Submission on Te Rapa Bypass 2008

Hamilton City Proposed District Plan

Proposed Waikato District Plan

Submission on the Notice of Requirement – Te Rapa Bypass


From: Living Streets Hamilton

Contact person: Judy McDonald

Phone: 07 8552019

Fax: 07 8552012


Question2:  (Support or Oppose)

Living Streets does not oppose the construction of the Te Rapa bypass in principle, but has serious reservations about the safety of the bypass for pedestrians and cyclists, and about the capacity of this construction to fulfil the conditions noted in the Notice of Requirement itself, namely:

  • Safe – provides a safe and forgiving corridor environment for all transport users, which considers health, safety and personal security for all people, including users, workers and operators
  • Responsive – provides a suitable level of service through a range of traffic conditions
  • Sustainable – focuses on improving the transport network system in ways that enhance economic, social and environmental well-being, and that promote resilience and flexibility
  • Integrated – provides suitable connectivity with the existing and future development community and the future transportation network including consideration of a multi-modal solution

We are concerned that this development will disadvantage walkers and cyclists unless very careful consideration is given to them during and after the construction of this bypass.

Question 3 and Question 4. (Parts supported or opposed, and reasons for submission)

Our concerns focus on the actual provisions that are to be made for cycling and walking facilities.

We note that Transit does not intend to provide actual cycling and walking paths beyond the Gilchrist Rd intersection with Avalon Drive, and that in most cases the suggestion is that facilities for cycling and walking will be the responsibility of the appropriate regional authority. Even at the Avalon Drive section, the cycle path and walkway is only on the western side of the road, leaving cyclists and pedestrians with major problems if they need to cross the road (this being an 80kph area).

The potential access to the Wintec Campus looks complex for pedestrians and cyclists, as there is a major interchange at this location. While cycle lanes are provided on the bridges, the safety of the regions leading up to the bridges is questionable.

The cycling and walking facilities also must be of a standard to accommodate inexperienced cyclists and young pedestrians, since there are considerable residential areas around the bypass location, and these will be likely to grow further over the years. While we recognise that many cyclists and walkers will not want to be on the bypass itself, it is vital that high quality, safe routes be provided over and around the bypass, and that the off-bypass routes are efficient and easy to use.

For real safety of all road users, it would be desirable to have completely separated cycle and walking facilities, as on Wairere Drive in Hamilton. However, this kind of facility is only provided by HCC for major arterial routes. It seems that all roads proposed in the Rotokauri development area will be classified as minor arterials and as a result no off-road facilities will be provided. This is likely to lead to cyclists being frightened off the still very busy road and onto footpaths, with all the attendant dangers of reversing vehicles and unpleasant interactions with pedestrians.

From the information available, it appears that there are relatively few points at which the new bypass can be crossed. It also appears that at least two roads, Te Kowhai and Ruffell, are to be severed and become cul-de-sacs. We are concerned that for local transport purposes, where residents are meant to be being encouraged to cycle and walk, there may be considerable barriers created by the bypass which impede the use of active transport modes. If a cyclist (or even worse, a walker) has to do a 1km detour or more to find a place to cross the bypass safely and get from one area of their suburb to another, this will be a huge discouragement and will probably result in an increase in unnecessary car use.

For routes such as this to be safe and user-friendly, it is important that cycling and walking routes be incorporated in the construction right from the outset. If the initial construction is perceived as dangerous, people become set in patterns of car use to avoid exposing themselves and their children to the hazards. These patterns are hard to break, even if something is later done to improve the situation.

The proposed government strategy “Sustainable Transport – Update of the New Zealand Transport Strategy” specifically states that in our cities and towns we will have “More walk and cycle-friendly transport environments that ‘invite’ rather than just ‘allow’ for the use of these modes”

The proposed bypass does not look inviting as far as cyclists and pedestrians are concerned. We therefore request that more attention be given to making the bypass and the urban and industrial areas around it much more cycle and pedestrian friendly right from the beginning. We are concerned that the project, including not only the bypass but also the Rotokauri development around it, is huge and will take a long period to reach completion. During the construction of the bypass and the reconstruction of the surrounding industrial and residential area, there are likely to be times during which active transport modes could become virtually impossible unless very careful thought is given to the methods and timing used. We would like to see careful consultation with appropriate advocacy groups to minimise the risk of these problems arising.

To have a healthy community, it has to be easy to get around in it. In the area surrounding the Te Rapa bypass, we would like to see increased numbers of safe crossing points, well-designed and well-signposted alternative safe routes and a general philosophy which aims to maintain transport links within the community which can be used by all, not just by those with cars.

Question 5.

Living Streets Hamilton would like to request that priority be given to discussing the provision of safe, functional walking and cycling routes around and across the proposed Te Rapa bypass with appropriate advocacy groups and members of the affected communities, and acting on that information as the bypass is constructed. We feel that it is imperative that these safe routes be available right from the beginning, not added on as afterthoughts. If the proposed Sustainable Transport strategies are to have any teeth, consideration must be given to incorporating the need for alternative transport modes into projects such as this, which will be in construction during the period covered by the new government strategy.

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