School block – Grey, Te Aroha, Peachgrove, Clyde

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In the Grey, Te Aroha, Peachgrove, and Clyde Street blocks there are 6 schools. Half the students living there do not need to use a car to get to their place of study. The 2018 census reported that a third would walk or bike, while others took the bus to school or studied from home. In this block, a nominal 6% biked to school. In the early 1980s, 33% biked and 44% walked to school in Hamilton (p6*). In 2009, NZTA report 380 noted that “Generally, approximately 20% of students want to cycle to school and are realistic cycling candidates” (p.40). There is a lot of potential to reduce peak school motor vehicle traffic. The key barrier to this is “Parental fears for their children’s safety” (p.12, report 380),

*Cycling in Hamilton Volume 1, Hamilton City Council Works Department: NZ 0711 720 993 115 1 HAM

Hamilton City Council Traffic counts and Transit Supplement Part 15 Bicycle p13

“Parental fears” are justifiable in that most of these roads carry over 10,000 vehicles per day. ‘Many felt that cycling was made more dangerous by the fact that cyclists were forced to use the ordinary street’ (p.8*), “more than 60% of those who regularly rode to school rode on the footpath (p.15) … Formalized ‘SHARE WITH CARE’ routes on strategic footpaths would hugely expand available routes to school” (p.35, Report 380). But there is a limit to sharing; note No 21 (June 2010) from Vic Roads comments that ‘As the volumes of cyclists and pedestrians using shared use paths increase, there is often a reduction in the level of service and safety for all path users …Clear Zones for Cyclists. It is important that a clearance of 1.0m (0.5m minimum) is provided between the edge of a shared use path and any obstacle”(p5). This tells us the obstacle-free width of a shared-use path is 5.0m wide (4.0m minimum).

June 2010 Vic-Roads-Cycle-Note-No.-21_Widths-of-off-road-shared-use-paths

Viastrada shared path poster and Vic Roads Note 21 graph p3

The 1980s detailed counts of the numbers and routes of students biking to school give us a clear target. We also know more students walk. The table below adds the total of cyclists using sections of road around this school block to the pedestrian count, which adds 30%, to give a benchmark of type split between 44% walking and 33% biking using a shared use path. Looking at the Viastrada and Vic Roads shared path graph above, a path needs to have a good 4+m clear width (e.g. 3m path 0.5+m clearance each side).

We see in Viastrada and Vic-roads notes that shared-use paths by design clearly promotes cycling. Cyclists must also be considerate towards pedestrians. Shared space means that the speeds of the pedestrian and bicycle traffic should be closer than on separated lanes and the fastest moving user gives way to the slowest user. We already have a Rule (since 2004) requiring the likes of e-scooters, skate boards and other wheeled recreational devices to give way to pedestrians – see clause 11.1(5): “A person using a wheeled recreational device on a footpath must give way to pedestrians and drivers of mobility devices”.

If we want to reduce traffic congestion, we need to let our children move more freely. Parents do fear for their children’s safety, so we need to ensure children are safe travelling to school independently of their parents. Expect speeds around school to be 30kmh; expect more traffic tables; expect road space to be reallocated; think “[the] fastest moving user gives way to the slowest user”.

Category: News

Hamilton East (Te Nihinihi*), land use

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*Hamilton East – ‘This land, known to the ancient ancestors of Ngati Wairere as Te Nihinihi’ (Wiremu Puke, in Barry Lafferty, Hamilton East: Foundation for a Future City (p.4), ISBN 9780473496265)

At the time William Graham set out Hamilton East, the main means of transportation within a town was by foot. New towns were not designed to separate work from home by more than a few hundred metres. Up to the 1960s (Town and Country Planning No.38 March 1962) ‘if you owned some land you could do what you liked with it. You could build a house, a factory, a shop, and it was nobody’s business but your own’. Hamilton East is an example of none arduous zoning on the location of work places. The area between Bridge St and Clyde St was mainly an employment area; now it is being repurposed as a mixed living/working area.

Thomas Slade owned one acre (0.4 hectare) on Grey St. [Bridge St.] Corner, where he established a blacksmiths and carriage building business in 1885.”Barry Lafferty, Hamilton East: Foundation for a Future City (p. 67)
photo from Hamilton Library photo HCL_08330

This healthy repurposing can also been seen with the Berlei/Bendon factory on the corner of Grey and Cook, now a mix of office and retail; and there is no reason apartments could not be added to the mix of uses. The Ammunition factory at the other corner of Hamilton East was converted to a Ministry of Works office. Now the area is a mix of housing and the Opus yard off Fox street.

‘Hamilton East is a genuine mixed use suburb that works well. It is economically successful with a loyal and long-standing commercial and residential base that is committed to a positive future for the neighbourhood. It is a destination in itself and a connector for the central city. Given this solid platform, enhancing Hamilton East is about working to its strengths’ Hamilton East Neighbourhood Plan, page 4.

All along Grey Street you can see business mixed with residential; there are dwellings repurposed to businesses and businesses/offices being repurposed to dwellings. This is what gives Hamilton East a long-lasting resilience; when demand for business contracts, buildings get repurposed into dwellings, but as more people move in, business expands to support this population increase. This is the beating heart of a town centre. This is what European towns have been doing for centuries; zoning should allow change, without allowing the concentration of nuisance activities that make living unhealthy.

Category: News