Trees in the city centre

LOOK “There’s no cause for alarm. I chopped just one tree. I am doing, no harm. I’m being quite useful” said the Once-ler … “you seem to be chopping as fast as you please” said the Lorax … “I intend to go on doing just what I do!” said the Once-ler … and at that very moment, we heard a loud whack! … The very last – tree in Hamilton central will be gone by the mid-2030s, just as the last fruit tree was in 2018. (more from Dr Seuss here)

After some two century of colonial fruit trees in Hamilton’s centre, in September 2018 the last fruit tree was gone.

 In 2010 in the central area of Hamilton I counted 420 trees that could be called mature (15 years+), and of these about 135 could be called large trees. Now, in 2020, over 38% of those trees have been removed, and what is even sadder is that close to 40% of the large trees are gone.

In Dec 2019 the tree above was removed after storm damage, but looking across Hamilton Central it is not easy to understand why so many trees needed to be removed.

If we look back at the 2014 beautification of Anglesea Street, the removal of the mature Mexican ash trees took all of them; using Google street view from pre-2014 shows root damage to the path on the western side, but looking closely at the eastern side there is no visible footpath damage. Is there carelessness in the justification of tree removal?

“No trees for the future would be dreadful indeed. That’s why I carry my bag of tree seeds” said Truax the logger … “We’ve worked really hard to manage our trees – To keep lots of them growing and free from disease” … “I agreed with the Guardbark that it always is good to save some of the old, historical wood” … in National Preserves … set aside JUST to look nice (Well – critters and plants DO use this land. It just isn’t used by woman or man) … “And perhaps best of all” the Guardbark beamed “I think things ARE NOT quite as bad as they seemed” (more from Terri Birkett on Truax here)

Hamilton Report 1989 page79 (1Ivor Cunningham from Nature in Cities, editor Ian C.Laurie)

The legacy of the last decade – the Municipal pools closed, Euphrasie House demolished, St Paul’s Methodist Church now a car-park, 40% of the mature trees in CBD gone, Farmers Co-op building gone, Founders theatre closed. It might be a good time to start retaining the old to share with future generations.

Category: News

Hamilton’s First bike plan – Anglesea St

Waikato Argus – ‘Cycling Tracks’ 13 Sep 1913 – ‘The Mayor said … He thought the time had come when they should lay down cycle tracks in Hamilton … Cr Speight was totally against the proposal … Cr Tristram said his experience was that cyclists deserved no consideration whatever … Cr McKinnon said … If they formed cycle tracks … they would have more trouble controlling the traffic than they had at present … Cr Hayter said he would like to see cyclists getting a fair chance. They had none at present against vehicle drivers … Cr Howden suggested that the committee should experiment with a track right along Anglesea Street’.

Hamilton Library photo Central city car park HCL_M00278.18

By the late 1960s *‘It was considered that the prediction of future cycle trip movements would be of little value and this item was omitted from the projection procedure’ even though ‘cycle trips amounted to 11%’ in travel mode data. *Hamilton transport study Basic data report: 1968 – (p29 & 38)

In the Hamilton Transport study April 1973 – Page 37-48

(p37) – Between 1968 and 1988 … CBA (Central Business Area) employment is projected to increase by 62 percent from 11,000 to 19,000 … an efficient transport system for the movement of people and goods is essential. (p39) … To provide adequate capacity by 1988, forecasted traffic will require about 10 to 12 north and south bound traffic lanes on Victoria, Anglesea and Tristram Streets … (p42) With further development in the CBA beyond 1988, additional capacity could be provided by widening Anglesea and/or Tristram Streets.

Hamilton Transport Study April 1973 – page 42 – by Beca, Carter, Hollings and Ferner/Wilbur Smith and Associates

The Hamilton report, by the University of Auckland school of Architecture May 1989 (p123) – ‘Anglesea Street and Tristram Street could remain as the heavy traffic bypass, but it is essential to upgrade road facilities so they do not destroy communities or natural environment … (p125) we know there are about 20,000 residents who regularly ride bikes. During a five year period there were 187 accidents including 2 fatalities’. (Cycling in Hamilton, Works Department 1988)

Hamilton city centre local plan Oct 2012 – page 13

There was some hope for Anglesea St in the Hamilton City Centre Local Area Plan, April 2012 – (p18) ‘The nature of Anglesea Street will change from vehicle oriented to a mixed use street with increased pedestrian priority and amenity … (p74) Continue to implement the public realm master-plan that has been developed including the creation of a northern entry boulevard along Anglesea Street with pedestrian and cycling provision.’

Submission to HCC for Separated Cycleways on Anglesea St

In 2014 “A section of one of Hamilton’s busiest CBD streets will have a new more modern look and feel after much-needed maintenance and renewals work is completed’. The council was again asked (link to Max post & Ashley post) if it could include cycle lanes. The ‘modern look’ feels the same as in the 1960s *‘It was considered that the prediction of future cycle trip movements would be of little value and this item was omitted from the projection procedure’

After over a century since Cr Hayter said ‘he would like to see cyclists getting a fair chance. They had none at present against vehicle drivers’ and Cr Howden suggested that ‘the committee should experiment with a track right along Anglesea Street’ the image above shows the first bit of green with bike symbol. As the image above shows it is not impossible to have cycling infrastructure along Anglesea St to give existing cyclists a fair chance; they have none at present against vehicle drivers.

Category: News