Category Archives: News

Hamilton’s walking rankings 2001-2018

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Hamilton’s ranking for the numbers of people walking to work and education is improving compared to other cities in New Zealand. It is a credit to the council staff’s years of use of minor works projects, producing many small steps that over time have created positive change. You can see a map of the improvements in this post: ‘Hamilton: 10 years of removing barriers’

The adding of the question on travel to education in the 2018 census helped Hamilton’s ranking: at 22.3% this is pretty good, but if we look back to the 1980s, 43.9% walked and 32.7% biked to school. You can see the survey results on the post ‘Hamilton bike plan 1988’. The 1980s figure of 43% walking to education shows the potential for reducing the number of cars during school pick-up and drop-off times to benefit other road users in Hamilton. When it comes to walking to work, Hamilton is only average, because there are a few major roads that traffic engineers use to suppress walking, including Boundary Rd, Ulster St, Te Rapa Rd, Lorne St …

Lorne Street mid block pedestrian desire lines: one of the busiest crossings in Hamilton

The way Hamilton has used modern zoning, which over-separates land-uses also reduces walkability. What stands out as the worst example of this is Porirua, which is at bottom of the rankings for both biking and walking to work. Porirua was planned using modern town planning rules and it shows the outcome of exclusive zoning.

2 new pedestrian crossings in this minor works project; we need to keep doing this

The good news is that pedestrian crossings are coming back. Giving pedestrians priority is the quickest way to increase the percentage of people using this most efficient form of transport. However, we could do more; it isn’t hard. In Christchurch, as in many cities in the world, the pedestrian crossing lights default to green in line with green lights for motor vehicle traffic, meaning the pedestrian does not need to press the beg button at every light-controlled crossing. However, it is safer road crossings on school routes and near suburban centres that will increase the total number of people walking and reduce the number of car journeys. Let’s have more safe crossings!

Category: News

Hamilton bike benchmarking 2001-2018

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Like most cities, Hamilton has had a good number of bike plans, such as the 5-year plan in the 1988 ‘Cycling in Hamilton Study’, followed by the 20-year plan in the 1999 ‘Hamilton Cycle Network Strategy’, then a 10-year plan in the 2010 ‘Access Hamilton Active Travel Plan’, and most recently the 30-year plan in the 2015 ‘Hamilton Bike Plan’. The rankings below measure how effective Hamilton’s bike investment has been compared to other cities in New Zealand.

In 2001 Hamilton was ranked fifth; by 2006 Hamilton dropped to seventh in the census, and then in 2018 census travel to education was added: Hamilton dropped to eighth. This change in ranking is not about central government. This is all to do with local leadership. As an example the new shared-use path from the new Rotokauri Station ends at Arthur Porter drive, 200 metres short of the Wairere Drive shared use path, forcing cyclists to share the road with trucks and trailers on Arthur Porter drive. This not a funding issue, this is about decision makers’ inability to understand the needs of people new to biking.

Shared use path from the Rotokauri Station Stops 200m short of existing off-road path on Wairere Dr, which throws the cyclist back onto the road with large truck and trailer units.

We also know that when you make it safe to bike to school, parents will let their children bike to school. At Rototuna Junior High School ‘about 60 per cent of them cycle’, and at Nelson’s Broadgreen Intermediate School ‘60–70% of students regularly cycle’*. The change in ranking is about leadership being focused on people new to biking. What the ranking also shows is that Hamilton is not holding on to existing cyclists. *NZTA Report 380 ‘I want to ride my bike’ page 11

try to map how it connects to Hamilton Girls’ High’s bike parking area

Nelson has an excellent cycleway along a converted disused rail corridor, which runs along the back of the school. The Christchurch railway cycleway connects a number of schools and shopping centres. Hamilton has the western rail trail, but try to map how it connects to Hamilton Girls’ High’s bike parking area.

Donny Park path stops 200m short of the school

Hamilton has a long history of building paths for school students that do not connect to schools. In the 1988 ‘Cycling in Hamilton Report’ Donny park was to be part of ‘Cycle Routes off City Streets – There are a number of opportunities for developing cycle-ways through recreation reserves so as to provide more direct connection from main routes to schools’. Today, after 3 decades, Hamilton’s latest long term plan still puts the ‘Parks Connections Programme’ as unfunded.

Minogue Park, here again roads are 200m apart with no path connecting

There is hope: the ‘Eastern Pathways Project’ plan of ‘connecting 19 schools and over 9500 students and provides safer transport options for local communities’ and the Uni link, which aims to ‘connect the city centre, University of Waikato and surrounding schools’. The challenge is whether our city leaders can build a connected bike network designed for people new to biking. If it succeeds, Hamilton will be ranked within the top three bike-friendly cities in New Zealand.

P.S. ask for the ‘Parks Connections Programme’ to be funded in your submission to Hamilton’s Long-Term Plan.

Category: News