School block – Grey, Te Aroha, Peachgrove, Clyde

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In the Grey, Te Aroha, Peachgrove, and Clyde Street blocks there are 6 schools. Half the students living there do not need to use a car to get to their place of study. The 2018 census reported that a third would walk or bike, while others took the bus to school or studied from home. In this block, a nominal 6% biked to school. In the early 1980s, 33% biked and 44% walked to school in Hamilton (p6*). In 2009, NZTA report 380 noted that “Generally, approximately 20% of students want to cycle to school and are realistic cycling candidates” (p.40). There is a lot of potential to reduce peak school motor vehicle traffic. The key barrier to this is “Parental fears for their children’s safety” (p.12, report 380),

*Cycling in Hamilton Volume 1, Hamilton City Council Works Department: NZ 0711 720 993 115 1 HAM

Hamilton City Council Traffic counts and Transit Supplement Part 15 Bicycle p13

“Parental fears” are justifiable in that most of these roads carry over 10,000 vehicles per day. ‘Many felt that cycling was made more dangerous by the fact that cyclists were forced to use the ordinary street’ (p.8*), “more than 60% of those who regularly rode to school rode on the footpath (p.15) … Formalized ‘SHARE WITH CARE’ routes on strategic footpaths would hugely expand available routes to school” (p.35, Report 380). But there is a limit to sharing; note No 21 (June 2010) from Vic Roads comments that ‘As the volumes of cyclists and pedestrians using shared use paths increase, there is often a reduction in the level of service and safety for all path users …Clear Zones for Cyclists. It is important that a clearance of 1.0m (0.5m minimum) is provided between the edge of a shared use path and any obstacle”(p5). This tells us the obstacle-free width of a shared-use path is 5.0m wide (4.0m minimum).

June 2010 Vic-Roads-Cycle-Note-No.-21_Widths-of-off-road-shared-use-paths

Viastrada shared path poster and Vic Roads Note 21 graph p3

The 1980s detailed counts of the numbers and routes of students biking to school give us a clear target. We also know more students walk. The table below adds the total of cyclists using sections of road around this school block to the pedestrian count, which adds 30%, to give a benchmark of type split between 44% walking and 33% biking using a shared use path. Looking at the Viastrada and Vic Roads shared path graph above, a path needs to have a good 4+m clear width (e.g. 3m path 0.5+m clearance each side).

We see in Viastrada and Vic-roads notes that shared-use paths by design clearly promotes cycling. Cyclists must also be considerate towards pedestrians. Shared space means that the speeds of the pedestrian and bicycle traffic should be closer than on separated lanes and the fastest moving user gives way to the slowest user. We already have a Rule (since 2004) requiring the likes of e-scooters, skate boards and other wheeled recreational devices to give way to pedestrians – see clause 11.1(5): “A person using a wheeled recreational device on a footpath must give way to pedestrians and drivers of mobility devices”.

If we want to reduce traffic congestion, we need to let our children move more freely. Parents do fear for their children’s safety, so we need to ensure children are safe travelling to school independently of their parents. Expect speeds around school to be 30kmh; expect more traffic tables; expect road space to be reallocated; think “[the] fastest moving user gives way to the slowest user”.

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