Cuba makeover

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

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.

SUPPLIED

Palmer­ston North’s Cuba St out­side Dis­tinc­tion Ho­tel as it is in 2016, and how it could look after a streetscape makeover.

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