Victoria Street – raise and trends

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The following is a quote from the1990 annual pedestrian survey in Hamilton (page 7) – ‘The central business area is the busiest shopping area in Hamilton – it has the widest range of shops, ample parking, and some good pedestrian areas such as Garden Place and Centreplace. Over 35% of Hamilton’s employment is in the central city and Saturday shopping also brings many people into the city … Over the years there has been a ‘northwards creep’ of the business area, from the original Ferry-bank site of 1864, to the Victoria/Hood Street area of the 1880’s and then northwards along Victoria Street. The removal of Garden Place Hill in 1938/39 and the new Central Post Office of 1940 then firmly established Garden Place as the centre of the City … Since then there has been much commercial growth in the areas between Victoria Street and Anglesea Street, often causing the displacement of industrial uses which then moved to the Frankton and Te Rapa industrial areas. The lowering of the railway line in 1964 opened up the former Hamilton Railway Station area for commercial development … Comparisons of pedestrian counts in 1965 and 1970 (both Institute of Valuers) and 1977 showed increased pedestrianisation in the Bryce Street to Collingwood Street area of the central city but with counts outside this area remaining fairly constant’. Note: the last paragraph comment is about total city centre area pedestrian counts.

Image from Hamilton Central Area, A Planning Design Study June 1973, by James A. Anderson page 28 9

From the early 1980s, the highest pedestrian counts on Victoria Street were just south of Ward Street. The number of pedestrians counted in a half-hour period averaged 735 in the 1980s, 503 in the 1990s and 230 in the first decade of this century.

Photo from early 1980s Transportation study review

The graph below provides trends dating back to the late 1940s. Pedestrian numbers come from HCC and Property Institute annual counts (Victoria St only). Parking is total in the Hamilton central area. Bus numbers are city-wide ‘trips per person per year’ from reports available at Hamilton City Library, and car counts are Victoria Street only locations.

What I did not find was a peak pedestrian count, only a decline with a levelling off for the first decade of this century. If car parking increases pedestrian activity, the trend lines do not show this. Numbers of cars and bus trips per head trend lines have data gaps that are too large in the 1980s and 1990s to be able to say that fewer cars and more people in buses equals more pedestrians.

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