The street treatments that have encouraged the development of Palmerston North’s ‘‘Little Cuba’’ will start spreading down Cuba St to Pitt St next year.
The 250-metre length of wide, grey road is due for renewal, for kerb and channel and footpath replacements, and council planners and engineers have come up with designs to make it look more welcoming for pedestrians.
City planner David Murphy said Cuba St was not part of the $26.6m City Centre Streetscape Plan, but would be improved in line with the same urban design principles.
It was a strategic link for encouraging people to walk between the central city and Central Energy Trust Arena and the renewals project provided an opportunity to make it appealing.
Urban designer Dave Charnley said the street was wide and grey and dominated by vehicles rather than people.
‘‘We are trying for an outcome where people are attracted to want to spend more time there and it lifts the overall quality of the streetscape.’’
In 2012, the council had used modern urban planning techniques when it renewed the Cuba St, George St, Taonui St intersection.
Murphy said people had taken over the improved public spaces and were using them.
‘‘The council did not come up with the Little Cuba name. People did that as they formed an emotional attachment to the place.’’
The plans involve narrowing the carriageway, planting grass, gardens and trees, shifting some car parks, and providing more congenial outside spaces where people could sit.
The main pedestrian route on the street would be along the southern side of the street, which was the sunny side, so people would be looking across the street to the more active businesses and buildings, some of them heritage buildings.
Most car parks would remain on the northern side outside shops and businesses, and additional parking would be provided around the corners and at the little-used car park on the corner of Cuba and Pitt streets.
Trees would be selected from the council’s recently-adopted streetscape plan.
Council staff were not able to put a price tag on the project, but expected it would fit within budgets for renewals.
Palmerston North’s Cuba St outside Distinction Hotel as it is in 2016, and how it could look after a streetscape makeover.