Our submission on the Draft 2014/15 Annual Plan

Hamilton City Council’s Annual Plan for the coming 12 months has been open for submissions since April 2. This Friday 2nd May will be the closing date for submissions, so we’re running a series of posts this week outlining what’s in the plan and giving some guidance on making a submission in support of a more vibrant, liveable and sustainable city.

The homepage for HCC’s annual plan is here. Along with the full 63-page document (most of which is funding projections), it contains a summary of the plan and a handy guide to making a submission.

I encourage anybody wishing to make a submission to use the below as a base, amending where necessary to reflect your own views or interests. It is as simple as copying and pasting into the council’s online submission form.

NB: Although most of the online form’s identification fields are optional, I would strongly suggest they be completed, as submissions from people who haven’t identified themselves as Hamiltonians by virtue of their contact details might be given a lesser weighting or ignored outright.

Submission to Hamilton City Council on Draft 2014/15 Annual Plan

COUNCIL PERFORMANCE

The council has practiced good fiscal management in recent years and it’s pleasing to see that the council expects to return to surplus by 2017. I would also like to recognise council’s efforts towards improving safety on our roads. The ongoing upgrades to the Hamilton Gardens have been well received, and I am delighted to see investment in upgrading parks and playgrounds over the coming year. I also eagerly await the reopening of the central city section of the river path.

COUNCIL GOALS AND OBJECTIVES: TRANSPORT

I note that my submission is in accord with the council’s objectives in the transport arena as specified in the current 10-year plan, these being:

• Influence land use development so that it reduces the need to travel
• encourage alternative travel choices
• Provide safe options for all forms of transport of the existing network and planning for future development.

“One of our key challenges is to encourage people to consider travel alternatives to single occupancy car journeys.”

In light of the latter statement, I would argue that improving the perception of safety of cycling is likely to be a very cost-effective means of reducing single occupant car journeys.

GROWTH IN CYCLING AND REINSTATEMENT OF CYCLE COUNTS

I am confident that the increased number of citizens choosing to cycle for transport purposes has been noted by transport engineers within council, which demonstrates that past investment in cycling infrastructure has been largely well spent. With the recent opening of the nearby AvantiDrome/Home of Cycling we can expect to see further increase in cycling numbers. The council previously ran a series of automated and manual cycle counts, and I would request that these be reinstated to gauge the effects of the councils’s spending in this area. It is well known that targeted cycling infrastructure works ease road and parking congestion and tend to have very high Benefit/Cost Ratios.

SAFE WALKING AND CYCLING ROUTES TO SCHOOLS

Given the reduction in road congestion during school holidays, it is quite apparent that
minimising ‘school run’ car journeys could be of great benefit to the rest of Hamilton’s motorists. Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse is on record as saying that “…cycling to school in urban areas is declining because parents think it is dangerous”. This state of affairs can be improved, and I would suggest following the NZ Transport Agency’s ‘Model Communities’ approach, starting with a pilot programme at a selected school and seeing what combination of road safety improvements, training and facilities would drive greatest uptake of walking and cycling.

GREEN BELT WALK- AND CYCLEWAY PROPOSAL

Hamilton Urban Blog ( http://hamiltonurbanblog.co.nz/ ) has proposed the creation of a green ‘ring road’ for cyclists and walkers, based on the city’s historic green belt and tentatively named ‘Hamilton Green Ring’ (see post at http://wp.me/p4xhCi-2I ). I expect this idea would be of great interest not only to those wishing to travel around the city on a pleasant, safe, mostly off-road path, but also to fitness-oriented cyclists, joggers, skaters, etc. It would provide truly sustainable and safe transport alternatives to many of the city’s best attractions and amenities, including: the Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Lake, Claudelands Event Centre & Park, Hillcrest Velodrome and several other parks. Active transport links would connect it to Waikato University, Hamilton Transport Centre and other nearby destinations. The project could be implemented in stages and would not only open up under-used parkland to citizens and tourists alike, but also have a transformational effect on the city. I expect that the cost of works would be relatively low and that the Benefit/Cost Ratio would be high, as is typical of walking and cycling infrastructure. I request that the council commission an investigation of the feasibility and likely cost of implementation for the project.

5 comments on “Our submission on the Draft 2014/15 Annual Plan

  1. The only use comment from Duncan-Campbell.pdf on improving roundabout was on page19.
    “Having the pedestrian crossing being within 20 meter of an around-about, is properly useful”

    Let me suggest this about round-about shown in slide show.
    “The traffic lanes are very wide. That’s good for speeding cars, bad for pedestrians crossing the roads, and bad for making the street a space where pedestrians feel comfortable”
    http://bettercities.net/article/problems-modern-roundabouts-20946

    And here is information on round-abouts from the UK
    “putting in cycle lanes, narrowing the traffic lanes to 3m or less, removing the centre line, putting in raised crossings of side roads and frequent pedestrian crossings all help. Refuges can work, but should really be part of a continuous median, otherwise cyclists will tend to get squeezed. Zebra crossings are better”
    http://www.transportparadise.co.uk/page/2/

  2. I support Ashley’s rationale 100%. And I strongly agree that it would be likely to have a transformational effect on the city generally, and I would add a transformational effect on the ecological health of the people and the land in particular. It’s a step in the right direction toward turning back the clock on climate change.

  3. Done. I added a little bit urging them to work with Waikato District to improve the biking options between Matangi/Tamahere and Hamilton. Trying to bike down Matangi road can be a bit of a death trap at times.

  4. Fantastic job, Ashley. What an inspiration your submission is. I hope our council can see the wisdom of your ideas & the massive benefits that will flow from implementing your suggested infrastructure evolution. Cheers! Phil

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