Category Archives: Walking

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

Safer urban car lane widths

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Readers need to be aware that this post does have a bias toward giving weaker road users a higher priority for road space. My reading of these design manuals is therefore to identify the widths providing greatest benefit for people aged 8 to 80.
First warning: For this post, lane width is about the distance between painted lines or changes in road surface texture. Kerbs/road bumps greater then 50mm in height limit the available options. See the photo at the end of this post.

New Zealand legislation states that a “lane for the use of vehicular traffic … is at least 2.5 m wide” Reprinted 1 October 2017 – Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 (SR 2004/427)

Here is an example (in Schiedam) of narrowed motor vehicle lanes with the cycle lane width being maintained through the intersection. As we can all see, this doesn’t mean excluding heavy traffic (note bus stop). What it does mean is that the safety* a cycle lane width gives can be continued through the intersection.

*“Cycle lanes … provide a modest 10% safety improvement for cyclists, but 30% for pedestrians” This is from the NZTA Pedestrian planning and design guide Table 6.3

Data collected from the Minneapolis-St. Paul and Oakland County – Detroit areas does not support the idea of wider lanes being safer for motorists.

“There is no indication that the use of 3.0- or 3.3-m (10- or 11-ft lanes), rather than 3.6-m (12-ft) lanes, for arterial midblock segments (& arterial intersection approaches) leads to increases in accident frequency.” P23 (P25)

Ref: Relationship of Lane Width to Safety for Urban and Suburban Arterials – 2007 by Ingrid B. Potts, Douglas W. Harwood, and Karen R. Richard

Measures from Tokyo & Toronto also do not support wider lanes being more efficient for motorists. Ref: Narrower Lanes, Safer Streets – Dewan Masud Karim – 2015

Impact on Traffic Capacity and Congestion:

“Contrary to common belief, the results clearly demonstrate that narrower travel lanes, particularly 3.0m lanes, carry the highest traffic volumes (18% higher compared to 3.5m lane) … there is no measurable decrease in urban street capacity when through lane widths are narrowed from 3.7m to 3.0m … Traffic delays on urban roads are principally determined by junctions, not by midblock free flow speeds” p12

Large Vehicles and Narrower Lanes:

“Low volume trucks (less than 5%) experience no operational problems for narrower lane widths … For buses, it suggests using 3.3m for mixed traffic conditions and 3.0m where buffered bicycles lanes exist” p13

Lane widths to avoid – From Handbook for cycle-friendly design by UK based Sustrans 

“Avoid widths between 3.1 and 3.9m” p17

“Bus lanes widths … 3.2m to 3.9m to be avoided” p19

In my opinion it is particularly important that when narrowing lanes that kerbs and speed bumps are kept as low as possible. People stop for a variety of reasons. Bumps can make the ride in a bus uncomfortable or an ambulance trip worse than it needs to be.

Photo Gottingen – Lange Geismar Str

Past Blog post on lanes

A good one way cycle lane width = 2m+

4 lane roads when to

Lane width and cars per hour per lane

Number of cars per lane