News & Events

Council pitches 10 projects for NZTA funding

Tuesday May 19 2020

Safer spaces to ride and walk and supporting local retailers are the two defining features of Palmerston North’s bid for post-Covid government funding.

The Transport Agency’s first round of funding for its Innovating Streets programme closed in early May. The fund’s purpose is to trial the use of streets designed for people, rather than cars, with temporary solutions that could later be made permanent.

Palmerston North City Council has applied for $742,515.90 to deliver 10 projects which focus on improvements in the city centre, around the river, and in Hokowhitu.

Supporting business to thrive in a post-pandemic world

As part of our City Centre Framework, we’ve already been working on solutions to encourage more people into our CBD, and entice them to stay longer and spend more money.

Mayor Grant Smith says that is increasingly important after Covid-19.

“We’ve been working on a city recovery programme, and a campaign to get people to ‘choose Manawatū’. These projects will further help with our city’s recovery as they make it easier – and safer – to support our local businesses.”

Five projects to support business

  • Square Edge planters and seating to enable people to use the large footpath area as a place to sit, relax and enjoy
  • George Street retailer-led open street events: The road would be closed to vehicles between Main Street and Coleman Place during these events, to enable the street to be used by people.
  • Main Street pedestrian refuge treatment (Pitt Street to the Square): Temporary median strip and pedestrian waiting points would narrow traffic lanes, slow traffic down, and enable safe pedestrian movements across the roads.
  • Hokowhitu Village: Temporary speed treatments at the four entry points to the village to create a sense of arrival to a village space, slow down traffic and create safe pedestrian and cycle improvements.
  • Main Street separated cycleway (northern side – Botanical Road to ring road): Trial a separated cycleway to link Pioneer shared pathway to CBD.

Continuing to make the Manawatū River a recreation drawcard

Our awa is the jewel of our city, and since He Ara Kotahi opened almost a year ago we’ve seen more people than ever flock to the area to walk, run, ride and play.

During Covid-19, that has been no different. Data from our counter on the He Ara Kotahi Bridge shows pedestrian numbers were up on average around 200 per day, and people on bikes around 100 more each day. Most days typically recorded user numbers similar to what we see on the weekends, and that’s despite many people not being able to access the awa during Alert Level 4.

Council Chief Executive Heather Shotter says the work of Council and partner agencies is paying off.

“As part of our Manawatū River Framework strategy we’re working hard to ensure there are more things to do, and more people enjoying the river each year – but it’s important that everyone can continue to do that in a safe way. These trials will allow us to see if we can make the entrances to the river safer for pedestrians, people on bikes, and people with accessibility requirements.”

Five projects in the river area

Five projects focus on four river entrances, and involve temporary build-outs and painted road markings to show it is a shared space.

  • Maxwells Line river entrance slow zone (Slacks Road to Tip Road) and temporary cycle lane along Maxwells Line (Pioneer Highway to Slacks Road)
  • Ruha Street river entrance slow zone (Park Road to He Ara Kotahi Bridge)
  • Albert Street river entrance slow zone, which involves closing the turning bowl for pedestrian space and sense of arrival
  • Albert Street (Manawatū Street to river carpark): Enhanced pedestrian facilities and reduction of road width at Manawatū Street intersection
  • Ruahine Street river entrance slow zone (Newcastle Street to Roxburgh Crescent)

We’ll be working with our community to bring these projects to life

If successful, most of these projects will be constructed between September and February. Data will be taken during the trials to report back to both the Transport Agency and Council to determine if the project was a success.

Mayor Grant Smith says before construction begins, Council officers would work with users, businesses, residents, iwi and stakeholder groups to ensure the design is right.

“While our urban designers and transport engineers will play a big role in the design, we want solutions that suit the people that use them. It’s vital that everyone has their say and we get projects that benefit everyone. For many of the projects the key factor will be to ensure we improve pedestrian and cycling access, but not compromise accessibility for people with mobility issues or those with prams.”