City’s fu­ture plan re­vealed

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - JA­NINE RANKIN

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.

PHOTO: GRANT MATTHEW/FAIR­FAX NZ

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.

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