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Waikato schools set to benefit from new cycleway

The Hamilton Link project aims to get more Kiwi kids cycling and walking to schools, easing congestion and providing more transport options.

Students of Hamilton can soon be assured of a safer walking and cycle route to school and university.

Hamilton City Council has announced that work on the Hamilton School Link project will begin mid-2024.  

Safety improvements will begin in East Hamilton on Te Aroha Street and Ruakura Road. This section will be the first of a 12 km biking network that will link 19 schools with the city centre and university.  

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The new project will include a two-way bike path on one side of the street and a shared path on the other, as well as raised safety platforms on all side-roads and a speed reduction for traffic from 50 to 40 km/h.  

Other improvements to be made during this project include reducing lanes, landscape planting, raised intersections and improving stormwater runoff.  

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These changes come after a 2018 report, ‘Safe ways to School’ found 55 percent of people in Hamilton would ride a bike more often if it were safer, including segregated biking facilities and safer intersections.  

The report was commissioned after the council identified four schools along the route as requiring infrastructure improvements for school walking and cycling. Researchers consulted students from Hamilton Boys High School, and the parents of children at Hukanui Primary School, Fairfield Intermediate and Peachgrove Intermediate.  

It found 76 percent of parents would “always or sometimes like their children to be able to walk/bike to school”. The report concluded that road safety measures was “the No1 way to encourage more parents to get children walking/cycling to school, followed by having others to walk and cycle with.”  

Martin Parkes, Hamilton City Council’s Public Transport and Urban Mobility Manager said that the improvements will provide increased accessibility for students and other residents in the neighbourhood, such as retirees.  

“The changes will make it safer and easier to get around this part of the city and provide a much calmer street environment for residents. There is also the potential to reduce the need for so many single vehicle trips at school-drop-off time, with more children being able to get themselves to and from school using bikes and scooters,” said Parkes.  

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It’s hoped that the project will address some of the issues highlighted in the ‘Safe Ways to School’ report, such as congestion around schools, unsafe cycling behaviour and limited transport options.  

The report notes that there has been a decline in children cycling since the 1980s, with a coinciding increase in health concerns among children.  

Naomii Seah

Naomii Seah is a writer and journalist from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. She enjoys crochet, painting, and a coffee or two at the beach. Her work can be found at The Spinoff, The Pantograph Punch, Stuff, and of course, School News NZ.
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