For the last fortnight, Andrews Avenue has been closed to traffic as part of an exciting project to start regenerating the southern end of Lower Hutt.
Are you curious to find out more about this interesting project? Then see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below:
Why has Andrews Avenue been closed to traffic?
The Southend Business Group (SEBG) is a community organisation representing business owners in the “South end” of the city. In 2018 they gave a presentation to Council about their desire to revitalise and regenerate the “South end of High Street”. Their two key aims were to attract more people to the area, and then build on this greater footfall by helping businesses to open in currently vacant premises. The road closure is the first step towards helping the SEBG regenerate the area by attracting more people into the South end of Lower Hutt.
How did the Andrews Avenue project come about?
A few months after the presentation to Council by the SEBG, students from Massey University’s College of Creative Arts contacted Hutt City Council to see if they could, as part of their university course, find an underutilised space in Lower Hutt’s city centre they could energise and redesign. As the aims of the students project fitted in perfectly with those of the SEBG, Hutt City Council connected the two, with the SEBG providing funding to bring the students ideas to life. The students set up a living lab in an empty shop front to engage with people who work in the CBD, business owners and the community. The students then came up with 22 designs for the space, of which two have now been set up on Andrews Avenue. The New Zealand Transport Agency, who recently introduced a toolkit called Innovating Streets for People, that helps local councils, community groups and others to activate roads and public spaces also came on board, while RiverLink, a local government partnership to create a connection between the city and the river have joined the project to engage with people about their plans for the future of the city.
What is this project trying to achieve?
Attracting people to the South end of Lower Hutt and changing how people see the area by finding a new and innovative way to use Andrews Ave, which could provide a model for how the wider area can be revitalised and regenerated in the future.
Does this project fit in with the rest of the work underway about the future of Lower Hutt?
Hutt City Council, the SEBG, the Riverlink project and the NZTA are all looking at how the city can be improved, regenerated, better connected to the river and better accommodate pedestrians and cyclists in the future. The Andrews Avenue project brings together the goals of these different organisations to test how they can be achieved in one place as a model for the future development of the city.
How much is this project costing and where is the money coming from to fund it?
The total cost of the project is estimated at around $40,000, funded fully by the SEBG and the RiverLink project.
Will this affect the flow of traffic and availability of parking around Andrews Avenue?
On a typical day there is 30% less traffic using Andrews Avenue than the amount which uses Daly Street and High Street, therefore it can be closed with minimum disruption to traffic flow. The parking bays at the eastern end of the road are still accessible, while three extra parking spaces have been created to offset the five parallel parking spots which have been temporarily removed as a result of the project.
Which organisations are behind this project?
The Southend Business Group, Hutt City Council, RiverLink, Healthy Families Hutt Valley, the NZTA and Massey University.
Is there public support for this project?
As well as being the inspiration behind the project to close the road and find new and exciting ways to use the space, businesses and property owners in the area have been fully consulted on the road closure and minor reworking of parking spaces. The general public have also been supportive of the project, even providing time and labour to implement the students design.
What will be happening on the street during the period of time when it is closed?
The space is primarily designed for people to informally gather for lunch, read a book, have a business meeting or meet friends, any day of the week. There will also be a few specific events to attract people to the streets. Every Friday between February 7 and 27, the annual Sound Bites Lunchtime music event will play host to two-hour concerts featuring the region’s best local musicians. The space will also host play and cycling events, as well as the Picnic by Bike event, part of the fortnight long Bike the Hutt festival.
How can I get involved with the project?
You can contact the Southend Business Group by emailing email@example.com