University to City Link – Grey to River crossing

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This is the fourth post on the ‘City to University business case’, which plans to improve safety, access and to increase the number of people using public transport by 20% (p322). Starting with safety, Grey St already has a plan to improve safety by 75%

Austroads: Technical Report AP-T330-17 ‘Safe System Infrastructure on Mixed Use Arterials’ page 42

Looking at access to the river paths, Cook St at the river end is steep and the path to the river is even steeper; more like a climb. Clyde St is similar to Cook St: the path to the river is better, but it will be a challenge to change the steepness to an accessible gradient for Clyde St west of Grey St.

Anzac Parade offers the best gradient; the barrier here comes from the five road crossings to get to the bridge footpath. Presently Beale Street offers the steepest path, but there is an opportunity to use old cuttings in the bank below the Southern Cross Hospital to provide comfortable, accessible paths.

The ‘City to University business case’ includes city-bound bus lanes from the University to Grey Street. Presently there are about 16 buses per hour travelling to the city using Anzac Parade/Victoria Bridge each workday morning. Victoria Bridge is the missing link in what should be a continuous rapid bus route to the city centre.

The 2010 ‘Access Hamilton Passenger Transport Action Plan’ wrote that “6.9km of the Hamilton road network currently [2010] experiences severe pm peak congestion. This is expected to increase to approximately 41km in 2036 … 5 intersections currently [2010] experience severe pm peak congestion. This is expected to increase to 27 intersections in 2036” (PT action Plan p6). To reduce the negative effect of travel delay its target was to “Increase the proportion of passenger transport journeys to work to 7%” (p50). The 2018 census measured 2.8% of the population using public transport to work (Link). Without the ‘City to university link’ proposed 20% increase (p322) in bus usage, everyone’s travel time will be less predictable and slower.

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University to City Link – Grey to Peachgrove

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In the 1980s, of the 586 students at Hamilton Boys’ High School (HBHS), 7% (Link to source) of students who biked accessed the school from Beale St and Kelvin St. Today that would equal about 150 HBHS students (SL p298). Building a path between Beale St and Peachgrove Road is one of the options that would make it feel safer to bike or walk to school. It is very likely that students from other schools and people travelling between local shops would also use this path. HBHS is one of the good schools that do not physically restrict access through their properties. However, for security reasons it also does not encourage people to take shortcuts through the campus. On my drawing below it was easy to indicate safe local routes through the HBHS property. But HBHS leaders are responsible for what happens on the school property, and like all property owners they will not under-estimate the risks involved in changing their policy from allowing people access as guests to allowing people to feel they have access by right.

(SL) – School Link – Single Stage Business Case

It was also easy to draw a line from Clyde St through Marian Catholic School to Beale St. Like HBHS, this will directly impact on the school and it will take Hamilton City Council a lot of direct consultation to understand and negotiate an acceptable outcome. This project does have time on its side, and there may be a way of safely managing access for guests to travel through and make it feel like a ‘by-invitation-only’ place, rather like HBHS now.

Marian Catholic School’s leadership has been encouraging people to take an interest in the benefits of the Eastern Pathways project. In the 1980s, the Marian Catholic School site was two schools and it was normal for students attending Marist Brothers’ Intermediate to take a short cut through St Mary’s School.

1980s Cycling in Hamilton Vol 1: Library Ref NZ 0711.7209931151HAM

In a 2011 ‘Hamilton East Neighbourhood Accessibility Plan’, travel to school was measured for 3 schools. This survey showed Marian Catholic School, with 5% biking to school, as having the highest percentage of students biking to school of the three measured. This was down from 39% in the 1980s. Also, in the 1980s 12% walked to school and now 20% walk to school.

2011 Hamilton East Neighbourhood Accessibility Plan – Page11

Leadership is important: the 5% of students biking and 20% walking to Marian Catholic School is a good-sized group to set an example for others to follow. During consultation on School Link these students ‘were able to apply design thinking principles, identify problem statements and outline the benefits that would encourage them to feel safe about walking, cycling, and taking the bus to school’ and they highlighted ‘a strong concern for personal safety when biking and getting to and from school and highlighted many barriers and reasons why they do not currently ride or walk’ (more on page 344 School Link business case).

Final note: In the 1980s Sacred Heart Girls College had 39% of its students biking, 17% walking, 35% taking the bus and 7% arriving by car. The big win for Sacred Heart in the 2011 survey is that over 45% of students were using the bus, showing the potential of an improved bus service.

Related post – Hamilton East school block




Category: News