Category Archives: News

Parking evidence – retail spending 2018

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Hamilton’s electronic spending increased overall by 4.6% in 2017 to 2018; but in the Hamilton central area it increased by only 3.6%.

My February 2018 post on ‘Parking Evidence’ asked “If increased parking supply really did attract more pedestrians, one would expect to find some evidence, but there is none”. Over the last year, more buildings were pulled down and the land repurposed for car parking. My estimate is that over half the land (excluding roads) in the city central is set aside for car parking only. The question that needs to be asked is ‘how much is too much parking?

In this post I find that “If free parking supply really did attract more retail spending, one would expect to find some evidence, but there is none”. Late in 2017 a 2-hour free parking trial began in Hamilton Central City. The idea is that ‘On-street parking should be provided as a service to support an active, strong commercial central city’. The cost of extending this service into 2020 is $662,234. We now have a full year’s data with which to benchmark retail spending change. But first we should look back at what was known before 2-hour free parking was introduced.

Central City Plan Draft Central City Recovery Plan, For Ministerial Approval December 2011 – Central City Plan Technical Appendices 2 of 3 – Appendix O. Parking Plan Analysis

4) There is a lack of evidence that parking regulations hinder economic activity (p554)

“It is commonly claimed that reducing parking supply will result in decreased economic activity, but there appears to be no conclusive evidence to this effect. Research on the economic effects of parking constraints undertaken by Ben Still and David Simmonds (in Shoup, 2005) concluded that: “There is no clear evidence from aggregate statistical studies that parking is clearly linked to retail or other sector economic vitality… There is no systematic evidence to suggest that either lax parking standards encourage or that strict standards discourage economic growth.” Shoup (2005), therefore concludes that: “if restraints on the parking supply really did limit economic vitality, one would expect to find some evidence, but there is none. – Similar conclusions were also reached by Booz-Allen Hamilton’s (2006) study on parking restraint on business vitality in and around Auckland City. In addition Shoup (2005), highlighted a study undertaken by Oxford University economist Robert Bacon who developed a model showing that: “While bundled parking increases vehicle travel and traffic congestion, it may, perversely not increase the total sales of shopping centres.”

In the table above I start with dollar values from the HCC Elected Member Briefing (Annual Plan) – 21 March 2019, then I present total spend as percentages across Hamilton by location and as percentage change.  “If free parking supply really did attract more retail spending, one would expect to find some evidence, but there is none”.

From Briefing to council 21 March 2019 page38
Total spending 2017 = $1,783m, 2018 = $1,865, 4.6% increase
Spending in Central City Zone 2017 = $633m, 2018 = $656, 3.6% increase

Reference: Retail Location – see District plan maps

Category: News

Claudelands roundabout access improvements

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The roundabout at Grey St/ Te Aroha St has shops on all corners. When I looked to benchmark planned safety and access improvements, I went looking for a similar example. In Hamilton, Five Cross Roads has shops on each corner, but is missing a number of safe and accessible crossings. Having retail outlets on all corners does not happen as often as I thought it would; even when I looked overseas this was not a normal situation. It is what makes the Claudelands roundabout special.

This image has been downloaded from

I like what the team from Gray Matter have designed for Hamilton City Council. Putting the raised table crossings where people want to cross is good, but ideally the back edge of the raised tables should be 8 to 9 m back from the give way signs; this allows pedestrians to walk behind a vehicle waiting to enter the roundabout (see references below). For an 8-year-old biking alongside an active 80-year-old, the ‘on-road cycle lane connection to off-road shared path’ looks easy to use, and at a quiet time of day the biking route around the roundabout using the shared paths looks to be usable (at busier times a 3m-wide path is too narrow).

Two areas need a bit more thought. Firstly, Te Aroha Street between Palmer & Grey Streets should be future-proofed; the kerb should be built flush or the table should be extended to Palmer Street, so the way we use this area can change. This is a special place; if this small section of road is temporarily used as a shared space or as a market-place, motor vehicles still have three options to drive to/from Claudelands Road/Grey Street.

The second area that needs more attention is how cyclists exit the shared path onto the road; are these points dangerous by design? Is there a problem with the design guide being used?

References on location of pedestrian crossings

The NZTA Pedestrian Design Guide tells us ‘the crossings should be located on the pedestrian desire line … Street furniture that may obscure visibility should be located well away from the crossing, and vegetation should be regularly trimmed. Parking should be prohibited for at least 15 m either side of the crossing point (although this can be six metres if there is a kerb extension at least two metres deep).’

From The Netherlands: Roundabouts – Application and design – A practical manual (p49) ‘Pedestrian crossings should be set back from the give way line by one vehicle lengths (5 m to 6 m), in order to … allow the second entering driver to devote full attention to crossing pedestrians while waiting for the driver ahead to enter the roundabout’

Category: News