Bond Street Activation

Bond Street was a service lane in the heart of Wellington. We wanted to make it a destination for pedestrians as well. We painted the street, added large flower pots, chairs and tables and created an event space. We attracted more people to the street, raised the profile of the businesses located there, and improved the perception of the street to support economic sustainability.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, Wellington, New Zealand

Overview
Bond Street is an important street for servicing local businesses, we wanted to make it a destination for pedestrians as well. We changed the way the street looked and brought colour and energy to the area. We worked closely with Bond Street businesses with the aim of attracting more people to the street, raising the profile of the businesses located there, improving the perception of the street and then measuring the impact of these changes.
What we did
To catch people's attention and bring vibrancy to the street two outdoor seating areas outside existing café's and eateries, and an artificial lawn area was installed. People were able to kick back and relax in the new outdoor lounge spaces and enjoy a range of performances and events from the shipping container stage. The road was painted with a vibrant red polka dot pattern to create a temporary shared space for pedestrians and vehicles.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the project is a great example of how the Council can work collaboratively with local businesses and retailers to make positive changes and bring the city to life. “The shared space in Bond Street is important for servicing local businesses and we expect to see many more people on foot relaxing and shopping too. It’s a trial that will demonstrate how changing the use of street space makes a livelier and attractive destination.”
Bond Street retailers and businesses
The businesses and retailers on Bond Street were granted funding that has been used to create a shared business and retail website. The website content has been created collaboratively by local businesses, giving an online presence for each business, and highlights services, specials and events. Councillor Nicola Young, Portfolio Leader for Central City Projects, says she’s delighted local businesses are supporting this project. “Inner city lanes can make a real difference to the city's look, and Bond Street is a good start - with more lane upgrades to come."
Events
The project was brought to life by a programme of events hosted from the mini shipping container and outdoor seating areas. Events included musical performances, regular cycle maintenance sessions, library story times, hairdressing and barbering displays and a local history exhibition.One of the most popular events was the Urban Forest which marked the launch of 2015 Parks Week. Overnight a forest of native trees and shrubs appeared on Bond Street to raise awareness about the environment and opportunities for recreation in Wellington. The event culminated in the giving out 700 free native trees and shrubs and saw queues stretching down the street!
What people thought
Dale Rangihaeata from Mojo Bond Street says the street’s location is perfect for people looking for a place to grab a coffee and relax in the sun. Roy McFarlane from The Canteen says the project is a boost for the businesses and retailers. “We’re excited about the energy this project will bring to our street, we’re passionate about the area and feel the Council has stepped up and supported us to make some creative changes.”
Evaluation
We gathered both pedestrian and vehicle data in addition to feedback from businesses, tenants and members of the public. The average increase in the number of people entering Bond st from Monday to Friday was an overall average increase over the lunch period of 23%. Our data also showed that people spent more time lingering in the street rather than just passing through. The number of vehicle movements decreased by 35%. The reduced parking in the street and the conversion of Bond Street from a service lane into a more pedestrian-friendly space has significantly impacted driver behavior. We have also seen changes with the local businesses such as increased operating hours, additional seating, enhanced menus, increased sales and enhanced relationships between businesses within the street.

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