Hamilton Bike Plan: the 2010s

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The first decade of the new century went well, with over 100 km of cycle paths being added to Hamilton’s transport network and a plan to complete the cycle network within 10 years (by 2019).

Access Hamilton Active Travel Plan (March 2010): Page 37

Sadly, much of the momentum was lost with a change in central government, and change in council, followed by staff cuts within Hamilton City Council, which resulted in the loss of a huge amount of institutional knowledge. Hamilton staff had access to measureable pedestrian counts within the city centre from the 1960s and from the 1980s staff had counted school cyclists, cyclists using suburban intersections, and cyclists in the city centre. The city centre cycle counts did continue into the middle of the second decade of this century. But apart from detailed car counts, long-term trends in pedestrian and biking activity can now only be based on assumptions. Then we got a plan to increase the number of potholes and trip hazards in the 2012-2022 Long Term Plan.

In 2013/14 Rex Bushell described the eastern bike network as the ‘East Hamilton dedicated cycleway network’  noting that there are 14 schools and a good number of suburban shopping centres along these routes.

For background notes on this see Sustainable Hamilton web site

In 2015 Hamilton City Council put together a bike Plan which told us that 30km (making a total of 146km*p8, also see note**) had been added to the bike network since 2012. The 2015 Bike Plan began with four short-term projects, these being (1) the ‘Western rail trail’ (completed in 2017); (2) Rex’s proposal, now renamed the ‘School Link’, highlighting that it will connect 15 schools and cater for almost 9,500 students. It will provide a biking route that is separated from both traffic and parking, reducing the number of cars on these roads; (3) Resolution Drive path (should be complete 2022); and (4) the shared-use path along State Highway 3 (complete).

 **A late 2017 council briefing still counts 146km of cycle-ways (p18) and here is a link to the 2018 Hamilton bike map, full of gaps.

The Hamilton bike plan also included a plan to ‘Implement signage which will include directional and way-finding information, including time and distance to key destinations’:  a mammoth task which we can now see throughout the city. The council also has a minor works programme, which allows it to do a good number of small projects (under $1m). This allowed cycle lanes be added to Claudelands road/bridge and a good number of other projects to be undertaken around the city, most of these near schools and suburban shops.

Another project in the Bike Plan is the ‘Te Awa River Ride South’ which is funded and planned to be completed in 2022. This leaves the ‘School links’ which is now joined with the medium-term project, known as the  ‘University route’, renamed as ‘Eastern Pathways’. The objectives are ‘to achieve a significant modal shift from private vehicles to walking, cycling and public transport’ and ‘improved access to social and economic opportunities for the local community’. As the 2015 bike plan explained, the benefits come from ‘reducing the number of cars on these roads during school pick-up times’.

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Hamilton Bike Plan: the 2000s

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By 2004 Hamilton had 27km of cycleway; up from 25km in 2003 (2004-14 Long term plan p7 & p78). The 2012-22 Long Term Plan contained 116 km of cycle lanes. The growth of these cycle lanes was going so well that it was planned to compress the 20 year cycling plan to a 10 year plan.

2012-22 Long terms plan (p68)

A 2005 Cycling Strategy report, prepared by Roger Boulter for Hamilton City Council, explained the priority was on “repeat customers” with an approach of “keeping existing cyclists cycling” as a higher priority than seeking to attract new cyclists . “Generally – not only in Hamilton – the main cyclist flows match the main motor traffic flows, because cyclists mostly are accessing the same destinations as are motorists, and have the same practical needs for directness and convenience’ (p3). The graph below shows that the 100+ km of new cycle lanes stabilised the decline in cycling and was beginning to bring back cyclists.

Access Hamilton Active Travel Plan: Page 7

The 2005 Cycling Strategy report explained that the network had been divided in the six city sectors, each of which was intended to have cycling facility provision added over a period of 2-3 years, thus covering the entire city over an initially 20-year period. Starting with ‘Sector 1: CBD – University: The CBD/ University Sector – the highest priority focus in terms of cycling numbers – had already received substantial investment in 1996-98, including the country’s first advanced stop lines’. Sector 2: Southern: The Bader Street/ CBD shared path along the river and Deanwell/Melville Kahikatea Drive route alongside the rail line to Ward St/ CBD. Sector 3: Western: The Rifle Range Road/ Norton Road/ CBD. Sector 4: North-Eastern: The Flagstaff/ Harrowfield/ Queenwood/ Bankwood/ Heaphy Terrace/ CBD. Sector 5: North-Western; Te Rapa Road/ CBD and River path/ CBD, and lastly Sector 6: CBD:

2006-12 Long terms plan

Near the end of this first decade council started to devise an active travel plan. Its draft vision statement was “Work to increase the existing levels of cycling and walking, to ensure that Hamilton is a city where active travel is the preferred choice for short journeys.” The draft plan also included comments from the Hamilton city council 2006 quarterly Survey.

It was suggested a firm commitment to fund construction of Hamilton’s cycle network had been made by the City Council within the LTCCP and Annual Plans. These plans reflect national and regional policies and strategies such as the New Zealand Transport Strategy and the Regional Land Transport Strategy. The intention was that, within the next 10 years a significant amount of the network will be in place.

10 year Cycleway Network Programme


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