Hamilton Bike Plan: the 2010s

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The first decade of the new century went well, with over 100 km of cycle paths being added to Hamilton’s transport network and a plan to complete the cycle network within 10 years (by 2019).

Access Hamilton Active Travel Plan (March 2010): Page 37

Sadly, much of the momentum was lost with a change in central government, and change in council, followed by staff cuts within Hamilton City Council, which resulted in the loss of a huge amount of institutional knowledge. Hamilton staff had access to measureable pedestrian counts within the city centre from the 1960s and from the 1980s staff had counted school cyclists, cyclists using suburban intersections, and cyclists in the city centre. The city centre cycle counts did continue into the middle of the second decade of this century. But apart from detailed car counts, long-term trends in pedestrian and biking activity can now only be based on assumptions. Then we got a plan to increase the number of potholes and trip hazards in the 2012-2022 Long Term Plan.

In 2013/14 Rex Bushell described the eastern bike network as the ‘East Hamilton dedicated cycleway network’  noting that there are 14 schools and a good number of suburban shopping centres along these routes.

For background notes on this see Sustainable Hamilton web site

In 2015 Hamilton City Council put together a bike Plan which told us that 30km (making a total of 146km*p8, also see note**) had been added to the bike network since 2012. The 2015 Bike Plan began with four short-term projects, these being (1) the ‘Western rail trail’ (completed in 2017); (2) Rex’s proposal, now renamed the ‘School Link’, highlighting that it will connect 15 schools and cater for almost 9,500 students. It will provide a biking route that is separated from both traffic and parking, reducing the number of cars on these roads; (3) Resolution Drive path (should be complete 2022); and (4) the shared-use path along State Highway 3 (complete).

 **A late 2017 council briefing still counts 146km of cycle-ways (p18) and here is a link to the 2018 Hamilton bike map, full of gaps.

The Hamilton bike plan also included a plan to ‘Implement signage which will include directional and way-finding information, including time and distance to key destinations’:  a mammoth task which we can now see throughout the city. The council also has a minor works programme, which allows it to do a good number of small projects (under $1m). This allowed cycle lanes be added to Claudelands road/bridge and a good number of other projects to be undertaken around the city, most of these near schools and suburban shops.

Another project in the Bike Plan is the ‘Te Awa River Ride South’ which is funded and planned to be completed in 2022. This leaves the ‘School links’ which is now joined with the medium-term project, known as the  ‘University route’, renamed as ‘Eastern Pathways’. The objectives are ‘to achieve a significant modal shift from private vehicles to walking, cycling and public transport’ and ‘improved access to social and economic opportunities for the local community’. As the 2015 bike plan explained, the benefits come from ‘reducing the number of cars on these roads during school pick-up times’.

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