Guest Post: Hamilton Trumps Wellington?

*This is a guest post by regular reader, Mr Plod, who may or may not have worked for Fonterra in Hamilton. Hamilton now has a reason to be. Wellington has suffered hugely at the hands of the Kaikoura earthquake. An earthquake that wasn’t even centred on one of the massive fault lines that run through Wellington. “While the precise scope of damages and their ongoing effects are still being assessed, currently it is believed that 16 buildings comprising 11 per cent or 167,300 sq m of Wellington CBD’s total office building stock, have been closed to occupiers – 47 percent of this space is classified by CBRE as prime quality stock,” A …
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Giving the Expressway a Run for its Money – Tilt Trains?

For a long time I have been fascinated with Tilt trains, I have now decided to write a post about them. For those that don’t know a tilting train is a train that is designed to tilt with the curve as banking around it. Think of it this way, when you are riding a bike as you move into a corner you tilt inwards which allows you to take the corner better at a higher speed. By tilting the train combats the centripetal force which causes inertia e.g. when standing you losing balance as you come around a curve. So when the curve goes to the right, the train tilts …
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Midweek reading: Road pricing and safety, urban-rural, the history of California, and trees

Starting this week I’m trying out a new feature: a midweek post rounding up some new articles on transport and urbanism. (Time for writing more substantive posts has been a bit tight lately.) The themes will be familiar to regular readers. Let’s start with congestion pricing – a perennial topic of fascination for economists. Congestion pricing is mainly seen as a policy to improve the efficiency of road networks by “pricing in” the cost of delay that motorists impose on each other. But, based on London’s experience with a cordon charge, it may also improve road safety for all users. Charles Komanoff at Streetsblog NYC reports on some new data: …
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Hamilton Bypass to be Bypassed

The NZTA yesterday announced they’ve awarded a $1 billion contract to build another bypass of Hamilton and comes after they spent $200 million on the existing bypass at Te Rapa which opened three years ago. Construction won’t begin till next spring as the contract includes the detailed design work which will take place first. A consortium of contractors and designers has been awarded a contract to build the biggest roading project to be undertaken in the Waikato, the NZ Transport Agency says. The 21 kilometre long Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway will be constructed by a group made up of Fletcher, Beca, Higgins and Coffey (FBHC), in an alliance with …
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The SH1/SH26 roundabout – what is going on?

In this recent post Matt asked why we were still building dangerous intersections. One part of his post caught my eye, specifically proposed changes to the intersection of SH1 and SH26 in the Waikato. The location of this intersection is shown below. You can see that the intersection exists firmly within the Hamilton urban area. Moreover,  I understand the area to the east is planned for residential growth in the future. I.e. there will be more and more residential development to the east. The reason this caught my eye is because the proposed changes, in my opinion, seem likely to result in a horrific clusterfuck of an intersection that will, at a minimum, destroy urban amenity and, potentially, …
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Why are we building dangerous intersections?

Two stories have recently caught my attention for the appalling treatment of people using roads who are not in cars. The first was a few days ago from the local paper that covers the Hibiscus Coast and details the issues with a relatively new intersection that people keep running red lights at. It’s so bad parents are making kids waive silly flags as they cross the road. It is only a matter of time before a child is killed at a dangerous Auckland intersection where up to 14 drivers a morning run red lights, concerned parents say. There are four schools and a preschool near the four-way intersection at Millwater Parkway and Bankside Road, and …
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Hamilton Slow Streets hits some bumps

Hamilton has been a bit of a trail blazer in New Zealand with pushing ahead on reducing speed limits in residential areas in a bit to improve safety. Road safety experts recognise that a 50km/h speed limit is generally too high for residential neighbourhoods, town and city centres where there are many people using the road for different purposes. It is the intention of the Hamilton City Council to reduce the number and severity of crashes occurring on our local urban roads. Managing speed is crucial to achieving this because the outcome of all crashes is strongly influenced by the impact speed. This graph shows the severity of pedestrian/vehicle crashes, …
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