Tag Archives: Münster

Hamilton Green Ring: Linking Hamilton’s green spaces and attractions for walkers and cyclists

I’m sure by now most people reading this will be aware of Hamilton’s Ring Road project, which includes some decent walking and cycling facilities. Indeed, it already seems to be fairly popular with most drivers. However, by virtue of its intended purpose – helping people move around the periphery of the city quickly – it tends to lie at some distance from the central city and the types of destinations people might consider traveling to by foot or by bicycle.

Whilst studying Hamilton’s topography it became apparent to me that we had quite a number of linear green spaces and parks through which we could create a continuous, sealed, high-quality path before joining the whole lot together with the provision of modest amounts of dedicated infrastructure.

A provisional route might look something like the below diagram. The dashed lines represent proposed off-road links to popular amenities and/or areas where access might be difficult, from a legal or topographical point of view.

Hamilton Green Ring v1.0

I must confess that some inspiration came from the city of Münster, which claims to be Germany’s cycling capital. I was fortunate enough to visit the city in 2007 during a bicycle tour, and was mightily impressed with the city’s cycling/walking infrastructure. Münster has a tree-lined ‘green ring’ providing a good deal of public park area with convenient links to various quarters of the city, as can be clearly seen in this aerial view:

Muenster_green_ring

As well as giving the city some arboreal lungs and thereby improving air quality, Münster’s green ring gives cyclists and walkers a comfortable alternative to using the city’s streets to get around. Or even just a great circular park for their enjoyment! Paths are wide enough that there is little contention between the wheeled and unwheeled factions, the trees shade the path in Summer and presumably are deciduous so as to admit light (and warmth) during colder months. Here’s a shot I took on the Green Ring, showing some everyday users:

Muenster green ring cyclists

Hamilton’s Green Ring will be on a somewhat larger scale than Münster’s, but will deliver a great deal of benefits to the city, opening up more of the city to cyclists who are fearful of mixing it up with the traffic, providing a quality recreational facility and what should be a world-class tourist attraction at the same time. Comprehensive signage giving distances/times to destinations would make the Green Ring useful and convenient for citizens and tourists alike.

Yes there are some areas where there is presently little in the way of greenery or space for off-road paths, but in time these will be developed. The project might even be eligible for funding as part of Nga Haerenga: NZ’s national cycle network.

So, what do you think? Can you imagine more people feeling confident enough to venture making more journeys by bike? Is this something you would support? How would you improve on it? Let us know in the comments.