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A pop-up event (part day or one day, one weekend) can be an effective way to both try out a new layout or street change and let the local community experience it in a positive way.

Generally, events need to be in streets with slower and less traffic, so the event will need to deliver this if required.

Testing how a network or community responds to a change will take much longer than a day, but an event can promote the next stage of the project, introduce the local community to the change in a less threatening environment (eg a single day with fun activities), and build a relationship between the delivery organisation and the community the change is for.

Note that events can also be used to activate a longer-term pilot, trial or other tactical change. Because Innovating Streets initiatives are not formal scientific trials (like Traffic Control Device trials), it is legitimate to promote them and encourage lots of people to come and experience them.

In fact, more people and a greater diversity of people experiencing the proposed changes means more data which is great for both monitoring and evaluating and for communicating and getting buy-in.

Play Street case studies

If you’re keen to host your own Play Street (see international example below) then please contact us at innovatingstreets@nzta.govt.nz

We are looking for case studies to support so we can understand local experiences of hosting them and hopefully streamline the process.

The rules

Most events will need to make changes to the street to slow, reduce or remove traffic. This means a temporary Traffic Management Plan will be needed to ensure the changes are made safely. The Transport Agency is currently working on new guidance for the Code of Practice for Temporary Traffic Management (CoPTTM) that will enable Road Controlling Authorities (RCAs) to develop policies that enable communities to do their own traffic management in low-risk streets.

CoPTTM: Part 8 of the Traffic Control Devices Manual

International examples

Ciclovía

Ciclovia in Bogota

Bogotà’s weekly street closure to motor vehicles, opening the streets to tens of thousands of people, and their dogs. Credit: nati_fg.

In the Colombian city of Bogotà from 7am to 2pm every Sunday (and holiday), 76 miles of streets are closed to traffic for the Ciclovía, a program the local government has run since 1974. Some 1.7 million people, or about a quarter of the city’s population, turn out for it on average every week. Surveys have found that nearly half of people use the blocked-off streets for at least three hours. The Ciclovía is the largest, most frequent mass recreation event in the world. More than 400 cities worldwide are now running Cicolvía events.


Play Streets

Street Play is a simple, effective and low-cost way for children to be able to play out in the streets where they live. In the UK local authorities can use their existing powers under road traffic legislation to allow temporary street closures at regular weekly or monthly intervals, typically for three hours at a time. Local parents and other residents act as marshals, allowing their neighbours to drive to and from their homes at walking pace, while through traffic is re-directed. The result is usually a significant increase in children playing out and making friends on their street. In turn, adult neighbours get to know each other, and community spirit grows.

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