News & Events

He Ara Kotahi a huge hit in its first year

Friday June 5 2020

He Ara Kotahi has cemented its spot as the city’s newest landmark, after more than 600,000 people used the pathway in its first year.

Photo shows loads of people walking over the new bridge, including seniors, babes in arms, kids on scooters and dogs.

Sunday marks one year since the shared pathway opened.

Popularity remains steady, regardless of the time of year

He Ara Kotahi’s popularity has remained constant. In its opening weekend 12,000 people used the pathway and over the first six months, 333,000 users were recorded.

Those high user numbers have continued, and as at midday on Thursday 4 June, 602,100 people had used the pathway.

Mayor Grant Smith says the pathway’s popularity has proved many wrong.

"In the early stages we expected about 1,000 people a day would use He Ara Kotahi, but many people in our community didn’t believe it would ever see such high usage. The data from the first year shows that we’re seeing close to double our original estimate of users. This is a great example of why it is so important to invest in infrastructure, and the positive benefits that come from that for our community.”

Mr Smith says the pathway was focused primarily on being a safer commuter route between our city centre and Linton Military Camp and Massey University.

“He Ara Kotahi has been a commuter hit, but we’ve also seen our residents fall back in love with our river for recreational purposes. Families are enjoying the pathway every weekend, events are being staged around the main bridge and we’ve even had engagements and a wedding occur.”

Council Chief Executive Heather Shotter says He Ara Kotahi is a wonderful example of what happens when different partners come on board for the benefit of our city.

“We couldn’t have done this project alone. He Ara Kotahi was funded by the New Zealand Government Urban Cycleways programme, NZ Transport Agency, Palmerston North City Council, Central Energy Trust and Powerco. Rangitāne, Massey University, Horizons Regional Council and the New Zealand Defence Force have been and continue to be key partners in the ongoing work associated with He Ara Kotahi and our river park. This partnership means we can bring our Manawatū River Framework  to life by working together to ensure there are more things to see and do at our river each year.”

He Ara Kotahi impresses nationally too

In November, He Ara Kotahi scooped up a top transport award. Our new landmark won the Sustainable Transport Leadership category at the NZ Transportation Institute Awards.

We’re also currently finalists in the Living Streets Aotearoa Awards Golden Foot Walking Award category. Winners will be announced next week.

Both awards focus on the recreational and commuter impact He Ara Kotahi has had on our city.

He Ara Kotahi will only get more popular

Since He Ara Kotahi opened, a new toilet block was installed, and the carpark resealed. Over the coming months we’re looking at installing picnic tables and toilets at the Linton end of the pathway.

Urban Eels, which is accessed from He Ara Kotahi, will open this winter. This project, which is being delivered with other partners, will allow people to get up close to see the eels in the Turitea Stream.

Construction will also begin this summer on the new Manawatū River entranceway, which will link the Victoria Esplanade and main bridge. We’ll be releasing artist impressions of the new entranceway, which sits between the Scenic Railway Station and Holiday Park, very soon. Next year we’ll also be looking at beginning construction for the viewing platform that will sit on Turitea Pā – one of the most culturally significant sites along the He Ara Kotahi route.