Hamilton Central 1968 vs early 1980s: Parking & Pedestrians

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The 1968 Transportation Study counted 7,394 car parks in Hamilton Central. In 1982, the ‘Parking in the Central Business Area report’ counted 10,204 car parks, a 38% increase. So if increased parking supply really did attract more pedestrians, one would expect to find some evidence.

There were a number of noteworthy events in the 1970s, including the 1973 international oil crisis, Locally, Chartwell Square was built in 1974, the Government Life building was added to the city skyline, and there was no pedestrian counts till the end of the decade, when Council restarted them.

The following quote is from the Annual Pedestrian Survey Hamilton, Central Business District – 1981, conducted by the Corporate Planning Department. “This Survey was done in response to a discontinuation – after 1970 – of pedestrian surveys conducted by the NZ Institute of Valuers. Prior to this study a pilot study was conducted with a limited number of counts along Victoria Street to test the methodology of the survey. The 1981 survey was done after the completion of the Government Life building” (p8). The image below shows the 1968 study results for Victoria Street, to which I have added the 1980s & 2010 counts and below that, I done the same to 1981 fig 3.

It is very easy to say that Chartwell Square had an effect on the attractiveness of Hamilton Central. The comments in the pedestrian survey say nothing about Chartwell Square, or effect on Hamilton Central, but the report writer does say that because the “survey techniques adopted by the [1968 survey] are not consistent with those adopted by this Department, care must be taken in comparing data and drawing subsequent conclusions relating to changes or trends in pedestrian traffic”.

Through the 1970s, the Hamilton Central parking supply increased by 38%, the population of Hamilton increased by over 20%, and in 1974 the Chartwell Square shopping mall opened. As a comparison, in the Dutch City of Groningen, the Paddepoel shopping centre opened in 1969; in 1976 the Dukenburg shopping centre opened near Nijmegen; and in 1978 the Kronenburg shopping centre opened near Arnhem. The 1970s was a popular decade for the creation of suburban shopping malls.

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