Cycleway and pedestrian upgrades around one of Palmerston North’s most dangerous intersections are due to get underway this month.
The Featherston Street cycleway and pedestrian upgrades aim to create a safer environment to encourage people to choose to ride bikes and walk.
Featherston Street is a top priority in Palmerston North City Council’s Urban Cycle Masterplan, with 442 crashes recorded in the past decade – of which 28 involved people on bikes and 19 involved pedestrians.
Higgins has been awarded the contract to construct the section of the Featherston Street cycleway and pedestrian improvements between Aroha and North Street.
The key changes for the project will see two new raised pedestrian crossings outside Central Normal and Palmerston North Boys’ High School, a separated uni-directional cycleway on both sides of the road, and changes to the lane layout and light phasing at the Rangitikei intersection.
This project is primarily funded by NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi, with Council contributing 10% of the total cost.
Construction is scheduled to be carried out in two stages:
- Stage 1 (Aroha to Rangitikei Streets): From 12 January to mid-February
- Stage 2 (Rangitikei to North Streets): From mid-February to late March
In a separate project, the NZ Transport Agency is making safety improvements at the SH3 Rangitikei Street/Featherston Street intersection. This construction is expected to start after the cycleway and pedestrian work on Featherston Street.
Acting Transport and Development Group Manager, Bryce Hosking says the projects are part of Council’s commitment to providing safer and more accessible transport options.
“This project has seen some of the most significant community engagement our Council has ever done,” he said.
“At first, we sought feedback from the community, and met with more than 130 businesses, schools and organisations. Sixty-seven per cent of pedestrians told us they felt unsafe crossing Featherston Street, 86% of cyclists felt unsafe using the street and 285 students at Palmerston North Boys’ High School told us they avoided cycling due to safety concerns or inadequate cycling infrastructure.
“We then brought representatives from each of these key stakeholder groups together over a series of workshops to co-design the street. We used all that feedback to design the new street.”
In total, the Council received 431 submissions and had more than 210 people participate in co-design workshops.
Councillor Brent Barrett, Chair of Council’s Sustainability Committee, says construction of the Featherston Street cycleway and pedestrian upgrades between Aroha and North Streets marks the start of a key element in the city’s transport network plans.
“This section of Featherston Street has become one of the busiest and riskiest stretches of road in our city, so we’re excited to create a safer environment for pedestrians, cyclists, scooter riders and motorists.”
“Not only will this project improve safety, but it will provide options for everyone in our community to choose how they navigate our city. By expanding the road space dedicated to moving people around, we are improving accessibility for all types of road users.
“Our commitment to the Featherston Street cycleway extends beyond this initial section, and we’re committed to working alongside the NZ Transport Agency and our community to complete the remaining sections as soon as we can,” he said.