In the East 200 block it is proposed that one new kerb build-out be created and furniture and planters added to existing mid-block build-outs to provide for outdoor dining and enhanced streetscape outside existing hospitality businesses.
The hospitality focus in this block is primarily towards the eastern end, hence the selected location. These spaces will look similar to and work in the same way as those proposed for the East 100 block.
A tree will be added in between these spaces to provide shelter against the elements, visual softening, and a vertical element, further contributing to traffic calming.
The proposed concept plans reduce the on-street parking in this block by up to two parking bays, slightly moving the balance of the street in favour of pedestrians. Again, it should be noted that the planned much-improved access to off-street car parks should result in a net benefit of better access to car parking.
On the corner of Warren and Heretaunga St East there is a wide portion of footpath with the adjacent building set well back (in front of the Hawke’s Bay Today building).
There are three trees and two bike stands in what is a large space of empty paving which is significantly underused.
This space is of a good size and orientation, and so offers an ideal opportunity for a public space that could be used to pause, rest and socialise.
A different style and colour of paving could be used to indicate the pocket park.
It is proposed that planters with edges suitable for sitting on be installed. Grass and trees would provide visual interest and softening, shading and wind protection. A pergola would give further prominence to the space and planters would provide a buffer between this space and moving traffic.
Railway Rd is the major southern gateway into the city centre; a key connection that leads to the very core of the city centre.
However, at the point where Railway Rd reaches Eastbourne St, traffic is directed to either turn left or right at traffic lights, with the large southern car park directly ahead.
Pedestrians can cross but have to find their way past the car park to access a footpath leading north to the Central Plaza and other parts of Heretaunga St.
It is proposed that a more welcoming first impression be created by allowing vehicles to continue straight ahead into the car park, from where Heretaunga St is easily accessible on foot.
This reconfigured gateway into the city centre will create a good first impression.
The new entrance to the car park would be supported by a strong line of trees leading towards the Central Plaza complementing the existing trees in the area, and low vegetation would line the access way.
A much wider footpath, more like an elongated public space with plantings and street furniture, leading into Heretaunga St would invite people to spend time in the area.
This space can also provide the ‘stitch’ to link the Central Plaza with Civic Square, creating a green artery for pedestrian movement. This link will provide a pleasant walking and cycling corridor through the city, complemented by quality open spaces. Places to sit and pause could be introduced along this corridor.
Along Railway Rd South, between Lyndon St and Eastbourne St, changes are proposed that will make the entrance into the city centre more inviting.
Recently Council replaced the dense stretch of shrubs between the street and the railway line with low planting. This has increased visibility across the railway line, helping with the route legibility in that area of the city centre.
It is proposed that small areas of seating and several new trees be added to this area. This would make this part of Railway Rd more attractive as an entranceway and encourage people to use it as a lunch break destination, particularly those working in the nearby offices and in the new Police headquarters being constructed.
Tree branches along the strip would need to be kept above eye-height, in order to retain visibility for route legibility and for passive surveillance purposes.
Karamu Rd is the major northern gateway corridor into the city centre. It is the key connection to the city’s commercial areas, the hospitality and entertainment precinct, and the Civic Square Library and Art Gallery precinct. This road also follows the historic route along which Hastings was established.
For these reasons it is proposed that improvements be made to the streetscape of Karamu Rd to provide a clear visual and physical signal that this is a main gateway into the city centre.
This could be achieved by softening the hard landscaping with the continuation of the planting of rata trees along the stretch, new footpath treatments, and the installation of feature lighting and banners.
This treatment would increase the amenity of these three blocks, giving visitors a more attractive and welcoming first impression when entering the centre via this route.
There is significant private investment into the refurbishment of the former HB Today building and development of a new office/hospitality precinct on the corner of Karamu Rd and Queen St. It is recommended that Council consider street upgrade and parking improvements as part of this project to extend down the Queen St East 200 block.
A more comprehensive redevelopment programme is proposed for the northern section of Karamu Rd, between Heretaunga St and Eastbourne St.
This block provides the connection between Hastings’ main street and Civic Square. It is proposed that pedestrians be given much greater priority in this precinct, in part achieved by narrowing the roadway to slow vehicles. Using special paving in the carriageway would indicate that the road was a shared space, encouraging pedestrians to cross and motorists to slow down.
The removal of the car parks on the southern side of the road would provide room for a much wider footpath on the sunny side of the street.
It would become an inviting public space to enjoy between Heretaunga St and Civic Square. Banners and special lighting would provide further vitality and could be used to announce specific events in the art gallery, the library or elsewhere in Civic Square.
It is envisaged that additional tree planting would provide shelter and verticality on both sides of the road.
A special intersection treatment at Eastbourne St would announce the arrival into Civic Square. The traffic lights at this intersection would be retained.
There is also the opportunity (to be aligned with Project 5) to make Hastings City Art Gallery the main focal point of this gateway view, with the installation of large art piece visible from a distance and lit at night.
