Why is Eastern Pathways/Te Ara o te Rawhiti important?
Hamilton is one of the fastest-growing cities in New Zealand, and we're expecting a surge in population growth over the next 30 years.
By 2028, more than 200,000 people will call Hamilton home – and we're currently growing by about 81 new residents each week.
This growth puts more pressure on the local transport system, creating several challenges:
- An increasing trend in the number of people being killed or seriously injured on our roads
- A declining number of people choosing to walk or ride a bike around the city
- An historical decline in the number of people using public transport in Hamilton
- A larger proportion of people are using their car for short trips around the city (60% of people driving for less than 5km and 33% of people driving for less than 2km)
- An increase in congestion and unreliable journey times across the city
- A lack of city infrastructure to unlock new growth areas
The success of Hamilton's transport system relies on creating a new approach for multi-modal (different types of transport) movement. We need to provide residents, commuters, and visitors with a range of easier, safer and more reliable choices for getting around, in addition to private cars. The walking, biking and public transport projects within the Eastern Pathways/Te Ara o te Rawhiti programme will help to achieve this vision.
Which projects will begin in 2022?
We are planning some smaller safety and connectivity improvements projects that will support our broader programme initiatives. Currently, this includes some proposed safety upgrades along Crosby Road, and we are consulting with the local community on the measures they wish to see in that street. This work is ongoing, as at early 2022.
Additionally, the School Link project – connecting 19 schools with over 9,500 students through a key north-south route in Hamilton – was approved by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency for pre-implementation (design) funding in late 2021. A map of the projected stage is below; more specific information will soon be available on the construction phases of the project.
We will provide further information and detail on what people can expect to see as plans are further developed.
What is the School Link project?
The School Link corridor is a key north-south transport route in Hamilton, extending from Hukanui Road in the north to Peachgrove Road in the south, between Wairere Drive and Clyde Street. The School Link route connects 19 schools with over 9,500 students and is surrounded by residential housing, shopping centres, churches, sports fields, and retirement villages.
Although the main School Link route has public transport options and is also used by pedestrians and cyclists, the private car is currently the most frequently used mode of transport along and around the route. Many roads and intersections in the area have a poor safety record involving cyclists and pedestrians.
What are the School Link project stages?
Is the Programme important for people who don't live in eastern Hamilton?
Yes. The Programme, which is centred around School Link and Uni Link, will provide a safer environment for cycling and walking and improve the priority of public transport to the educational facilities in this area. Fewer people travelling by car to these destinations will make it easier for others to travel through Hamilton. The supporting projects will also provide better cycling and walking connections to other parts of the city.
How does Eastern Pathways/Te Ara o te Rawhiti tie into the Bike, E-scoot and E-skate Programme?
The Bike, E-scoot and E-skate Programme is a city-wide long-term strategy to identify ways to increase travel by bike, e-scooter or e-skateboard across Hamilton. Eastern Pathways/Te Ara o te Rawhiti is a programme of infrastructure projects proposed for eastern Hamilton. Parts of these projects will be guided by the outcomes of the Bike, E-scoot and E-skate Programme.
How does Eastern Pathways/Te Ara o te Rawhiti fit with the East/West Link Frequent Bus Route Project?
The East/West Link will provide a direct and frequent bus connection between the University, Central Business District (CBD) and western suburbs. This frequent bus route will work alongside the goal of Eastern Pathways/Te Ara o te Rawhiti to improve walking, biking and public transport options to the west of the river. Better public transport connections both in eastern Hamilton and between the University, CBD and western suburbs will enable more journeys by bus.
Why are business cases needed for School Link and Uni Link?
The business cases will support the funding application to Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency for the future investigation, consultation, design and construction phases of these larger projects.
As at early 2022, School Link has been approved for pre-implementation funding of $2.8 million, which will fund the design of the project in stages. The full budget required to deliver School Link is $28 million.
Where is the funding for Eastern Pathways/Te Ara o te Rawhiti coming from?
The Programme will be jointly funded by Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. How the funding will be spilt will be known following the funding application to Waka Kotahi for School Link and Uni Link.
This funding forms part of the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) announced in September 2021, under which Waka Kotahi guaranteed funding of $163.5 million for transport projects in Hamilton. Under the NLTP, Waka Kotahi co-invests 51% of the cost of approved projects with Council funding the remaining 49%.
What are the principles that guide Eastern Pathways/Te Ara o te Rawhiti?
- Quality first – get it right first time.
- Take the community and stakeholders on the journey.
- Partnership for co-investment.