The public and stall-holders want the council to make the Nelson Market traffic-free after a child was hit by a car there on Saturday morning.
Nelson Weekly understands that the pre-school-aged girl was crossing the raised brick traffic calmer near the walkway through to Trafalgar St, when she was struck by a car.
It is believed she was left unscathed, as ambulance and police were not called to the scene and there is no record of her being taken to hospital.
However, regular market-goer Mercia Duncan witnessed the incident and says while the car was not moving fast, the impact was enough to fling the child to the right and onto the road.
She believes that a traffic-ban during market hours is “long-overdue”.
“Nelson’s Saturday market is a great drawcard to our CBD but following on from stall-holders setting up early in the morning, there should be no access to motorised vehicles until after 1pm,” she says.
“Yes, it is a car park, but it is a market for people. There are many families there with children. There are elderly folk and visitors not used to cars driving in a market place.”
“It’s not like crossing Trafalgar St, where we are mindful of traffic.”
She says she witnesses cars “constantly” entering the market looking for parking.
“I have always assumed that many are driven by visitors unfamiliar with the Saturday market environment, as some are rental cars and others are driven by bewildered looking occupants.”
It is also understood some of the stall-holders at the market have started a petition for the council to ban traffic.
Nita Knight, managing director of the Nelson Market, says she was aware of the incident happening and was “very sorry to hear it happened”.
She says the road around the market is “not her territory” but they are always looking for ways to make it safer.
“We always make safety comes first at the market and there are signs at the end of each aisle saying, ‘watch for cars’ as well as orange road cones,” she explains. “We do the best we can. You do need to be careful, especially with young children.”
Nita says she has already contacted council expressing her concerns after Saturday’s incident and will be looking at putting up more signage.
Nelson mayor Rachel Reese says council will be exploring options to make the square safer during market hours.
“This is extremely concerning, and I have asked staff to look into it and follow up with the police. This would have been a traumatic event for everyone involved and we hope that the little girl is okay.”