The City Centre Transformation Plan was adopted by council, and we began a discussion about the need for a shared space through Garden Place. Expect to see more from us as this plan begins to be implemented.
Increased car ownership, suburban shopping malls, and backwards planning has led to the decline of Hamilton City Centre since the 1970s.
The City Centre Transformation Plan is a long term blueprint to transform the City Centre into a vibrant and prosperous hub for our City.
A key focus is on attracting people back to the CBD, with open spaces and laneways around Garden Place. More foot traffic in the CBD will increase business in the area and generally liven the City Centre. A shared space running from Garden Place to Collingwood Street will encompass Alexandra Street and a new laneway entrance to the central library, forming an accessible and attractive hub in the City Centre.
However there's a surprising blast from the past included in an otherwise brilliant plan...
Feeling the time warp?
Shared spaces are brilliant for calming existing city streets, discouraging 'rat run' traffic, and generally making the City Centre more attractive. But a new road bisecting our premier open space doesn't give us these benefits. It really doesn't make sense to build a new road through Garden Place, and here's some reason's why...
5 reasons to keep Garden Place CAR FREE!
1) Replacing public space with carparks is a failed idea
Current plans show the addition of about 8 carparks. Carparks aren't exactly reknown for being attractive public spaces, so they have no business here!
2) A new road cuts off the northern shops from Garden Place
A special character of the cafes and shops in Garden Place is the peaceful and unobstructed open space. Outdoor dining in the summer months with live music is a lot more attractive without cars in the middle of everything!
3) A new road isn't even useful
A new road through here would just duplicate Ward Street. East-West traffic already uses Bryce Street or Collingwood Street. The point of a shared space is to discourage through traffic, not encourage it! This shared zone was first mooted in 2008 when Ward Street was one-way. Now Ward Street is two-way from Worely Place, this road makes even less sense.
4) We need to retain the space for events
Garden Place is a public space with huge potential to host events. It's incredible short term thinking to squander more public space for an unproductive road.
5) A new road is a huge leap backwards
In 1975, Garden Place was fully tarmacked with two roads and a huge carpark. This is a plan that's meant to learn from the past and take best practice from other world class cities. A new road bisecting a public space is not a vision for 2025!
Despite this, the City Centre Transformation plan does include a wide range of excellent projects. Along with the River Plan and Biking Plan there are some really good links being established to cement the City Centre as a focal point for Hamilton. More plantings, rerouting buses, updated urban furniture, and attractive laneways all contribute to a rejuvenated urban environment from a city centre still very much based on the design principles of last century.
A good shared zone: Reclaiming underutilized road as a public space.
An attractive shared space from Garden Place to Collingwood Street will link Centre Place, Civic Square, Garden Place, Victoria Street and Alexandra street more cohesively so that the City Centre is somewhere we can socialise and relax. Garden Place is our town square and a new road bisecting it is a blight on an otherwise encouraging plan.
Please Submit to keep Garden Place CAR FREE!
Other Quick Improvements to the Plan...
Council Management of Garden Place
There is a proposal to transfer the management of Garden Place to the Hamilton City Business Association. We believe that the Council currently has a good working with relationship with the HCBA and that management of Garden Place should stay with the Council.
City Centre walking and biking access
This plan recognises that good accessibility to and within the City Centre is essential to it's prosperity. Encouraging active transport contributes to a safer, more sociable and more prosperous City Centre.
Medium Density Housing in the City Centre
The northern 'Victoria' precinct is to be a 20 minute neighbourhood with a target of 6000 people living in the central city by 2023. Good quality intensification in this area is the best way to meet this target while creating a thriving area.