MEDIA RELEASE: Public Reaction Ends Innovating Streets Martinborough Trial

3 August 2021

A small change to Martinborough’s square to trial how we may improve road safety, cycling, and the
pedestrian experience divided our community and led to some ugly behaviours targeted at our staff
and contractors. For the sake of their health and safety we have chosen to cancel the Innovating
Streets trial.

Unfortunately, discussion by parts of the community focused on the aesthetics of the square and
impact on amenities and parking, rather than the important conversation about improving the safety
of the growing numbers of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. Disagreement with our process has
also overshadowed the benefits the trial could bring.

Innovating Streets has been run internationally for some time now, with some amazing results. It has
been trialled successfully in parts of New Zealand as well. Feedback during trials have been used to
make improvements to enhance the experience. Waka Kotahi know from these experiences that
most communities refrain from engaging, even noticing communication until they see a physical
change in their environment. Our view had been that until Innovating Streets is installed, and
people are able to experience it for themselves, then only will true appreciation start to filter
through a community. We regret this has been denied our town.

We are grateful to the many who have helped bring it together. The Council thanks them all for their
vision and help. A special thanks goes to Waka Kotahi for the funding and advice, and Boffa Miskell
for project management. We also offer heartfelt thanks to Ventana Creative, Becs Reilly, Andy Shaw,
Johnson Brothers, and the children at Martinborough School for the designs, painting, and
construction. Thank you also to the local vineyards that provided us with wine barrels, and last but
not least, council staff and councillors who supported the initiative.

There have been many learnings from this experience, and we look forward to a future where we
can once again have these hard conversations about road safety before we commit to more ‘hard
engineering’ solutions.

Harry Wilson
Chief Executive, South Wairarapa District Council


Media contact: Sheil Priest, Communications & Engagement Manager
South Wairarapa District Council
Mob: 027 252 2863

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