Submission on Ohaupo Road Walking and Cycling Study, August 2009
Living Streets Hamilton appreciates the opportunity to contribute to discussions on the development of walking and cycling facilities in the Ohaupo Rd area from Kahikatea Drive to Dixon Rd.
We also realise that there is to be a meeting to further discuss this issue with NZTA, HCC and CAW on September 19th, and the following comments are at best preliminary, given the short period available for discussion prior to the August 14th deadline. It is hoped that we may be able to add extra material at the September meeting once more time has been available for our members to discuss the various proposals and add their own thoughts on the matter.
At present, our concerns centre on the difficulties of crossing Ohaupo Rd rather than the problems of walking on either side of it, although a number of points have been raised focussing on the need for genuine shared-usage paths for cyclists and pedestrians in certain areas.
This area suffers from the same problem as several other residential areas in Hamilton, of having a major highway running through it, with speeds often well in excess of 50kph. This is an automatic hazard for pedestrians trying to cross it, in that even attempting a crossing can take a long while because of the volume and speed of approaching traffic. Even more worrisome is the fact that if they get it wrong, the risk of serious injury or death is very high. With the number of schools in the area, and the emphasis on getting children more active, there is a real need for genuinely safe crossing points at regular intervals on this road, in order to encourage children to walk to school (and their parents to agree to it!)
At present the only crossing points with safety for pedestrians are the underpass to Melville Primary School, and the traffic lights at Urlich Ave/ Collins Rd. While these service the immediate location of the primary and secondary schools, there is no provision at all for safe crossings elsewhere for children trying to walk or cycle to school. We acknowledge that there are some technical issues with pedestrian-operated light-controlled crossings, but still feel that this type of crossing is the most likely to allow safety, especially for younger children. Reducing speed limits would also be desirable on some areas of the road.
Comments received from Living Streets members so far include the following:
1: WIDEN TO NOT LESS THAN 3.0m SHARED USE PATH OVER MANGAKOTUKUTUKU STREAM,
Location - Left side Ohaupo Rd between Collins rd Intersection & Tomin rd round about.
Path over stream must be shared use. Some cyclists will cycle on road, most will cycle on safer path.
This is a busy path with many uses (Shoppers, prams, wheel chairs, mobility scooters, people with dogs, school children in groups (both directions, 5 schools in near area) cyclists & cyclist walking their bikes).
This must be a shared use path of not less than 3 meters wide.
2: We do occasionally cycle to or from Collins Rd, or Resthills Park . However we avoid Ohaupo Rd as much as possible by coming via Sandford Park paths and either Pine Ave/ Urlich Ave for the former or Dixon Rd/ Pelorous/ Garden Heights for the latter. I think the bike lanes and paths (option 3) are probably a good idea for those cycling more of Ohaupo Rd.
I agree that this doesn’t seem to address the issue of trying to cross Ohaupo Rd though. From my limited experience of crossing it on my bicycle from Garden Heights Ave to go to Resthills and then on the return from Macdonald Rd to go back to Garden Heights, has been fairly tricky as the traffic is travelling quite fast in this area (I’m not sure what the limit is there) and also can be quite consistent. So it would be quite nightmarish as a pedestrian too I would think! Considering there are shopping centres and schools in this area I think there do need to be some good pedestrian crossing facilities to access these.
3: I’d like to see more off-road paths for cyclists especially the children riding to school. The report did say there are many young cyclists in the area. The plans are looking only at “linear” considerations, as in ALONG left side & right side. Crossing from left TO right is hardly mentioned.
We look forward to further discussions on this matter at the September meeting, but in the meanwhile ask that consideration be given to the provision of safe pedestrian crossings, particularly those most suitable for the young and the elderly and/or mobility impaired in this very busy area.
Living Streets Hamilton