Nelson City Council has unanimously endorsed the final business case for the Nelson Future Access (NFA) project, providing clear direction for the city’s transport system towards a destination where travel by foot, bike, public transport, or car is easier and more reliable.

The decision to approve the business case provides a clear pathway for transport in Nelson and is the culmination of many years of work and discussion on transport issues in Nelson.

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese said the decision means that for the first time in a decade, funding applications can proceed for the cycling and walkway development along Rocks Road.

“This project has long had strong community support and it will be great to have the project see the light of day, finally.”

Mayor Reese said she hoped that the addition of a resolution that a safe state highway network through Tahunanui remains a priority for Nelson City Council and its community would reassure those living in Tahunanui.

“The plan to make the southbound merge lane at the Bisley Ave/Tahunanui Drive intersection permanent will help address some immediate safety concerns and help traffic flow through the area.”

Mayor Reese said it is important that the new changes are well thought through and are more effective in tackling access and safety in the area than previous attempts.

“Council recognises that the chemist, doctor’s surgery, and Medlab are essential local services,” Mayor Reese said.

“We will assess as a matter of priority options for short to medium term off-street parking to alleviate access issues, noting the provision of parking is outside Waka Kotahi’s remit.”

A number of interconnected projects designed to help the transport system accommodate a growing Nelson population and promote a shift to more sustainable forms of transport now have a green light to proceed.

The business case plans to increase the availability of attractive walking and cycling paths and public transport options, ensure more reliable journeys to support regional economic development, and improve safety for everyone. It also contributes towards Council’s climate change goals and makes urban neighbourhoods more liveable.

The first steps include a three-year work programme, with $30m earmarked in the 2021-31 Long Term Plan (51% funded by Waka Kotahi), which would allow several construction-ready projects to go ahead:
Franklyn Street signals; 
Muritai Street crossing facility; 
Maori Road crossing facility; 
Washington Road walking and cycling and speed management; and 
Railway reserve to Waimea Road walking and cycling and speed management (including Motueka/Tipahi signals)

The following projects will be fully-funded by Waka Kotahi over the same time period:
Bisley Ave/Tahunanui Drive southbound merge; 
Tahunanui/Parkers/Maire signals; and
Speed review of Rocks Road 

The business case recommends that the Bisley Ave southbound merge lane be made permanent. Waka Kotahi says this will:
Provide significant additional people and freight moving capacity through the intersection;
Result in a corresponding drop in rat running through the Port Hills;
Will make enforcement easier; and 
Will ensure safe and visible access to the local residents and businesses.