Hamilton Bike Plan: the 2000s

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By 2004 Hamilton had 27km of cycleway; up from 25km in 2003 (2004-14 Long term plan p7 & p78). The 2012-22 Long Term Plan contained 116 km of cycle lanes. The growth of these cycle lanes was going so well that it was planned to compress the 20 year cycling plan to a 10 year plan.

2012-22 Long terms plan (p68)

A 2005 Cycling Strategy report, prepared by Roger Boulter for Hamilton City Council, explained the priority was on “repeat customers” with an approach of “keeping existing cyclists cycling” as a higher priority than seeking to attract new cyclists . “Generally – not only in Hamilton – the main cyclist flows match the main motor traffic flows, because cyclists mostly are accessing the same destinations as are motorists, and have the same practical needs for directness and convenience’ (p3). The graph below shows that the 100+ km of new cycle lanes stabilised the decline in cycling and was beginning to bring back cyclists.

Access Hamilton Active Travel Plan: Page 7

The 2005 Cycling Strategy report explained that the network had been divided in the six city sectors, each of which was intended to have cycling facility provision added over a period of 2-3 years, thus covering the entire city over an initially 20-year period. Starting with ‘Sector 1: CBD – University: The CBD/ University Sector – the highest priority focus in terms of cycling numbers – had already received substantial investment in 1996-98, including the country’s first advanced stop lines’. Sector 2: Southern: The Bader Street/ CBD shared path along the river and Deanwell/Melville Kahikatea Drive route alongside the rail line to Ward St/ CBD. Sector 3: Western: The Rifle Range Road/ Norton Road/ CBD. Sector 4: North-Eastern: The Flagstaff/ Harrowfield/ Queenwood/ Bankwood/ Heaphy Terrace/ CBD. Sector 5: North-Western; Te Rapa Road/ CBD and River path/ CBD, and lastly Sector 6: CBD:

2006-12 Long terms plan

Near the end of this first decade council started to devise an active travel plan. Its draft vision statement was “Work to increase the existing levels of cycling and walking, to ensure that Hamilton is a city where active travel is the preferred choice for short journeys.” The draft plan also included comments from the Hamilton city council 2006 quarterly Survey.

It was suggested a firm commitment to fund construction of Hamilton’s cycle network had been made by the City Council within the LTCCP and Annual Plans. These plans reflect national and regional policies and strategies such as the New Zealand Transport Strategy and the Regional Land Transport Strategy. The intention was that, within the next 10 years a significant amount of the network will be in place.

10 year Cycleway Network Programme


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Hamilton’s Bike Plan 1999

The quoted information in this post comes from a 1999 report: The Hamilton Cycle Network Strategy Report 1999, by OPUS.

In an international context, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in 1992 at Rio de Janeiro and came into force in March 1994. The UNFCCC required New Zealand to aim to ‘return greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2000’. In 1998 New Zealand signed the Kyoto Protocol; under this protocol, New Zealand’s commitment was not to exceed 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels, on average, during 2008-2012. “The transport section is the greatest single contributor to CO2 emission (37% in 1997)” [47% in 2018] (6.2 p19).

Locally, in Hamilton, this report ‘identified some 38km of road and 19 intersections that are particularly hazardous for cyclists’ (1.3 Key Findings p2), and stated ‘Planning for cycling must therefore start from the premise that, whatever special facilities are provided, the network should be made as convenient and as safe as possible for cyclists’ (7.1 Cyclists’ needs, p18), and it also recognised ‘Not all cyclists will want to use a segregated cycle path alongside an arterial road. Sports cyclists on training rides and experienced commuter cyclists, for example, are likely to prefer to cycle on the road’ (9.1.4 p54).

The report included cycle crash analyses of 185 cycle reported crashes from 1993 to 1997. It also notes that during this period, the number of people cycling in the central city in Hamilton had almost halved. ‘Clearly the risk of a cycle crash in Hamilton City has increased’ (8.1 & 8.2 p34). In addition, ‘Cyclists aged between 10 and 14 years are the most highly represented in reported cycle crashes. The second group most likely to feature in cycle crashes are cyclists aged 15 to 19 years’ (8.8 p42). ‘Sixty percent of reported cycle crashes occurred at intersections. The study identified 37.8 km of road and 19 intersections that are particularly hazardous for cyclists’ (8.17 p52).

Recommended Intersection Treatments (9.2) included, ‘that bicycle lanes be carried through intersections, that advanced stop lines for bicycles be provided at all signalised intersections’.

(9.3) Roundabouts – ‘Cyclist crash rates at roundabouts are up to 15 times those for motor vehicles and 2 to 3 times for cyclists at traffic signals. Cyclists feel especially vulnerable at large and busy roundabouts. Small radius, single lane roundabouts … can make the intersection safer for cyclists. But small roundabouts with flared entries and multi-lane roundabouts increase the hazards for cyclists’ (p64).

The Bicycle Route Network (10 p71) explains that ‘While the commuting preference is for the development of an on-road cycle network, recreational off-road cycle paths have a legitimate place in a cycle network strategy aimed at encouraging people to cycle in the city’ (p76). ‘A 1996 survey of 700 Hamilton City residents aged 18 or over revealed that 28 percent rode a bike in the city, fifty-five percent of those bicycle trips were for recreation’ (p72).

10.1.3 (p72) The City’s roading and reseal programme should be reviewed each year to identify whether any roads which are part of the proposed cycle route network are programmed for reseal or other works. Any such roads should then be assessed with a view to creating the required space for bicycles; this is relatively cheap and is estimated to account for 65% of the cycle route network.

At present, many people perceive that it is not safe to cycle in Hamilton City, and this perception is a barrier preventing them from cycling in the city. This perception must be changed if more people are to be encouraged to cycle (p75).’ ‘There is no single, correct way in which to prioritise or stage the development of a cycle network in Hamilton City.’ ‘Different people have different ideas about which links in the network should be developed earlier, and which it would be acceptable to delay.’ ‘What is more important is that part of the network is developed each year and that over a period of time, say, no more than 20 years’ (p78).

Below are a few page showing some the detail in this plan.


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