Investment in HIGH QUALITY streetscapes the answer
In June the Council endorsed the Palmerston North City Centre Streetscape Plan to inform future decision making. The Council had previously allocated approximately $10.4 million in the 10 Year Plan to complete a series of streetscape upgrades around The Square and to upgrade the urban bus terminal.
The purpose of the Streetscape Plan is to inform these future streetscape works. The Plan also confirms The Square as the permanent location for the inter-regional bus terminal and Main Street as the preferred location for the urban bus terminal. Council's City Planning Manager, David Murphy said the perception of Palmerston North by locals, visitors and people who live elsewhere is influenced significantly by the overall vibrancy of the City centre. “Increasing numbers of people are commuting to Palmerston North from the region for work and social, recreational and cultural activities, including shopping. It is important the City centre acts as the heart of the region,” he said. “Public investment in high quality streetscapes is a proven method for encouraging further private investment in the City centre and providing an experience which makes people stay longer and spend more money.” David also said people enjoy spending time in places which are pedestrian friendly and intimate and it is important the design of public spaces support this behaviour. “It's also important the Council and City centre stakeholders work together to increase visible public life in the City centre through more outdoor dining and events such as the Thursday Night Street Feast and Friday Night Market. Activities which bring people into the City centre have secondary benefits for all City centre stakeholders including increasing the 'after 5pm' economy and encouraging more people to live in the heart of the City.” The costs are significant and will need to be weighed up by the Council against other priorities over the next decade or more. The initial priority is Square East (the Plaza to Main Street), which is scheduled for an upgrade starting in 2017. The Council is keen to work with City centre stakeholders to better understand the remaining priorities and investigate alternative funding sources. The Council is also keen to support the establishment of landowner and retailer precinct groups to assist with revitalisation of the City centre.
Square East connects Broadway Ave with Church Street and the Plaza Shopping Centre. The proposed upgrades include wider footpaths, seating and social spaces and the central median strip will be removed allowing 90 degree parking to be accessed from either direction.