It is also suggested that the cultural and historic significance of Karamu Rd be made visible and celebrated using street art, stylised paving and/or other streetscape elements to provide symbolism and interpretation.
Across the road from the entrance to Civic Square, the Council car park offers a key opportunity for a building to help activate and spatially define this portion of Karamu Rd. It is proposed that Council undertakes or enables the development of a building that accommodates a retail or commercial use on the ground floor and a commercial, community or residential use on the upper floor/s. It is crucial that this building integrates well with the street and provides weather protection through a veranda. With reconfiguration and consolidation of its layout, the car park can continue to function, despite the reduction in area and therefore the number of parking bays.
Landmarks Square is a popular and attractive public space in the city centre due to its favourable orientation and location just off Heretaunga St East. Visitors, shoppers and workers use it as a space to meet people, eat their lunch, or rest.
Building on its success, it is proposed that this public space be extended over the adjacent Council car park.
Public consultation has indicated a need for more landscaped public areas in the city centre with children’s play places and public toilets. The expansion of Landmarks Square is considered an excellent opportunity to add to the city centre’s green space.
An area of raised lawn with edges to sit on is proposed for the Warren St boundary. This lawn would provide an area to sit, lie or play on. It would also form a buffer between a proposed children’s play area and the street. The lawn would feature a sculpture over fall-safe paving that could be played on by children of various ages. It is envisaged that it would be photogenic – encouraging residents and visitors to take their photos in front of it.
The planting of trees and low vegetation to the rear of the space would deter antisocial behaviour while not limiting passive surveillance from the street. The planting would also filter the view of the car park behind. There would be a direct pedestrian connection between the extended pocket park and the car park.
The southern part of the space could be used for outdoor dining, adding further vibrancy to the area. Towards the northern end of the extension it is proposed that a set of public toilets be constructed. They would be designed and placed in a way that is not too intrusive, while allowing good visibility for security purposes.
Albert Square is leased from the landowner by Council to provide the community with an area of green space in the city centre.
Given it is not in Council ownership, investment in fixed infrastructure to date has been minimal. It is limited to a large chess set, a storage shipping container, and four bench seats and fruit trees planted around the street edge. Adjoining shipping containers are provided to the Hastings City Business Association, one of which can transform into a covered stage when the side door is pulled down.
Given the optimal location of this site relative to local cafes and restaurants, the library, the art gallery and the bus stop, it is proposed that the space be further developed on the basis that any infrastructure could be relocated if necessary.
The redevelopment of this space would be particularly focussed on youth, who are currently not well catered for in the heart of the city centre. The relatively large size of Albert Square and its good visibility make it ideally suited to this.
As identified by the Youth Council, sustainability is a key consideration. This site provides the optimal location to introduce solar powered phone charging stations with Wi-Fi, which could be artistic as well as functional, providing seating and shelter.
Additional activities could be added to the site, such as a covered table tennis or swing-ball adjacent to the chess set, with seating and a shade sail.
The shipping container stage would be retained and there is potential for the standalone shipping container to be used by youth for activities.
To complement the existing fruit trees, raised gardens planted with herbs and vegetables could be installed along the car park boundary, watered using the existing irrigation on the site.
Such facilities and activities would encourage the use of this space by young people after school hours, with the added benefit of attracting families in the evenings and weekends and office workers during lunch breaks.
The City Centre Strategy 2013-2033 identifies the need to develop cross-block pedestrian connections through the city centre, linking off-street public car parks with shopping areas.
To achieve this, the strategy identifies that Council should acquire strategic sites as opportunities arise. Successful laneways should be located in the middle of city blocks.
They should be clearly signalled from the street and easy to find, provide clear sightlines along their length, and be open to the sky to draw in sufficient daylight.
They should feel safe, have some activity along their edges, be well-lit at night, and be sufficiently wide (at least 3.5m). High quality design and materials should be applied.
The provision of pedestrian connections between off-street parking areas and the retail and entertainment attractors of Heretaunga St improves the accessibility and permeability of the city centre. By providing more people with easier access to more car parks, the laneways also mitigate the removal of some street car parks for vibrancy initiatives.
The continuous built edge of Heretaunga Street means that any new pedestrian links to mid-block public car parks will need to go through and be integrated within existing buildings.
The recent development of the 300 West Laneway has successfully provided an attractive mid-block direct pedestrian access from Heretaunga St West to an existing off-street public car park. The retention of the historic building façade has meant the character of the streetscape has been preserved.
The recent strategic purchase of buildings in the 200 West block presents the opportunity to further develop this initiative by providing a laneway link to a new off-street public carpark planned for the block bounded by Heretaunga St, King St, Queen St, and Market St. The proposed King St pocket park (Project 7b) would be connected to this network. It is envisaged that the laneway would be of a style and design that complements the 300 block laneway, with a further opportunity to introduce sustainable elements such as living walls.
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