Category Archives: Projects

Ward St – ViaStrada idea

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In 2010, Hamilton City Council engaged ViaStrada to produce concept drawings for a Central City Cycle Network. One of the ideas included two options for cycle lanes for Ward St. The plan was to link Girls’ High to Ward Park then provide single direction cycle lanes along each side of Ward St. What makes this different from the Stark Concept is that ViaStrada’s focus was on encouraging students to bike to and from Girls’ High school, Ward Park and the city centre. Stark’s focus for cyclists, to the west, is on cyclists coming from the Western Rail Trail.

Both concepts show that Ward St can be a lot friendlier to cyclists than it is today. However, the ViaStrada drawing doesn’t show what people do in Ward St. Many people don’t actually walk the full length of Ward St on just one side of the road; many will cross to the other side at some point mid-block. Stark’s drawing acknowledges this by proposing pedestrian crossings spaced at a maximum of 100m apart. Ward Street between Anglesea and Tristram measures just over 200m, and the concept suggests two mid-block crossings.

What both plans include is trees on the south side of Ward St. It’s OK to start by just removing some kerb and sealed surface to plant a few trees with porous surfaces around them. It’s OK to test reactions. Paint the Stark concept on the ground, then count people, listen, and watch where people walk, cross and bike. In making places attractive, sometimes a little change can make the place feel a lot nicer.

Category: News, Planning, Projects

Waitawhiriwhiri to Ward, Town Belt – land use

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This post is a measure of land use in the breathing place known as Hamilton’s western town belt (WTB) area between Frankton, the central city, Waitawhiriwhiri stream and Ward Street. I’m still finding John Claudius Loudon’s writing on breathing zones a helpful reference. This is my reading of his writing (my emphasis):

“ In the country zones we should permit individuals, on proper conditions of rent and regulations, to establish all manner of rural coffee-houses, and every description of harmless amusement we would lay out as park and pleasure-ground scenery, and introduce in it all the plants, trees, shrubs which would grow in the open air, with innumerable seats, covered and uncovered, in the sun and in the shade … and other natural-looking scenes, with walks and roads, straight and winding, shady and open .. Breathing ground should be marked out as not being built on, for the sake of the health of the poorer part of the inhabitants … Breathing places will be found to present advantages which no other form or disposition of breathing places could produce … we hope, also, that the legislature may not think it unworthy of their attention to take into consideration the subject of breathing places, on some systematic plan, calculated for the benefit of all ranks in all parts of the British metropolis”

The green belt this post is looking at is about 35 hectares in total; I’ve measured 56% as not built on or enclosed. A third is enclosed/fenced, mostly for rugby (5 ha), followed by cricket (3.5 ha), golf (2.2 ha), bowls (1.1 ha), and tennis (0.4 ha). These uses do fit the description of “on proper conditions of rent and regulations, to establish all manner … of harmless amusement”. Sealed car parking areas (3 ha or 8%) don’t fit the “we would lay out as park and pleasure-ground scenery … natural-looking scenes”. Sadly, parking areas are irresistible to people who travel primarily by car and are involved in decision making, but they are not good for “plants, trees, shrubs which would grow in the open air”.

To finish I’ll have a short rant.

Every new enclosure within the green belt involves the infringement of somebody’s personal liberty, in a reverse way. Here it’s not entirely a question of taking something away from the public. Having paid events and organised sports is good for the city. But the risk to open spaces reappears in the form of ‘fouling our nest’ by needing to pipe away run-off because of large impervious surfaces, starving trees of water, and also creating delays in returning under-used fenced spaces to open public use.