A series of projects in our city centre core will support the changes we need to make Ngāmotu New Plymouth the vibrant city we want it to be. Streetscape upgrades will encourage people to walk and cycle into our city and spend more time in the streets and public spaces. It will in turn benefit local businesses and support a thriving economy.
Permanent and large-scale upgrades to our streets can take time to deliver and require targeted investment. It is important to encourage the use of temporary interventions (also known as tactical urbanism) to start implementing the changes at a smaller scale and start making steps towards our intended outcomes. This could include trialling temporary cycle lanes, or easing the process allowing businesses to extend their activities onto the footpath or over a carparking space. Overall, this is about creating the best experience for locals and visitors alike. Temporary interventions create the opportunities to test and trial together with the community what the solutions could be before moving on to permanent streetscape upgrades.
The current bus terminal location and the way it is used is affecting the safety and functionality of the roading system and the usability of The Landing for events. To address these issues and provide safer and more efficient services, it is proposed that the terminal is moved with a trial on Gill Street. This will free up Ariki Street and provide opportunity for its upgrade into an active street.
Running east-west Ariki Street divides The Landing from the Huatoki Plaza and lower Brougham Street. Moving the bus terminal provides an opportunity for Ariki Street to be used as a shared space that will allow The Landing, lower Brougham Street and the Huatoki Plaza to work together to cater for large events with minimal logistical barriers. The section from Egmont Street to Currie Street could be sealed off to through traffic as needed with removable or retractable bollards and operate as a typical shared space day to day.
The car park space on the corners of Egmont, Ariki and King streets has the potential to be a park space that could contain urban play elements. Play spaces will provide for families and offer purpose for city centre visits. The temporary bus terminal building could be removed or repurposed as a commercial pavilion on the park’s edge. Alternatively, the site could be developed by NPDC with development partners to create an exemplary commercial and residential development.
Opportunities to activate the built edges of Ariki Street should be investigated. The offering of Puke Ariki Museum and Library could potentially be amplified and further stitched into the city’s fabric by perforating walls and addressing lower Brougham and Ariki streets. Opportunities to further the offering of Puke Ariki for manaakitanga, and gathering with whānau and manuhiri should be explored in these edges.
The sites on the northeast corner of Ariki and Egmont streets intersection are prime development sites that could be attractive to an anchor institution or similar. An active development of significance on this site paired with an Ariki Street upgrade would add activity and vibrancy to this part of the city centre. Opportunity should be sought with potential developers or institutions to realise a landmark building on this site.
The over-stretched Devon Street needs a definitive focus. The 1.6km stretch of Devon Street with the city centre can be described as a sequence made up of three definitive areas: Queen to Liardet –The Core; Liardet to Gover – The Hill; and Gover to Elliot – Eastern Devon.
The Core is the traditional centre of the city where higher footfall, active side streets and most retail and commercial offerings are concentrated. A priority of private-vehicle movement and parking has stretched it over time to the east up The Hill and beyond. The stretching effect has spread activity and diluted vibrancy within the city centre. Devon Street as a traditional high street is too long for the current and projected population of New Plymouth to retain a sustainable vibrancy in its current function as primarily retail focused. This has become more apparent recently with the increase in online over bricks-and-mortar retail offerings exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the increase in vacant shops.
Devon Street needs to react to the global trend of central cities shifting from being ‘Central Business Districts’ to ‘City Centres’ where cities are more and more about experience, employment and supporting living at density, and less about a monoculture of retail focus. To support active edges, encourage a variety of business types in its adjacent buildings and to attract people to use the street, a focus on amenity investment and use type is required.
The Core of Devon Street between Queen and Liardet Street will need to evolve into a high-quality, high-amenity space indicating that it is clearly the core of the city centre, definitively different to the rest of Devon Street. Key amenity infrastructure upgrades and improvement will include:
The greening of Devon Street will take a people first approach, be pragmatic and sustainable and respond to cultural values. More information on the Masterplan can be found below:
Principals that should be followed to achieve a greening of Devon Street should be aligned with the city centre strategy and pay attention to arboriculture and urban design best practice, taking a community first approach, being uniquely Ngāmotu, pragmatic and sustainable approaches, and being responsive to cultural values.
Tree and planting approaches should respond strongly to supporting and connecting local ecologies, biodiversity, varied canopy coverage, urban heat sink effects, street level amenity, use of indigenous species, and a multi strata approach with canopy species being balanced with smaller trees and ground level planting.
Existing building eves, car parking and underground infrastructure will all be influential in the greening approach. The short-term greening will be more restrained based on a phased approach to the eventual 'car light' city centre. This will mean a irregular street tree set out patterns will be more successful than a regular or symmetrical layout in adding more green to the street. Garden beds should explore storm water retention and filtering functions.
Potential species for larger trees may include the following and should be considered thought the master planning process alongside lower planting options to create a varied streetscape. Pohutukawa, Titoki, rewa rewa, kohekohe, ngaio, totara, Kōwhai, northern rata, nikau, and ti kouka.
To respond to the wider unique radiating valleys and ridges of the Taranaki landscape, trees and planting types and densities should respond to the various valleys and ridges of Devon Street, with denser plantings in the lower reaches that respond to a Huatoki valley habitat.
The earlier phases of the greening also offers immediate opportunity to upgrade the amenity values of Devon Street. This should be explored early to leverage of the disruption that the tree removal and replacement will cause. This could include but is not limited to retrofit of courtesy crossings into formal crossings, furniture upgrades that focus on group seating, and isolated. kerb extension to create LTO spaces.
Currie Street as a link between the two retail and commercial hubs of Devon Street and Centre City shopping centre means it has one of the highest footfalls in New Plymouth. The street is well laid out with wide paths, active edges, established native trees, shelter and a north south aspect means it takes advantage of the sun. The street hosts Farmers Markets on Sunday mornings for these reasons and is often closed off during larger events.
Feedback from the engagement phases of the Strategy indicated that access to affordable fresh food and market activity at night-time would be desirable. This supports living in a city centre and provides convenience, variety and events. Currie Street is well placed to be the prime outdoor marketplace in New Plymouth. It’s envisioned that it becomes a quality shared space environment that can host markets and events while still functioning as a city centre street that is vibrant and accessible.
To enable this the street will need:
Currie Street currently holds opportunities that can be taken in the short term to expand and activate its potential. These include the opportunity to consolidate The Mill, Farmers and Craft markets and the Sunday markets and host them all on Currie Street. To unlock this NPDC will need to identify logistical barriers and offer practical solutions to support the markets.
Long term, King Street is seen as continuing its function as popular pedestrian connection between the west end and the city centre including Puke Ariki and the Coastal Walkway. Following the move of the main bus station to Gill Street, buses will no longer be required to travel on King Street, allowing for changes in the carriageway and intersection with Egmont Street. Currently the pedestrian infrastructure is not fit for purpose. Footpaths are tight, the carriageway is wider than it needs to be, and the street lacks safe crossing points at Queen Street and Egmont Street intersections. There are opportunities in the short term to install temporary crossing points to make it safer, prior to a full permanent upgrade. A full upgrade might include tightening the carriageway, widening footpaths, new street trees and planting and wayfinding elements.
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Page last updated: 09:12AM Wed 10 November 2021