Category Archives: Projects

School Links: Davies Corner

Hukanui-Peachgrove Road is a popular route to many schools and workplaces, but has congestion, high crash rates and dangerous spots for cycling. Potential to increase active transport (and reduce congestion) is good. So HCC has embarked on a $20m “School Link” project to provide “a safe cycleway for almost 9,500 students who go to school within the Hukanui/Peachgrove corridor”.

One of the ‘pinch points’ for cyclists and pedestrians on this route is Davies Corner. This is a busy suburban-strip-type shopping centre and roundabout at the intersection of Peachgrove, Hukanui and Clarkin Roads and Snell Drive.

Davies Corner Roundabout

Ratings using the Angela Cummins’ BooYay scale:

Yay –

  • The roundabout keeps traffic flowing
  • The Majestic Ginkgo tree in the roundabout
  • Mature trees on surrounding islands/berms
  • Angle i.e. ‘easy’ parking right in front of shops
  • Parking at the back of medical centre
  • There are bike racks
  • Roundabout floral displays

Davies Corner shops

Boo –

  • The roundabout – Dangerous for cyclists, as many roundabouts are. Drivers often go in front of cyclists’ paths or sneak past them rather than slowing down behind them, resulting in ‘near-misses’
  • Drivers’ speed, plantings obscuring views, and drivers or walkers not looking carefully enough make it unsafe for drivers, pedestrians and footpath cyclists
  • Angle parks – Limited visibility backing out
  • Bus lanes end abruptly at the roundabout, not much room for cyclists
  • Limited space to footpath cycle in front of shops
  • Bike racks not the best design, people often leave bikes outside shops where they can be left unlocked within view
    Regular roundabout plantings maintenance reduces space/visibility for cyclists
  • Unsafe u-turns on Hukanui Road
  • Delivery trucks parking in the centre turning bay
  • Poor visibility and high-ish crash rates on Kensington Ave

Ideas for Improvements:

Cycle Paths

Making dedicated cycle paths on the eastern side of Hukanui Road (opposite the shops) could be relatively easy, as the footpath is extra wide and could be widened a little and marked for cyclists’ use. The bus lane could be removed, its value seems to be in making sure cars don’t create another lane, since it is so short that the time merging in and out of it may make up for any time saved by passing cars.

On the western (shops) side, parking could be changed to parallel parks which may slightly increase visibility and space for a cycle path, but business owners don’t want to reduce parking spaces. If the footpath was wCycle Pathsidened to include a separated cyclepath, both pedestrians and cyclists could travel in front of parked cars, whether angle or parallel-parked.

Davies Corner Roundabout:

Overpass – My if-there-were-no-fiscal-or-physical-limits ultimate dream solution. Perhaps all the funding should be spent on over or under-passes here and at Five Cross Roads. There is possibly enough length to get the height needed on the footpath along Snell Dr/Hukanui corner, maybe not quite enough on the other streets.

Underpass – These are awesome, the ones on Wairere Drive enable a raft of people to use active transport who would otherwise use a car. An example of retrofitting one is on Cobham Drive. Could be a tricky getting enough length for it to be a gradual slope. People may congregate under there, I’m not aware of this being a major issue in other spots, although graffiti is a constantly returning resident!

Dutch-style Roundabout –

Continue the cycle paths around the roundabout, well-marked, with contours which force drivers to reduce speed, and good signage. But these designs require cyclists and pedestrians to cross the path of the vehicles, which still seems rather scary to me, unless the motorists have been slowed down already and are willing to give way to a cyclist. The current recommendation to wait and cycle in the centre of the same lane as cars mean vehicles are usually behind you and can’t pass directly in front of you.

Kensington Place – Removing the final carparking space on Hukanui Road, or making it motorbike- or pushbike-only would improve visibility.

Signage –

“No u-turn” signs on Hukanui Road could reduce dangerours u-turns, but may increase u-turns on Kensington Ave.

HCC is currently in consultation mode for the whole Hukanui-Peachgrove Rd school link project, with recent workshops attracting a range of views. So if you have an opinion on how to improve these routes, even if it is just agreeing with this post, let them know; email bike.hamilton@hcc.govt.nz Community open days and tactical urbanism to trial ideas are planned for Feb/March 2019, presenting a narrowed list of options for input. If you are interested in ideas for improving other pinch points along this route, check out my previous posts on Stephanie Says (Hamilton, NZ) on Facebook.

Hamilton River plan 1980s

In the 1980s Hamilton city leaders had a vision:

“The closure of Victoria St would allow the formation of an un-fragmented pedestrian core to the central city, and of course this in turn, would provide unhindered access across to the important Riverbank Development … An open space in this situation demonstrates two important points. Firstly, [bring] the riverbank into the central core. Secondly, road space setback and low rise historic buildings are used to avoid excessive sunlight ordinances on surrounding sites.”

“A riverside promenade provides the opportunity of creating a series of outstanding central city open spaces with river views. Low rise shops and offices facing onto the promenade would screen the backs of tail building, service courts and service lane.”

Over the last 3 decades the Novotel respected the ‘setback’. Ibis and Sky city have built their parts of the ‘promenade’and the ‘low rise shops and offices’. Both Ibis and Sky city built potential shop fronts along the promenade, BNZ supplies the ‘offices’ and there is a good mix of restaurant/bars over-looking the promenade/river.

But after decades, and new promenades being built, there is a 4m long missing connecting link at end of Alma St, the existing connecting path is less than 1m wide, and the city leaders vision has moved south, with many more millions of dollars being spent.It should be possible to bridge this gap and the cost is not millions, it’s staying power. The 1980s utopian idea of “A riverside promenade … river views … Low rise shops … facing onto the promenade” hasn’t left the minds of the city leaders. They just need a nudge to look at how close we are to have a Victoria on the River to Claudelands Bridge real-world promenade, and its huge untapped potential for visitor and tourism opportunities.

To finish my concepts drawings below show how permeable the cities link along the river could be.

 

 

Category: CBD, News, Projects, River