The Hamilton City Council commissioned ViaStrada to undertake a review of physical barriers to cycling in the Hamilton central city, as well as identification of current and potential cycle routes.
Based upon the Hamilton Cycle Network Strategy Report (1999), Hamilton City Council has embarked on a ten-year programme to construct a city-wide cycle network.
One area that is not included within the current network plan is the central city. This was left out of the original consideration due to emerging central city revitalisation studies at the time. These studies have become the current City Heart and Access Hamilton planning activities and resulted in the re-opening of a newly pedestrian-focussed Victoria Street (2009).
The 1999 Strategy Report stated that the cycle network should include all roads that are identified in the District Plan as arterial or collector roads. The justification is that cyclists prefer to use these for the same reasons motorists do (directness, intersection priority, access to destinations, better maintenance) and that the majority of crashes are occurring on roads of this hierarchy.
This rationale is as appropriate today as it was then. However, since 1999 traffic volumes have grown significantly in tandem with arterial and collector road capacity increases, creating a road environment that is, in many places, suitable for only the most confident and fastest riders.
Accordingly, we suggest expanding the definition of cyclists beyond those experienced riders currently still riding (despite the conditions) to include the far larger suppressed demand of the general public. This will be beneficial to both types of riders due to the "safety in numbers effect".
Accordingly, the project identifies low traffic streets and off-carriageway paths, which could be linked to form contiguous cycle routes appealing to less experienced riders.
The NZTA Cyclist Skills Training Guidelines (2008) definitions of different rider types was used to envision three skills-based networks:
- Level 1 suitable for novices and those who prefer to be segregated from motor traffic;
- Level 2 for intermediate riders capable of navigating single lane roundabouts and simple signalised intersections; and
- Level 3 for experienced cyclists who prefer direct arterial routes and are capable of riding in heavier mixed traffic.
As the Level 3 network includes all streets where cycling is permitted and many Level 2 proposed improvements would also benefit some Level 3 riders, the report focuses on the first two levels.
Our report contains 27 recommendations, including suggestions on planning tools as well as infrastructure; the latter are mapped by strategic route. The key infrastructural recommendation is a Level 1 cycling facility comprised of a cross-city centre cycling track including crossing of the Waikato River.
As of July 2010, Hamilton City Council has commissioned ViaStrada to further investigate a number of the recommendations
ViaStrada's project team included Axel, John and Rick.