Neighbourhood Walking ranking in Hamilton 2001-2018

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Hamilton’s Central City Transformation Plan (CCTP) Refresh sets a goal to ‘Improve walkability to and from the central city so walking trips under 2km will increase from 26% to 50% in the next 10 years’*. The Climate Change Commission writes that ‘researchers have recommended a target to double the proportion of trips by walking to 25% of all trips by 2050’**. Census data shows 5% of Hamilton’s work force is walking to work and 22% of students are walking to education. The table below ranks Hamilton neighbourhoods in terms of the percentages of people actually walking to work and education. It’s important to note that population density on its own does not mean higher walkability: more on density near the end of this post.

*Council Open Agenda – 29 April 2021 page 67 – Central City Transformation Plan (CCTP) Refresh – page 67

**Chapter 4b: Reducing emissions – opportunities and challenges across sectors Transport, buildings and urban form – page 10

The above table also shows the age of neighbourhoods using coloured highlights: those developed pre modern town planning rules, pre modern zoning (Green), are the most walkable, followed by neighbourhoods developed under the District Scheme (Grey). The post 1990s (Brown) neighbourhoods have proven to be the least walkable neighbourhoods. The 1990s Town Plan to “offer GREATER overall flexibility… allow for integration of all land uses” … “to minimize the need for people to travel long distances between home and work” is flawed. The Town Plan authors explained why the town plan was three time larger than the past district scheme: “We can’t do much about its length – the trade-off for having a more flexible scheme is that all the various possibilities must be spelled out” (see scrapbook image at end of post). The post-1990s planned ‘flexible scheme’ with ‘various possibilities’ shows that more planning rules do not make more walkable neighbourhoods. Here is a link to the 1960s District Scheme zoning map (link), a blog post with a map of age of per 1960s neighbourhoods (link) and below are maps showing the age of planned areas along with density

Density does help, but a pleasing walkable route need a mix of activities, land uses, trees, building types and building ground floor uses to make the walk feel shorter. Single use zoning is the enemy of walkable neighbourhoods.

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