The bridge and pathway, which connects the city with Massey University and Linton Military Camp, opened to the public at 4pm on Friday.
A tracker on the Massey University end of He Ara Kotahi bridge recorded 12,213 people or groups using the pathway.
A second tracker on the Turitea bridge, which is on the pathway to Linton, recorded close to 4,000 people or groups.
Sunday was the busiest day with 5,476 people or groups: 745 of them were in the 11am to 12pm hour alone. Saturday had 4,018 users recorded. There were 2,719 people or groups on Friday.
There is no tracker at the Linton end of the pathway, so it is likely the total number of path users was considerably higher if people didn’t make the full journey to the city.
Mayor Grant Smith says it has been amazing to see how popular He Ara Kotahi has been with residents.
“We always knew this path would be very popular, but these numbers have even exceeded our expectations. Early in consultation with the community, one or two detractors portrayed the bridge and pathway as a white elephant which no-one would use. How wrong were they! One of the goals for this pathway was to get more people interacting with our awa and the photos, stories and experiences we have seen and heard this weekend show we have achieved that. I can’t wait to see its popularity continue to soar.”
Council's Chief Infrastructure Officer, Tom Williams, says He Ara Kotahi has also shown that Palmerston North has a very active community.
“A lot of the feedback we’ve heard over the weekend is how good it is to have a pathway so close to the city, that takes people off dangerous roads, and provides a safe space for children to learn to ride bikes. He Ara Kotahi is an example of how we are working to make our city better connected and safer while also encouraging more people to make the choice to cycle, walk or run rather than using their vehicles.”
Note: The temporary tracker cannot distinguish between an individual and groups of people, so the real number of users is likely to be higher. A permanent tracker will be installed in spring that can differentiate between groups and individuals as well as pedestrians and cyclists.