The Gore District Council remains committed to working with emergency services to ensure the Streets Alive trials do not compromise safety, Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said today.
Streets Alive is a series of initiatives to make Gore’s streets safer, more accessible, and people-friendly. It is one of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Innovative Streets projects and received $900,000 funding from the agency.
For the last month changes to road layouts and safety initiatives have been rolled out around Gore.
The changes include five new roundabouts at some of the town’s busier intersections, courtesy crossings to create safer opportunities to cross Gore’s wide streets, and the partial or full closure of five streets.
The initiatives would be trialled for the next three months. Community feedback would be a major factor in influencing what initiatives may become permanent.
Mr Hicks said the Council appreciates the changes have been challenging and that there will be some initiatives more successful than others.
There was considerable community engagement prior to the rollout of the trial, and the Streets Alive team has been talking with emergency services, bus operators and Gore Hospital since late last year, he said.
“Our emergency services are critical to our community’s wellbeing. While we need to remain true to the three month trials, we also need to make sure there are no changes that are deal breakers for them.”
Roading Asset Manager Peter Standring said he has been and was continuing to meet with emergency services to get their feedback.
“Emergency services and Gore Health have told us they are supportive of Streets Alive and will be providing us with feedback both during and at the end of the trials.
“Some of the initiatives we’ve put in, such as the low profile roundabouts, are as a result of discussions with them.”
Mr Standring said the Council appreciates the community’s concerns about the closure of Eccles Street and the perception it was causing delays to the hospital.
“We are monitoring this closely and have asked emergency services to raise any issues as they arise.
“Distance wise there is little difference. It’s about 264m longer for a vehicle travelling south on Main Street to go to the roundabout then along Crombie and Elsie streets to get to the hospital, instead of up Eccles Street and along Birch Lane.
Eccles Street was a busy street, Mr Standring said.
“It has people who live there, work there and who visit the hospital, school, and medical centre. On top of this, people use this route to get to State Highway 1 and as the desired route to the CBD.
“The trial closure is to disperse this through traffic to reduce the load on the street and make it safer for everyone, not only motorists,” Mr Standring said.
He also stressed the concrete planters were only temporary.
“The planters you see around town are temporary structures to trial where a permanent solution may be placed.
“They will be removed at the end of the trials and solutions, such as refuge islands and bulbous kerbs, may be installed if that’s the feedback we get.”