Council & City

Streets for People

Our Streets for People project is at the heart of our city centre transformation by changing the way we access, move, experience and use the heart of Palmy. We're currently planning the next stage of construction, between the corner of Broadway and the former post office building. This page has more information about the project, and what this next stage of The Square may look like.

We’re creating a vibrant, exciting city centre where people want to work, live and play – any time of the day.

Our city centre is about people

You’ve seen the magic we’ve created at the Manawatū River, and witnessed our city fall back in love with our awa.

That’s exactly what we’re now working on for our city centre.

We want you to be proud of our city centre, and for our visitors to be in awe of just how great Palmy is. Think of every city you’ve visited. The city centre is usually front of mind in almost all memories of visiting of living in a city.

More than 10,000 people visit our city centre each weekday, and we see far more in the weekend. While Palmy isn’t known as a tourism mecca, our central location and large range of retail means we get large amounts of visitors from people living within 1.5 hours from us.

People outside Palmerston North make up more than half of city centre spending!

Our vision for our city centre is to be a place where people want to visit, meet up with their friends and family, be entertained, stay longer and support local retailers. We’re also keen to make living in the city centre more desirable.

This work is multi-faceted and involves a number of different projects.

Our Streets for People project is a key part of bringing this vision to life. The project is focused on how we transform the spaces we move in.

We need our city centre to be safer for everyone

Between 2011 and 2020 there were 189 crashes that caused injuries on The Square between the Plaza and Broadway.

  • 22 crashes caused serious injuries.
  • 65 per cent of all crashes affected pedestrians or people on bikes.

These statistics only account for crashes where Police attended, and do not involve near misses or minor crashes, of which there are undoubtedly many more.

This project will make these streets safer for pedestrians and people on bikes.

Don’t panic though, we’re not driving vehicles out of our city centre, and there’ll still be carparking available.

The work focuses on slowing cars down and therefore discouraging people from using The Square as a shortcut across the city. Instead, we’ll be encouraging them to use our ring road (Princess, Ferguson, Pitt and Grey) to move quickly around the city.

The result is a city centre that is a destination in its own right.

Photo shows a map of the entire scope of the project, with a colour key for completed, stage 3 and future projects.

We’ve already started this project, completing the Plaza corner of The Square in 2020. Now we’re planning for the next stage of development, between the former post office building and the Broadway corner. We’ve not yet determined the order of the other streets.

Streets for People helps brings our vision to life by creating wider footpaths, narrower roads, more trees and other plants, better streetlights, more spots for outdoor dining and seating, and more attractive streets.

As a result, we’ll have a safer and more attractive, vibrant and exciting city centre. The heart of our city will be a key destination to shop, eat, attend events and do business. Our businesses will reap the benefits, and Palmy will become an even more desirable place for investment.

As we’re talking to you, we’re also having conversations with Rangitāne o Manawatū, arts groups and heritage advisors about how we can use some infrastructure elements to tell our stories, rather than using signs. This is what we’ve recently done at the Central Energy Trust Arena.

Stage 3 will look similar to what we’ve done in stages 1 & 2

The space between The Plaza and Coffee Club shows what you'll see on our next stage, between the former post office building and Broadway.

We still want each section to have its own identity though, so we're currently looking into whether we make some minor changes to reflect that. For example, what the footpath is made of, seating, and even our plant choices.

Just like in the first stages, we're widening the footpaths to just over 2m.

We’re adding outdoor public seating, and hospitality businesses will be able to add their own outdoor dining here. Retailers can also use the extra space for pop-up events or sales.

We’re narrowing the road by removing the trees in between the two lanes and removing the carparking in the middle of the road.

We won’t be removing any trees on the side of or within Te Marae o Hine – The Square. We’ll still have angle parking in this area, too.

Just like in the earlier work, we’ll add even more gardens with native plants to brighten up the space and encourage more people to sit down and take a break.

We’ll also add extended footpath areas between some of the carparks. These special footpath build-outs are designed to give extra room for people with varying accessibility requirements. They’re also handy for loading zones to be next to, so couriers can unload safely without disrupting the traffic flow. We’ve noticed that pedestrians also often use them as informal crossing points. We’re planning for the accessibility parks and loading zones to be located next to these build-outs.

There will also be new LED streetlights, rubbish and recycling bins.

We’re looking into the design of the Broadway intersection

The intersection with Broadway is one of the main access points to Te Marae o Hine, and we want to ensure it provides a warm welcome to all visitors in our central city.

Our traffic engineers are currently working on the design for this intersection. You can be assured it will continue to have traffic lights and improvements to pedestrian safety.

We’re still determining whether we do this work now, or as part of the Broadway upgrade.

If we don’t proceed in this stage of construction, we may at times need to do some minor construction within the intersection as we upgrade water services, or as other utility providers connect their services.

Once constructed we’ll also be ensuring the traffic lights continue to enable an efficient flow of traffic.

We won’t be touching the Main Street intersection… yet

Our plan is to convert the roundabout into a T-intersection. However, we aren't changing the layout at the moment.

We’ll soon be working with Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency and Horizons Regional Council on a business case for replacing the bus terminal with a transit hub on Main Street in the future. We need to know how much space and which vehicles we need to cater for, and how they might move around the city, before we can confirm whether a T-intersection is still the right fit. 

We will however be looking at measures to improve pedestrian crossings and safety here now. This could include raised crossings.

We’ll be keeping you updated

We’ll continue to be providing updates throughout the project. These will primarily be with the affected area and neighbouring businesses.

If you want to also receive these updates, please get in touch and we'll add you to our email list. Email: citycentre@pncc.govt.nz 

Find out more

You can read more about our plans for our CBD in the City Centre Framework and the City Shaping Plan (this plan supports our goal for Palmerston North to be a creative and exciting place to live). 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.