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An upgrade would establish "future-focused multi-purpose streets and an environment that enhances lifestyle as well as safety'', a report in the draft plan said.
It would also improve connections between the tertiary campuses, the city, harbour and Water of Leith.
The $20 million option is one of three councillors will discuss next week, along with a more moderate investment of $11.3 million and a modest $4 million.
A report on the proposal said the tertiary precinct upgrade plan was developed after a 2014 report on improvement options for tertiary streets.
There were possibilities of funding help from tertiary institutions, and from the NZ Transport Agency.
The $11.3 million option, an amount included in the draft plan, would achieve "most of the objectives'' of the project.