Innovating Streets – Nelson South is a finalist in the Excellence in Project Innovation Category of the 2022 IPWEA NZ Asset Management Excellence Awards.

The Innovating Streets – Nelson South project was generated from the ground up through the local community seeking safer and calmer streets because of significant concerns around the speed and volume of vehicles travelling through the neighbourhood. The transformational residential urban change achieved has exceeded everyone’s expectations.

This Nelson South project resulted from being a successful applicant for the Waka Kotahi led and sponsored, Innovating Streets for People programme.

Problem Statement

  1. Increased through-traffic is severing the community, causing barriers to community connectivity and accessibility to key community destinations, impacting community safety, health, and wellness.
  2. High traffic speeds and poorly designed urban street space make Nelson South unwelcome, causing lower numbers of pedestrians, and people on bikes.


The Innovative Streets project was established to test, monitor and mitigate through-traffic that is severing the community and test innovative interventions that will increase the sustainability and liveability of this urban residential space.


The key objectives of the project are:

  • Create an innovative street concept through Council and Waka Kotahi endorsement.
  • Develop a community empowered, evidence-based approach.
  • Reduce through-traffic.
  • Increase levels of service for active mode uptake.
  • Make a safer residential space for all road users of all abilities.
  • Increase levels of community connectivity and safety (statistical or perceived).
  • Build understanding and capability within the community of safer transport systems and infrastructure.


Empower the community and undertake collaborative design that realises the community desired outcome.

The project commenced in early 2020 and was completed in mid-2021.

The project comprises an urban residential area block encompassing the following roads:

  • Boundary Road
  • Kawai Street South from Boundary Road to Motueka Street (Nelson CBD side)
  • Tipahi Street from Kawai Street South to Motueka Street (Nelson CBD side)
  • Tukuka Street

Asset Management Principles

The project is delivering on three separate forms of innovation for New Zealand:

  1. The project’s non-traditional community engagement, pop up events and collaborative design approach to the project delivery.
  2. To inform future council development and network opportunities, the implementation of tactical urbanism across a residential area of five blocks. This project is one of the most significant residential tactical urbanism projects in New Zealand.
  3. The project is seeking opportunities to collaborate across non-transport organisations for the more significant benefit of sustainable community outcomes, led through transport-based delivery.

Creating Community Hubs

The overall intent of the project is to create a healthy and thriving community. Therefore, the project seeks to provide three community hubs as anchors for the project. These spaces will be key destinations within the project area, including

  1. Nelson South Kindergarten, creating a younger people’s hub with the coloured planter boxes and bright colours at the intersections and the courtesy cross by the kindergarten, creating a more exciting journey to and from kindergarten and a much slower speed zone.
  2. Nelson Intermediate school frontage as an active mode hub, enhancing the existing school infrastructure, such as the cycling pump track and new skate/scooter half pipe and skate park area, extending footpaths to shared paths and buildouts, install a bike repair station, and provide seating to encourage the community to use the space.
  3. The Pollinator Park, developed to form an education hub, regeneration of unused land and promoted pollinating insert within the residential area

Phase One Focus Areas

Slowing Traffic

Slowing traffic was one of the most vital themes for community engagement. Two key community stories guided the main ideas for the design elements for slowing traffic. Firstly, from a local older person who delivers community newspapers and advertising material and is vision impaired found the three main intersections within the project area challenging to cross. Traffic volumes and speed were key concerns. The second was from the Nelson South Kindergarten staff and parents who were concerned about the risk to pupils having easy unimpeded access to Kawai Street South.

Slowing traffic at intersections

The first step proposed slowing traffic and creating interim speed humps or raised crossings on the three main intersections within the project area. Using the intersections and installing the provisional raised crossing allowed the project to create a 4-way Stop, compared with the current priority through lane. Suggesting he creation of a 4-way Stop and the added interim raised crossing would provide a practical first step to trialling change within the community and breaking the flow of traffic.

Slowing traffic at midblock

The interim midblock traffic-slowing measure in front of the Nelson South Kindergarten on Kawai Street South reduces vehicle speeds and increase safety for pedestrians. This measure was in response to the kindergartens’ concerns and stories around student safety and the notion of making school journeys more enjoyable. The concept plans were to create usable community spaces within interim buildouts including bright coloured planter type boxes for the two buildout areas such as community spaces, picnic table areas, and community garden spaces.

Phase 1 Implementation

Phase Two Focus Areas

Creating Greenways and Shared Spaces for safer cycling

Phase 2 developed safer walking and cycling facilities, seeking to connect essential journeys between the community with key destinations, such as the Nelson Intermediate School and the Railway Reserve walking and cycling path. This Phase will include threshold treatments on each of the four roads, Boundary Road, Kawai Street South, Tipahi Street and Tukuka Street as placing making, greenways for cycling, more planting and buildouts and road art.

Collaboration across non-transport organisations

The working group developed two supplementary projects during Phase 2, School Bike Library and a community Pollinator Park. The bike library encourages the use of the newly established greenways and shared spaces and provides bikes for students without a means to commute to school. In partnership Enviroschools developed the community pollinator park with Nelson Intermediate. The students planted this area with native and fruit trees to promote pollinating insect habitats. This area is a learning hub for the students and public with information boards and a picnic bench.