Avalon Drive 2012 improvements

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After the State Highway One bypass of Avalon Drive was built, the now local Avalon Drive was changed to lower the design speed from 60 km/hr to 50 km/hr and improve safety near intersections. The improvements worked well for motor vehicles and from a bird’s-eye view it seemed that people walking and cycling had a place. Sadly, the quality was poor and the number of crossings for pedestrians was Low. Avalon Drive is a very mixed use neighbourhood (Link), which is in need of a rebuild to allow better pedestrian and biking access.

A post on the Livingstone intersection had already been written (link) before reviewing these drawings. As we can see below, crossings for pedestrians were proposed for the Livingstone roundabout, but sadly the proposed crossings were not provided.

A good bike lane is over 2 metres wide. The quality for biking along Avalon Drive is poor by design. Biking is a social activity: in the same way that a car passenger will sit beside the driver, people biking together like to bike side by side, as do people walking together. People also bike at different speeds, and cycle lanes narrower than 2.0m are not good because they are just not wide enough to allow faster cyclists to pass another person on a bike without moving outside the bike lane into harm’s way. It gets worse along Avalon Drive, as the cycle lane reduces to a narrow shared path in places.

What makes this sadder is that this poor quality was by design. There was never a plan to provide a good width for people biking, or space for shared paths.

People new to biking would not feel safe sharing the road with cars moving at 50 km/hr. The starting point for improving biking along Avalon Drive would be to mark a continuous 2-metre wide route on both sides of Avalon Drive. This could safely be a mix of on-road and off-road if the motor vehicle traffic speed limit was close to the speed a bicycle travels at.

Shared path widths depend on the volumes of different types of users and the speed differentials between users. Shared paths have their place, but success involves more people walking and biking, and thus needs separate bike and foot paths. Avalon Drive needs a rebuild design to achieve a successful mode shift from motor cars to walking and biking.    

Category: News

One comment on “Avalon Drive 2012 improvements

  1. If Hamilton decides to take the $58.6m 3 Waters bribe (https://hamilton.govt.nz/your-council/news/community-environment/council-defers-funding-decision-until-it-gets-more-information), it’d be good to get projects like this considered.

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