Claudelands Eastern Rail Trail and its delays

Let’s not lose sight of the economic benefits of more people walking/biking to the improved Claudelands shopping area at the intersection of Te Aroha and Grey Sts. The direct link here is to channel students/locals and recreational cyclists along Te Aroha St. The Eastern rail trail channels people to Claudelands bridge, bypassing many of the active shop fronts, but it is an attractive route for fast commutes on E-bikes, scooters and bicycles with drop-down handlebars. Engineering-wise there is little preventing the establishment of 4 metre-wide cycle paths on the southern side of the eastern rail tracks, with access to a good number of quiet side streets linking to Te Aroha St.

There is a risk of delay in establishing this route, ranging from unenthusiastic locals to the Cosmopolitan Club not wanting to give up its car parking, Kiwi Rail’s processes (see below) and NZTA delaying funding or changing its priorities.

Here are some examples of the delays encountered when partnering with the rail corridor land controller.

Claudelands Rail Bridge was completed in 1883. It included a service foot path, which was not open to the public. Even though there was a demand for a pedestrian crossing, the public waited for a quarter of a century (1908) to legally walk across.

The Western Rail trail was first proposed in ‘Cycling in Hamilton 1988 page 21: Library REF 711,7209931151 HAM’. Three decades later, in April 2017, ‘the $6.7 million Western Rail’ was opened.

Rotokauri Station/Hamilton to Auckland rail – this latest round was fast: a mere two years, but don’t underestimate the effort required to make it happen. This was all driven at the highest levels in Government and Council, which included building strong personal relationships with Kiwi Rail and NZTA. We would all love to see this co-operation happen again; good luck Hamilton City Council!

Category: News

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