Council & City

Streets for People

The world’s most exciting cities have one thing in common – a vibrant city centre enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Our Streets for People project aims to achieve just that.

A vibrant city centre will make Palmerston North even more attractive for work and play, provide more opportunities for locals and visitors to connect with the city and the people who live there and bring significant benefits for the local economy.

Improvements include:

  • wider granite footpaths and kerbs
  • more seating and social areas
  • more green spaces
  • informal places to cross
  • resurfacing parking and traffic lanes
  • narrowing some traffic lanes to slow traffic
  • future-proofing our key utilities.

The project spans eight years and includes the Square, Main Street, Broadway, and small sections of Rangitikei Street and Fitzherbert Avenue.

The first part of the project was completed in 2019 and involved the Square-side of the street between Main and Church Streets by the Plaza. The shop-side of the street will be completed in early 2020.

Major upgrades around The Square 

Construction resumed in January as we continue work to create a vibrant city centre where people want to shop, eat, attend events and do business.

This stage of our Streets for People project will see the area of The Square between The Coffee Club on Main Street and The Cooperative Bank on Church Street upgraded.

When complete, the footpath in front of the shops will be doubled in width, with more trees, seating and outdoor dining space.

A full road closure will be in place during construction, but all footpaths remain open.

A full road closure allows the works to be completed in a more efficient manner reducing the construction period by at least six weeks, bringing the total timeframe to five months. Contractors moved on to the site at the end of January. We expect the road to be reopened in the first week of July.

Had we kept the other side of the road open, the construction period would have been close to seven months, and would have cost ratepayers $200,000 more.

We spent a large amount of time trying to identify options that maintained parking and road use on The Square side of the street. But we believe there would be only minimal advantages as people parking in that limited spaces would need to walk the entire way around the construction site to access these shops. We also believe there may have been traffic issues with cars trying to reverse out of parks and moving traffic in a more confined space.

Chief Infrastructure Officer Tom Williams says it was a tough call to close the road.

“This project is going to bring our city centre to life, but we know that construction will be hard on the directly impacted businesses. We spent months trying to find ways to keep the road open, but ultimately we believe a shorter construction period is better for businesses and the public.”

The time saving is based on our contractors, Higgins, being able to store goods and machinery on-site and being able to work in multiple locations in the area at one time.

Detours in place.

The section of road is closed by the Coffee Club and Cooperative Bank. Signs alert motorists to the road closure and provide detour guidance. We've also made some changes to the traffic lights at this intersection to allow traffic to move freely, but also continue to provide regular pedestrian access between The Plaza and the shops.

While parking is closed in this section of The Square, all other parking in the area remains open. We encourage motorists to continue to park on The Square and Main Street, as well as using The Plaza and Downtown carparks.

Some bus routes impacted by the road closure.

We're working closely with Horizons Regional Council to continue to make it easy for people to catch buses around our city. 

We’re working closely with businesses to minimise the impact.

The goal of our entire Streets for People project is that our city centre comes to life and it becomes a place where people want to shop, eat, attend events and do business.

But, we’re extremely conscious of the impact construction might have, due to the loss of parking in front of the shops. Council is working closely with businesses to promote the project and minimise the impact.

Chief Infrastructure Officer Tom Williams is calling on Palmy people to show their support for these shops.

“We'd love it if everyone could make a real effort to visit these businesses to show their support and spend some money. Let there be no doubt - all businesses remain open throughout construction.”

A major part of the project focuses on improving underground services.

Once complete, most people will only notice the improved street and footpath. However, a large portion of the construction period, and budget, is dedicated to both improving and maintaining underground services. The biggest piece of work is upgrading the stormwater pipes, to prevent flooding in heavy rain, which is expected to take six weeks alone.

Regular updates will be provided during construction.

We’ll be posting regular updates here and on our Facebook page during the construction period.

Find out more

You can read more about our plans for our CBD in the City Centre Framework and the City Centre Plan. You can also take a look at our City Centre Streetscape Plan which details our plans for the spaces and streets around The Square and Broadway Avenue.