Palmerston North City Council has applied for $742,515.90 to deliver 10 projects which focus on improvements in the city centre, around the river and in Hokowhitu.

Safer spaces to ride and walk and supporting local retailers are the two defining features of Palmerston North's bid for the post-Covid government funding.

The Transport Agency's first round of funding for its Innovating Streets programme closed in early May.

The fund's purpose is to trial the use of streets designed for people, rather than cars, with temporary solutions that could later be made permanent.

If successful, most of the projects will be constructed between September and February.

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Data will be taken during the trials to report back to both the Transport Agency and Council to determine if the Innovating Streets programme was a success.

The Council's City Centre Framework is to support business to thrive in a post-pandemic world which is to encourage more people into the CBD, entice them to stay longer and spend more money.

Mayor Grant Smith says that is increasingly important after Covid-19.

"We've been working on a city recovery programme, and a campaign to get people to 'choose Manawatū'.

"These projects will further help with our city's recovery as they make it easier and safer to support our local businesses."

Council chief executive Heather Shotter says the work of council and partner agencies is paying off.

She said the council will be working with the community to bring these projects to life.

"As part of our Manawatū River Framework strategy we're working hard to ensure there are more things to do, and more people enjoying the river each year – but it's important that everyone can continue to do that in a safe way.

"These trials will allow us to see if we can make the entrances to the river safer for pedestrians, people on bikes and people with accessibility requirements."

Mayor Smith says before construction begins, council officers will work with users, businesses, residents, iwi and stakeholder groups to ensure the design is right.

"While our urban designers and transport engineers will play a big role in the design, we want solutions that suit the people that use them.

"It's vital that everyone has their say and we get projects that benefit everyone.

"For many of the projects, the key factor will be to ensure we improve pedestrian and cycling access, but not compromise accessibility for people with mobility issues or those with prams."

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The projects to support business include square edge planters and seating where people can use the large footpath area as a place to sit/relax/enjoy.

George St will hold retailer-led open street events and the road between Main St and Coleman Place will be closed to vehicles during these events to enable the street to be used by people.

A temporary median strip and pedestrian waiting points will be constructed on Main St, from Pitt St to The Square, that will narrow traffic lanes, slow traffic down for pedestrians to move safely across the roads.

In Hokowhitu Village there will be temporary speed limits at the four entry points to create a sense of arrival to a village space, slow down traffic and create safe pedestrian and cycle improvements

A separated cycleway from Main St on the northern side of the Botanical Rd ring road will be trialled to link the Pioneer shared pathway to the CBD.

The Manawatū River will continue to be a recreation drawcard and since He Ara Kotahi opened almost a year ago, more people now flock to the area to walk, run, ride and play.

During Covid-19, that has been no different.

Data from the council's counter on the He Ara Kotahi Bridge shows pedestrian numbers were up on average around 200 a day, and people on bikes around 100 more each day.

The five projects in the river area focus on four river entrances, and involve temporary build-outs and painted road markings to show it is a shared space.

Maxwells Line, Slacks Rd to Tip Rd; Ruha St, Park Rd to He Ara Kotahi Bridge;
the Albert St river entrance; Albert St, Manawatū St to the river carpark and Ruahine St, Newcastle St to Roxburgh Crescent.