A Living Street is born...
Wharenui School’s Kapa Haka Group performs at the Living Street opening of Peverel Street.
Many people who have seen the Living Streets concept in Peverel Street, Riccarton, say they want their streets treated in the same way.
Peverel Street is unique in Christchurch having just opened as the first Living Street.
The concept is that the qualities streets used to have before the increasing use of motor vehicles are brought back — but not at the exclusion of vehicles.
Three water features are included in the street, along with information panels at each end and art works by children from Wharenui School.
One of the water features is stepped-down below the pavement and allows people to get close to hear and touch natural spring water. The pressure of the spring was insufficient to bring the water to the road surface so people now go down to meet the water.
Seating is provided in the well and water is piped from a spring in the street. That too, is the second water feature.
A viewing chamber allows public viewing of the spring. Old gas pipes and services have been left for viewing. A brass plaque describes the significance of the spring.
The Peverel Fountain is at the main entrance to the street and provides a landmark that helps to identify a changed road environment.
Water cascades over a greywacke boulder in the centre of the fountain.
Seating surrounds it and glass tiles contain children’s work. In keeping with the water theme a braided river feature is used in the footpath.
The City Council redevelopment cost about $340,000. If the traditional approach to road improvements had been used the cost could have been about $290,000.
Planned work in a reserve in Picton Avenue, around the corner from Peverel Street, will link with the Peverel Street theme. The new reserve will contain a water supply pumping station with eductional displays, the conversion of an old timber drain into enhanced open waterway, some artistic landscaping and other special features.
When the street was officially opened residents sat on benches in the middle of the new street for the speeches. Afterwards refreshments and a slide show of the construction of the street were given in the Riccarton Town Hall.
The Council’s area engineer, Paul Burden, said the Living Street concept had its priorities on living but it did not reject motor vehicles. A Living Street would bring people together and improve the quality of life. "The community must be willing to embrace the Living Street philosophy," he said.
He told residents to take ownership of the street and take pride in it.
The concept represented a high standard and high expectation and was a challenge for further Living Streets.
"There is magic in great streets," he said.
Peverel Street: a Living Street.
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