Innovating Streets

Update 30 April

Click here to view the concept design

SWDC have been working with contractor Boffa Miskell analysing community feedback and working on the design for the ‘Innovating Streets’ installation. This design will be the first iteration of a process which aims to enliven and engage community spaces. This temporary installation on the north-western side of the square will give a physical talking point and offer just one option for how the space could be used.  

Moving forward with a temporary installation will allow us to engage the community in a more meaningful way by giving people the opportunity to imagine new ways of using the area, how people can utilise public spaces, invoke greater engagement and to collect informed feedback.  

The installation will provide important passive safety measures and a traffic calming effect temporarily transforming the area into a destination zone rather than a car thoroughfare. As a result of this trial, SWDC hopes to make the area a more user friendly community space while slowing traffic and addressing safety concerns in an innovative way.

SWDC is working with Ventana Collective to engage local school children to submit road artwork ideas click here to view.  The top three designs will then be chosen not only for their artistic merit, but their appropriateness for the space as per feedback received, as well as fit within the legal limitations for road art.

The three ideas will be circulated giving the community the opportunity to vote on the road artwork to be implemented – please note this will not be an exact replication, rather used as inspiration for the artist engaged. Again, the road art will be painted with temporary road paint, and not a permanent fixture.

The timeline for this project is as follows:

Background – The temporary design installation has been finalised after feedback from the public. Speed data has been collected around the square and logistical organisation has started – such as organising builders, materials, and artists. There may be some roading work in Texas street, if the speed data show average speeds over 30 km per hour.

Early May – Local artist collective is organising local school children to submit artworks 

Mid May – The community votes on the top design.

Early June – Installation & Artwork begins.

Mid June – Installation opening.

Saturday events continue in weeks following.

There will be official avenues for feedback throughout this process – we stress that this is a temporary structure and discussion, feedback and learning is all part of this stage of the process – we welcome and encourage community involvement. We want the chance to hear all these voices and for people to visualise the opportunity in change.

What is Innovating Streets?

The Innovating Streets programme and the fund is about getting councils and communities to try using a ‘tactical urbanism’ approach to make urban streets more people friendly, see the programme’s website for more information
Tactical urbanism is about changing streets by piloting adaptive street improvements that have been co-designed with the locals.

What does this mean?

  • Each Innovating Streets project puts in street improvements that have been jointly designed with communities, to a “roughly right” stage.
  • The projects then install the improvements quickly, using adjustable, low-cost interim improvements like street art and traffic calming devices.
  • People get to experience these in real life and can give lots of richly informed feedback, which is different from traditional on-paper consultation.
  • People’s feedback on how things are working, alongside formal monitoring, enables the project team to quickly adjust and improve the street installations on site.
  • Once the installations are relatively stable, a longer period of trialling helps everyone understand what long-term street improvements work best for the space.

Why is this happening?

Feedback suggests that Martinborough Square has some issues around pedestrian safety; is surrounded by a busy and wide road, and is disconnected from the grassy seating areas of the Square and surrounding shops. SWDC identified that there is a good opportunity to use the Innovating Streets funding to trial potential solutions to these issues.

The aim with this project is to create a safer and attractive environment for pedestrians (locals and visitors); traffic calming to create a more people-focussed environment; and improving the sense of purpose of the area.

Update 2 February 2021
Update 22 September 2020

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