University to City Link – Knighton to Wairere – Stage One

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The University to City Centre route has always been given a high priority in Hamilton’s bike planning. In a 2005 report , ‘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 cyclist advanced stop lines’*. Spending zero dollars on biking, then spending something, is apparently ‘substantial investment’. The main outcome was the removal of some on-street car parking and changing some road markings. We now have another opportunity to link the City Centre with the University. Here is a link to ‘City Centre to University business case April 2021’. This post looks at Knighton road to Wairere drive: my image is provided below.

*Roger Boulter Consulting for Hamilton City Council Jan 2005

The above image aims to amplify the local link between shops, future town centre, Innovation Park, Ag Research through to East Street, and the missing link along Knighton Road. It also shows the Ruakura Road urban upgrade being built over the next year. 

The Ruakura Rd project has Hamilton’s first example of a footpath and separate bi-directional bike path. Below is an updated cross-sectional view. You can find more information on the HHC website at tab city/city development/Ruakura.

From here on, I am referring to the ‘City Centre to University business case April 2021’ (link). The Knighton Road/Clyde Street (Greensborough Road to Wairere Drive) route is planned as Stage One and has council funding, but we will not see much progress until we see funding from Waka Kotahi NZTA (p87). Even then, construction is not planned to start until late 2024 (p92).

Eastern Pathways – City Centre to University business case April 2021 – page 70

One of the priorities on Clyde Street is to add a bus lane, with the goal of a 10% to 20% increase in people using public transport (PT) (p68 & p322), because ‘the PT reliability benefits were assessed as 50%’. The improved biking infrastructure is assumed to increase the number of commuter cyclists by between 10% and 33% (p328): the biggest increase is for people biking to places of education, calculated at 20% to 45% (p330). The Investment Objective is to have ‘mode share by PT, walking and cycling increased from 14% to 29% by 2028 and the percentage of short trips (<2km) undertaken by foot increased from 26% to 50%’ (p288).

Eastern Pathways – City Centre to University business case April 2021 – page 225

The cost of the 440m section on Clyde St (Wairere Drive to Knighton Rd) is estimated to be between $1.274k and $1,480k and the 425m section on Knighton Rd is estimated to cost between $1,841k and $2,503k (p337, p382, p420). Comparing this to the $6,040,000 (in 2013 dollars) of 4-laning 400m of Ruakura road from Peachgrove road to Wairere drive (WRLTP 2012-15 p43), the assumed benefit cost ratio (BCR) once the City Centre to University link is complete is between 1.4 and 2.1 (p5) for every $1 invested. The Ruakura road 4-laning project had a BCR below 2 (WRLTP 2012-15 p22). Most importantly, over the past 5 years there has been an average of 1.6 annual deaths and serious injuries between the City Centre and University (p131). The Investment objective is that ‘Hamilton’s transport system is safer … with an overarching goal of zero deaths and serious injuries’ (p288).

Waikato Regional Land Transport 2012/13-2014/15 (WRLTP 2012-15).

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