Nawton/Grandview census area bright spot

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The area between Avalon Dr and Vernall St, which Statistics NZ calls Mesh block 090720 has much of the diversity advocated for by Jane Jacob.

Jane Jacob’s book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, advocates for “four generators of diversity” that “create effective economic pools of use”:

  1. Mixed primary uses, activating streets at different times of the day
  2. Short blocks, allowing high pedestrian permeability
  3. Buildings of various ages and states of repair
  4. Density – Mesh block 090720 = 2,730 people per km sq (a bit low by NY standards)

Nawton Mesh block 090720The people living in the area bounded by Avalon Dr, Grandview Rd, Vernall St and Livingstone Ave are within half a kilometre of most day-to-day services that the average person would need. If we extend this living radius to a nominal one kilometre, these households have a 20 minute walk to access schooling at every level and services of almost every type.

In the lowest part of the Unit areas images (for area maps see StatsMaps) we have two areas at the bottom of Western Heights that are showing the opposite type of change from the more diverse areas, which are closer to services. The outcome of this increasing “sameness” is that the area is not attracting increasing numbers of residents. The median age of the people left in these areas was about 10 years old than Hamilton’s overall median in 2001, and now the 2013 census show them closer to 15 years older. In addition, while the median income was $8,800 to $13,100 above the Hamilton median in 2001, this has now declined to $7,600 to $8,100 in 2013.

Nawton Grandview Pop Change 01-13 Nawton Grandview Age Change 01-13 Nawton Grandview Income Change 01-13

Looking at mesh block 090720, Location (close to schools), Location (close to services), Location (close to main transport corridor) and the presence of mature street trees, all help to create bright places like Livingstone St

Livingstone Ave

Post card from Axenstrasse

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The Axenstrasse is one of the most beautiful main roads in Central Switzerland. It is about 11km long. “On peak days there are up to 14 000 vehicles” (p1 Ref. 1). It is a two-way road with no structural separation of oncoming traffic. On the days I drove this road, the traffic volumes seemed not too different from the 18km-long SH2 drive between Paeroa and Waihi through the Karangahake Gorge, which has a daily traffic volume (DTV) of 8,374, of which 10% is heavy traffic.

This is a great drive for the passenger. Being the driver, my job was to watch my speed and position in the lane. In Switzerland, as in most places in the world, high traffic volumes are needed to justify the building of expensive, high-speed roads. Page 5 of Ref. 1 below explains why this Swiss road allows oncoming traffic that is not physically separated from the other lane as follows: “a DTV 20,000, a Truck percentage of more than 15 % requires two-tube systems”.

Ref. 1 –

Axenstrasse also has a history of many crashes. “Accident Statistics 1990-2015: 547 traffic accidents (5 deaths, 59 serious injuries, 203 slight injuries, property damage amounting to approximately 5 million Swiss francs)” (p15) .

To benchmark this to New Zealand’s SH2 Karangahake Gorge, this report from  Does anyone have up to date crash numbers?

Here is the postcard, Tellskapelle. Magnificent views of beautiful mountains, lake, and Swiss brown cows with bells.

Switzerland TellskapelleAnd below is another post card, of Morschach. We can see pedestrian crossings on this road; something we don’t see anywhere along SH2 in Karangahake Gorge, even when there are recognized access points and places with high volumes of pedestrians such as the Karangahake rest area and Waikino Tavern.

The first question New Zealanders should be asking our highway engineers is: If the Karangahake Gorge was in Switzerland, would Swiss transport engineers allow pedestrian crossings? – More ped crossing Morschach rest area

Switzerland Morschach

A more serious question is what speed limits would Swiss transport engineers use on a road like SH2 through Karangahake Gorge. NZ highway engineers have set the speed limits at 80kph with advisory speeds of 45 – 55 – 65 kph.

Driving the 11 km between Fluelen and Brunnen the speed limit does not go above 80km/h, and there are no advisory speeds. Where the road is not suitable for 80 kph, the legal speed limit is lowered to 60 km/h for reasonably long distances, making it a less hurried drive. There are also reductions to 50 km/h down to 30 km/h in urban areas, encouraging people to stop and spend locally.

Question: Is the Swiss approach safer? Do New Zealanders believe there is a safety benefit to using advisory speeds as opposed to having lower legal speeds? Does the NZTA Speed management guide allow 60kph speed limits on road like SH2 K Gorge? (p12)

Reference notes

A. Here is a You-Tube drive through CH / Axenstrasse

B. Axenstrasse project web site –

“with up to 14,000 vehicles/day”(p30)

“Two tubes? No, because: – Only from DTV 20,000 required” (p41)

C. Locations of speed signs.

South Bound

80km/h sign motorway Brunnen Nov 2013

Starts – 60/80km/h sign Brunnen Nov 2014

50 km/h sign entering Sisikon Nov 2014

50 km/h sign in Sisiken Nov 2014

60 km/h limit ends sign for south bound traffic Nov 2014

80 km/h signs with 60 km/h signs in tunnel before entering Fluelen – see youtube

60 km/h sign at roundabout Fluelen

80 km/h sign on motor way Fluelen

100 km/h sign on to motorway away from Fluelen

North bound

60 km/h sign on motorway entering Fluelen

60 km/h sign entering Fluelen

80/60 km/h sign entering tunnel leaving Fluelen

60 km/h limit ends sign for north bound traffic north of Fluelen

50 km/h sign Tunnel before entering Sisiken Nov 2014

50 km/h limit ends sign for north bound traffic north of Sisiken

60/80 km/h sign tunnel before Brunnen Nov 2014

Old 80 km/h (& 40 km/h) sign tunnel before Brunnen Oct 2013

100 km/h sign motorway Brunnen Nov 2014