Nelson City Council Hears Recommendations for Downtown Public Spaces

Nelson City-Hall

A presentation to Nelson City Council last week, May 23rd from Nelson at It's Best, summarized findings from a Public Space Initiative report.

Community feedback through the collaborative project heard the group encourage an experimental approach for three main themes: increased connectivity, accessibility and a pedestrian-centred Downtown.

Presenter George Chandler explains:

“…. With smaller, cheaper, quicker projects and initiatives that can be piloted and evaluated for their impacts. This approach, including a process also known as rapid implementation, can inform ideas that have been tried and adopted elsewhere that need to be tailored to a specific context of Nelson.”

Councillor Rik Logtenberg highlights the importance of inter-connectivity:

“So that if we’re building an effective pedestrian friendly or pedestrian first community, we recognize that the connections have to be there. You can’t have part of a connection to really understand if it’s going to work or not, overall it’s an integrated system. So I think it’s going to take some open mindedness and regular communication.”

Councillor Jesse Woodward says despite challenges, there's a real physiological component to pedestrian-only streets:

“When I was running the markets for all of those years, something I did recognize very clearly was when I shut the street down and then the tents came in and then the people filled in there was like this completely different energy. I always saw people’s shoulders going down, kids were running down without fear, parents were relaxed because they didn’t have to monitor their kids as much….”

Proposed ideas include continuous sidewalks, raised crosswalks, amenity areas, a car-free Baker Street and traffic calming features.