design.

Option 2

8.5m footpaths (total width) both sides of Trafalgar Street (from Halifax to Hardy Streets) with no parking and 6m footpaths (total width) Hardy and Bridge Streets south side only.

Option 2 provides for more pedestrian space but removes all car parking from Trafalgar Street and, as for Option 1, reduces parallel parking on Hardy and Bridge Streets to the southern (sunny) side only. Outdoor dining along Hardy and Bridge Streets will need to be accommodated within the design.

The extra width provides more space for dining, gathering, rest areas and planter boxes and is safer for micro-mobility users, areas outside shops and businesses, informal gathering, planter boxes, and is safer for micro-mobility.

Removal of all parking in Trafalgar Street removes any parking/pedestrian conflicts that are present with option 1.

By removing all parking in Trafalgar Street there is an opportunity to provide drop off/pick up zones and/or to narrow the width of the traffic lanes as they are currently extra wide to serve angle parking. This would slow traffic speeds in Trafalgar Street.

Option 3

Close Trafalgar Street to vehicles (from Halifax to Hardy Streets) and 6m footpaths (total width) Hardy and Bridge Streets south side only.

Option 3 provides for Trafalgar Street to be closed to vehicles, which could occur during the week or on weekends only – we are interested in your feedback on this.

As for options 1 and 2, this option also reduces parallel parking on Hardy and Bridge Streets to the southern (sunny) side only. Outdoor dining along Hardy and Bridge Streets will need to be accommodated within the design.

Pedestrians could freely move along Trafalgar St between Hardy and Halifax Streets, some or all of the time, depending on the final design. This could be achieved by a combination of measures including road painting, planters and/or wooden footpath extensions similar to the measures taken on Upper Trafalgar Street. Or it could take the form of a more permanent paved and levelled public space.

This option could be initiated as a trial – a chance to try it out and see if we like it, similar to the process Council went through for Upper Trafalgar Street. Alternatively, closing the roads to cars could be restricted to just Saturdays and events, when our main street is busiest. Depending on whether feedback supports this as a temporary or more permanent option, it may require a formal consultation process (in addition to this public feedback process), similar to that undertaken for the Upper Trafalgar Street pedestrian mall. There would also need to be pedestrian treatments at the intersections of Trafalgar, Hardy and Bridge Streets to ensure pedestrian priority as vehicles cross the city.

Option 4

Option 4 retains the current configuration of footpaths and car parking in the city centre.

This option makes no improvement to the amenity, safety and walkability of the city centre. No additional spending is required for this option. It would not qualify for funding from the Government’s Innovating Streets for People fund.