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Create the vibe: New public space in time for Thames Buskers Festival - TCDC

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Our temporary pedestrian space on Mary Street will be ready in time for our very first Thames Buskers Festival in March, to add to the vibrancy of the town centre.

Our community champions have been taking part in a co-design process to achieve a temporary public space in the centre of Thames for everyone else to enjoy.

With hundreds of votes, 72 per cent supported the partial closure of Mary Street, which will include moveable seating and tables, shade, lots of greenery, festoon lighting, bike racks, road art, and space for pop-up events. Improved road markings and signage at Pollen and Queen Street intersections will improve everyone’s safety around the new street layout.

Stage 1 of the trial is being launched at Thames Food and Buskers Festival on Saturday March 6. Come try it out and let us know what you think.

Thanks for having your say and creating the vibe of Thames. For more information including the detailed designs see

Below is a layout of the temporary public space.

Click to expand.

FAQ - Rolling out the changes

Q: When will construction begin?

A: Monday 22 February, partially closing Mary Street for construction.

Q: Can I still drive down Mary St?

A: Vehicles bound for Queen Street from Pollen Street won’t be able to enter down Mary Street. Also, vehicles coming off the Queen St roundabout will not be able to drive through to Pollen St (see map and detailed design above).

Q: What is Stage 1 and Stage 2?

A: Stage 1 will involve closing off Mary Street and about 70 per cent of the work will be completed including; AstroTurf, planters, the HQ container moved, modular seating, and new road lines. Stage 2 will begin in April, and we’ll be asking for help with pavement art and painting of the concrete planters.

Q: Can I get involved in this project?

A: Yes. We are seeking artists and community groups for painting. If you are interested, please get in touch with Hannah-Rose at

Q: Will there be any signage to help cars get onto our main street and town centre?

A: Yes, there will be new ‘Town Centre’ signage to help direct cars on our main street and adjacent streets.

Q: Will there be any evaluation and monitoring of this trial?

A: Yes, traffic and pedestrian counts will be carried out both before and after the changes are put in place in order to evaluate how traffic flow is affected and how people use the space. We will also have a link for the general public to give us feedback on the space.

Q: What is Thames Food and Buskers Festival?

A: This new local festival will feature gourmet food stalls, live music and entertainment for the whole family. Restaurateur, television host (Eat Well For Less on TVNZ) and food education advocate Ganesh Raj will also be presenting cooking masterclasses as part of the festival. The Thames Food and Buskers Festival is free to attend, except for the Ganesh Raj masterclasses, which will be ticketed. Tickets for these classes go on sale in February, with more details to come from the Thames Business Association, which is organising the festival in conjunction with Coromandel More FM and our Council. Find out more here.

FAQ - Project background

Q: Who is funding this project?

A: Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is funding 90 per cent ($320,125.50), with the remaining 10 per cent ($35,569.50) from Thames Community Board.

Q: What consultation has been undertaken?

A: Nearly 500 people came into our Create the Vibe - Thames container HQ in September 2020 to have a chat with our staff about their ideas on how we can improve Thames town centre. We also held two co-design community workshops and visited two local schools.

The thoughts and ideas from these events were distilled into two concept designs. Our team went back to the Create the Vibe - Thames container HQ and asked the general public to vote on their preferred option. Of 251 voters, 74 per cent preferred the partial closure design, while 26 per cent voted to keep Mary Street one-way vehicle traffic.

Q: How long will this trial be for?

A: Around two years. Although this will depend on public feedback and how well the space is used.

Q: What is Innovating streets?

A: Innovating Streets is a pilot programme is funding projects across New Zealand cities and towns aimed at creating people-friendly spaces.

Q: Why are the changes temporary installations?

A: This project is about working with the community and trialing positive changes to our streets. The improvements can be tested and refined before being made permanent if they’re found suitable. The benefit of have a temporary change is so we can adjust or take it away if it doesn’t work without spending millions of dollars on a permanent solution.

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