Fifth Ave: the future of slower traffic

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A 2005 future prediction of traffic on Fifth Avenue predicted it to exceed 18,000 vehicles per day (vpd) by 2046 (see image end of post) and 13,900 vpd in 2021. The graph below shows Wairere Drive’s ‘success’ in investing to make it easier to drive, which encourages more driving and a future of slower-moving traffic. We know, from other 2-lane roads in Hamilton, that if motor vehicle traffic is not suppressed, Fifth Ave could end up with double the number of cars it has today (link).

Different modes of transport move at different speeds. Presently Hamilton has invested in trying to move single-occupant motor vehicles, which adds risk for more vulnerable road users, slows everyone’s movements and suppresses choice. You can see from the Google Earth view that there is bus stop on each side of Fifth Ave, but no crossing designed for pedestrians to move between them. Further away, by Gull Tramway on Fifth Ave, there are yellow tiles on the north side of Fifth Ave but no yellow tiles on the south side, making this not really a safe crossing. The local ‘Te Papanui Enderley Community Trust’ has asked for three raised street crossings, from 87 to 88 Fifth Ave, 73 to 66 Fifth Ave and 50A to 45 Fifth Ave, which will make it safer for people moving to and from bus stops

From Google

The width from private property to private property across Fifth Ave is 20m. The carriageway is 11.6m wide, with two 3.5m motor vehicle lanes and 2.3m wide lanes for storing unused cars on both sides of the road. With the neighbourhood population density at about 4,000 people per km2, providing on-street overnight parking only increases demand that cannot be met. We also know the city rules forcing developers to reduce the land area for dwellings to supplying more land for off-street car storage is one of the causes of New Zealand’s residential land supply crisis. For Fifth Ave, overnight parking should be banned, and any on-street parking on Fifth Ave should be for public good only, with a target of always having15 to 20 percent of spaces available during the day, so parking is always available for deliveries and pickups.

Biking: Presently only the ‘strong and fearless’ are likely to bike along Fifth Ave. Adding on-road bike lanes will attract the ‘enthused and confident’ (7% of cyclists). If motorists want to maintain the present travel times that 13,900 vpd provides, they need to support the removal of maybe half the on-street car parking to provide space for the type of bike paths that the ‘interested but concerned’ (60% of cyclists) feel comfortable to bike along.

More traffic is coming to Fifth Ave and people in cars are going to be moving slower. It is probable that a person biking will move faster than a person in a car, and it will be quicker to walk to the local shops than drive to a more distant shop with free parking. If we want more people in buses, we need to make it safe to cross the road to access bus stops located opposite one another. If we want everyone moving faster, we may need to experiment with reducing on-street car parking and suppressing the use of single-occupant cars.

Category: News

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