Category Archives: Advocacy

Hamilton’s west town belt 1913

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One of the goals of Hamilton Urban Blog is to promote the Hamilton Green Ring project

John Claudius Loudon’s 1829 proposal for ‘zones of country’, ‘breathing zones’ or ‘breathing places’ is shown as a belt that surrounds a city, similar to those in the proposed frontier towns to be built on confiscated land in the Waikato, including Hamilton’s original town belt. Over the years, the southern river link of Hamilton’s belt has come apart, with the sale of land for housing development and schools fencing their boundaries.

It is good that the council has increased park land area to the south. Also, the Hospital land is still in government ownership, including a parcel of land between the Lake, at 198 Pembroke St, linking to Selwyn St and the Hospital campus. This gives an option to link the Lake Path to the Hospital campus with an accessible path at a friendly gradient, suitable for 8- to 80-year-olds.

Looking to the northern part of the belt, the Waitawhiriwhiri stream and river area of the town belt is explained by Loudon (p. 690):

“In cases where towns and villages stretch along rivers, in very narrow vales, on the ridges of hills, or in narrow strips along the sea coast, these zones become unnecessary, because the surface of the land is supposed to be open on one or on both sides.”

My town belt drawing is based on the ‘Plan of Hamilton Borough and Frankton Borough’ which was drawn by Rob Airey in April 1913. The drawing includes the names of Surveyor General James Mackenzie, Chief Draughtsman Head Office Wellington, H.T.McCardell, and Chief Surveyor Auckland H.M.Skeet. This drawing is a bit more generous than earlier maps with regard to invasion/confiscation names. Hamilton Lake has the inclusion of its original name (Rotoroa), Te Rapa has moved north into Frankton borough as Te Rapa Parish, Pukete Parish is on the north side of Waitawhiriwhiri steam and Kirikiriroa Railway Station is in Claudelands

Category: Advocacy, News, Planning, Walking

Speed Design Vs Posted Speed

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The point of this post is to show a weak link between design speed and posted speed, and to illustrate that the optimum posted speed limit is set more by leaders than engineers.

A 5 km/h speed sign is what one sees when entering the car-park at Te Rapa PlaceMakers, while entering Bunnings car-park the speed is assumed to be 50 km/h. They are similar car-park designs, types of business and client types.

A 10 km/h speed limit is used at all supermarket car-parks unless you’re shopping at Countdown

15 km/h is the speed at Countdown supermarkets, unless you shop at Countdown Liverpool St, which is 10km/h. There are no engineering, design, franchise or user differences. What makes things different is the managers’ thinking about the level of risk and what is a ‘reasonably practicable’ speed to reduce the risk of harm.

20km/h is a benchmark speed. The AustRoads safety team, which led the Grey St safety improvement plan, mentions that speeds of around 20 km/h are used to avoid serious injury. A 20km/h limit is used in the German city of Koblenz for its city centre streets. The road use in central Koblenz isn’t different to Hamilton’s Barton St (30km/h) or Victoria St (50km/h between Bryce St and London St); only the risk of serious harm from speed is different.

30km/h is now what 50km/h was last century. Most urban areas in Europe use 30km/h as a default speed. There is a good reason: “for a speed choice of 30 km/h instead of 50 km/h, the estimated reduction in fatal crash risk is 95%” (from the AustRoads safety team that led the Grey St safety improvement plan). Even the Chief Executive of AA advocates for 30km/h speed limits. In Seattle, the speed limit on all residential (non-arterial) streets is 20 mph [30km/h], and the speed limit on arterials is 25 mph [40km/h], unless otherwise posted. Speed is the critical factor in the severity and frequency of crashes. Learn more about why Seattle lowered speed limits in 2016.

A 40km/h [25 mph] default speed is used increasingly across cities in the USA. Speed is the key to reducing the severity of harm resulting from mistakes. For Example: “Since 2014, [in] New York City … the city’s traffic fatalities have declined 28 percent with a 45 percent decline in pedestrian fatalities — bucking national fatality trends, which have increased 15 percent over the same period.”

50km/h is a misused speed in urban areas. It is seen to be an efficient speed for journeys that involve moving a very large number of motor vehicles along a single lane. The problem is that cities are made up of places, where people walk from homes or car-parks to socialise face-to-face, to shop, to go to school, or many other day-to-day activities, all of which involve crossing roads as pedestrians. A pedestrian will be almost always seriously harmed, and in fact has a 50% chance of being killed in a conflict with a person driving a car travelling at 50km/h. Never mind who makes the mistake, the pedestrian is always the victim.