City’s future plan revealed
Palmerston North ratepayers could face a $26.6 million upgrade of the streets around The Square, including $5m to rejuvenate Broadway, during the next decade.
The Palmerston North City Centre Streetscape Plan was presented to a special meeting of the city council’s planning and policy committee on Monday.
It includes makeovers of the streets and intersections bordering The Square, along similar lines to the section already upgraded between Church St and Main St running underneath the Civic Administration Building.
City planner David Murphy said the aim was to make the central city more attractive for pedestrians and for people to enjoy events and recreation there. It would blur the edges of The Square, with planting and paving that extended out toward the buildings, making the roads less dominant. As part of the plan, the number of car parks around The Square and Broadway would be cut from 592 to 387.
Palmerston North central city retailers criticised the plan to get rid of on-street car parks and give greater priority to buses.
They turned up for the extraordinary planning and policy committee meeting on Monday at which councillors endorsed the streetscape concept.
The presentation, comments and debate took place amid criticism that the plan was being rushed through.
Broadway Ave jeweller Susie Barr said it under-estimated how important parking was for central city retailers.
‘‘Our clients like to be able to park at the door,’’ said Barr.
‘‘It’s human nature. We are still a small town. We don’t have the Auckland way of thinking.’’
Cafe owner Adrian Hawley said his patrons found parking was already an issue for them.
He said taking away car parks would not necessarily mean more pedestrians.
Mayor Grant Smith said it was an exciting master plan addressing an urgent need for revitalisation.
‘‘It will be a shot in the arm for the CBD, and will make a massive difference.’’
Cr Jim Jefferies said he welcomed the long-term vision for a more vibrant central business district after a decade of putting off decisions.
Artist impression drawings show what the city centre could look like with a new bus shelter in The Square, a pop-up canopy to cover street events in Broadway Ave and a new green activity space on The Square between Main St and Broadway Ave.