Id just like to congratulate the designers of the 10 year plan consultation PDF. Beautiful work, it’s easy to read and makes it easy for people to digest the information.
It was also great to see just as many cute little pictures of bikes as cars! You’d almost get the idea that there was some positive steps being made in that direction. So lets look and see.
$7M on cycleways. 2.68% of the ‘projects’ transport budget. Or 1.3% of the total $507M transport budget.
Great there’s some money being spent on cycleways, though it is a mere pittance. Unfortunately it won’t be starting for around another 15 years. With a look to completion in 25 years. Great for my grandkids! And will mean that the Tron is once again not the City of the Future but the city of the forgotten past.
But why do so many of us want cycleways anyway? Why do transport experts provide such interesting studies showing their extremely high return on investment and overwhelmingly positive cost/benefit ratios?
Well looking at the 10 year consultation document we see a projected population increase of 60’000 over 30 years with the number of motor vehicles increasing by 66 percent in that time, which comes to 49,753 cars. With each one of those vehicles making two trips a day. With a population of 145’000 this 25% increase will see a 2/3 increase in vehicles meaning Council’s projections are that every new man, woman and some children will be driving their own car.
A lot of those extra car trips will be needing to cross one of our bridges. Have you seen our bridges currently at peak time? Perhaps we should just concrete over the river and turn it into a highway?
So what’s the solution? Well what would be a positive move for the city is to limit those trips, limit traffic and limit congestion. Here’s some answers which don’t involve spending as many hundreds of millions on more roads, which will of course create induced demand and lead to exactly the sort of numbers you’re predicting.
Few Hamilton cycling trails and shortcuts are destination-signposted. We are not getting the value for money from our already-built infrastructure because we’re not telling people how to use it to go places.
Signage will encourage more users, leading to safety in numbers and its relatively cheap.
Long-term residents and those used to walking/cycling Hamilton may be adept navigators but for many who haven’t explored so much, fear of getting lost is likely a deterrent to them learning their ways around.
Trails and shortcuts within city limits are ideal for spontaneous and short journeys for locals and visitors and activating these will ease congestion and make Hamilton a more liveable city.
Another step is for HCC to Adopt the Hamilton City Green Ring which meets the Council Priority #7 which is to “Become an Urban Garden” (sounds cool right? It’s a shame its not reflected in anything in the 10 year plan).
Following on from that the main routes through the city, as identified by other groups such as Cycle Action Waikato, need to receive separated cycleways.
Once we have these changes we then need to encourage use of new facilities through marketing and promotion of cycling in Hamilton via social media – ‘HAMILTONS SAFE CYCLE NETWORK’
Safe. That’s the keyword here. Speaking to people across Hamilton, especially women, mums, safety is their number 1 reason for not cycling and for being worried about their kids cycling. Making cycling safer will see a marked increase in the numbers of women cycling. Commuter cycling should not be seen as a macho daredevil activity.
So instead of the pittance how much should HCC be spending on cycling? A slightly larger pittance! A good start is $3 million dollar annually. If HCC were organised this would only amount to approximately $1.5 million because of the subsidies available. That would be amazingly good value for rate payers. $3 million dollars a year worth of infrastructure for $1.5 million per annum. Fantastic!
The 10 year plan in its current form is a worry. None of the 3 main funding proposals have cycling included. 2029 is way too late to spend $7M on the current HCC cycle strategy. Council needs to move now and take advantage of current opportunities for funding with the Governments Urban cycle fund etc. We are missing the boat, and in the meantime we will miss all the other cool cycling knock on benefits, both economic and social from the likes of the local great cycle trails & the Avantidrome.
The 10 year plan also has no mention on page 15, the “transport” page, of active or public transport types. Its like they’ve been completely forgotten where it matters most and its sad that the Council don’t seem to have been able to get their act together and secure any funding for cycleways. You’re really not devoting enough energy to cycling and have dropped the ball here.
The finances needed for effective cycleways and outstanding improvements are small, which you will be praised for in times to come as they reduce traffic and lead to a healthier, more economically and socially vibrant city, a true City of the Future. Please don’t stuff it up. Thankyou.
>> I encourage everyone to make their own submission << Feel free to reuse, reword, copy/pasta whatever. Submit here or hashtag your submission with
#Ham10YP and post it on Facebook (to the Council Facebook page) or short statements via twitter to Council’s twitter page.