Project summary

What we're doing

The Te Aroha/Ruakura Safety Improvements will link the biking connections from the central city and the university, with the improvements on Ruakura Road.

The safety improvements will include:

  • a two-way bike path along the northern side of Ruakura Road and Te Aroha Street
  • a shared path on the southern side of Te Aroha Street
  • raised safety platforms on all side roads
  • in-lane bus stops to provide a more reliable public transport service
  • reduced road width including removal of shoulders
  • reducing the number of traffic lanes on Ruakura Road, between Wairere Drive and Peachgrove Road, from four lanes to two (with the exception of the two intersections)
  • removal of some existing street trees and planting replacements
  • new landscape planting along the corridor
  • mid-block crossing points to enable safer connections to Argyle Street
  • raising the intersection of Ruakura Road/ Te Aroha Street/Peachgrove Road
  • rain gardens and catchpit filters installed to improve water quality
  • a speed reduction from 50km/h to 40km/h

Why we're doing it

The improvements are part of a wider project called School Link that will provide a 12km biking network on the eastern side of the river that links 19 schools, the city, and the university. The Te Aroha/Ruakura Safety Improvements will be the first section of the School Link project to be delivered.

School Link aligns with Council’s Access Hamilton transport strategy – Ara Kootuitui Kirikiriroa – which aims to help people connect to places in safe, accessible, and smart ways.

This project will

  • Make it safer for students getting to and from school and university

  • Improve connections between Ruakura and the central city

  • Provide more accessible options for people walking, biking, or on scooters

Where we're at with progress

  • Stage 1 - Planning

    2021-2022

    Residents, local schools, and interest groups provide input to the road safety improvement designs.
  • Stage 2 - Approval

    2022

    Design cost gets funding approved from Waka Kotahi.
  • Stage 3 - Planning

    2022-2023

    Design developed, and safety audited.
  • Stage 4 - Planning

    Late 2023 - 2024

    Meeting with schools, businesses, and community groups, as well as hosting drop-in information days.
  • Stage 5 - Underway

    Mid-2024

    Construction planned to begin and is expected to take 6 - 12 months.
  • Stage 6 - Completed

    Mid-2025

    We expect all works to be complete.

Frequently asked questions

Why are we doing this project in the first place?

These improvements will make it safer for people – including students – who walk, bike, and scooter through this neighbourhood. 

Alternative and dedicated traffic routes through and across the city are now available with the expressway and Wairere Drive.

How will the construction impact me if I live along these roads?

Sorry, but there’re going to be lots of road cones and disruptions until your safe, quiet, and accessible streets are completed.

The main impacts are likely to be:

  • traffic management e.g. stop/go
  • noise (machinery)
  • hazards such as holes being dug and uneven ground
  • limited footpath and bike space
  • low speed limits of 30km/h
  • temporary road closures and diversions

All residents and businesses will be advised in advance of any works being undertaken that will directly impact you e.g. access to driveways, noise, hazards.

If you have special needs, please let us know.

When’s construction work likely to begin and how long will it take?

When the contract is given to the construction company, they’ll advise how long it is likely to take and then we can let you know. This will be early 2024.

The length of time construction takes can vary depending on factors such as whether or not:

  • road access is limited to residents only for the duration of the construction
  • they do one side at a time
  • how it is staged along the length of both roads
  • weather

What’s happening to the on-street parking on Te Aroha Street?

Car parking surveys carried out along the streets show that on-street carparks are only used between 5-18% of the time.

There are currently 48 on-street parks along Te Aroha Street. Six carparks will be kept near the Grey Street roundabout. The remaining carparks within the shoulder are proposed to be removed.

On-street parking will remain on the side roads for residents to use.

Why do we need a shared path on one side and bike lanes on the other?

A shared path is wide enough for neighbourhood walkers, people with prams, children going to school on bikes, and scooter/mobility scooter users. It’s designed for all users to share safely – even if they’re in groups.   

The two-way dedicated bike lanes on the other side of the road are mainly for bike and scooter users who are connecting from one part of the city to another and are typically going faster. The two-way dedicated bike lanes also continue from the existing section coming from the university and provide space for people on bikes to overtake each other.

The safety improvements being undertaken make sure both ‘the neighbourhood’ and the ‘bike commuter’s’ needs are met.

Why are you taking out the bus stops?

The bus stops are not being removed but they are moving in-lane. This means that buses stop in the lane and traffic must wait behind them while passengers get on and off.

The advantages of this are that buses are more reliable because they don’t have to compete with traffic to get back in-lane.

Why are we reducing Ruakura Road to only two traffic lanes?

Ruakura Road was once a country road but as the city has developed, the road use has changed.

Reducing it to two lanes means the bike path and shared path can be constructed and it provides a safe passageway.

Modelling shows the impact on travel time from the reduction of traffic lanes to be minimal – particularly as the rest of Ruakura Road and Te Aroha Street only have two traffic lanes.

What will the impact of the changes be on congestion?

Every car contributes to congestion. These changes will allow for fewer cars by providing an alternative and safe commuter option.

Congestion is the result of more people living and driving in a growing city. We’re currently highly reliant on our cars in Hamilton, but travelling by car takes up the most road space per person of any mode of transport.  Active and public transport (walking, biking, and buses) are much more efficient at moving large volumes of people compared to cars. That’s partly why Hamilton City Council and Waikato Regional Council are investing more in options for people to walk, ride a bike, or catch a bus.

These changes will also allow biking to be safer and bus travel to be more reliable (the in-lane bus stops mean buses are not competing with traffic) which will make this a more attractive option for some commuters.

For people who need to use cars, we’re not reducing capacity of the road nor changing the intersections – but it might take a little longer to get where you are going with the change to the speed limit.

When’s the next stage of work?

The next section is called the Peachgrove safety improvements. These will be along the stretch of road between Ruakura Road and Clyde Street (past Peachgrove Intermediate, Hamilton Boys High School, and servicing several other schools and early childhood centres). Design work on these will be completed early 2024, with construction currently planned to start in 2025 after this section.

Before this section can begin, there will be undergrounding of some power lines which is currently planned for early 2024.

Will emergency vehicle access be a problem?

The rules are the same as on any road. When you hear emergency services, please:

  • Pull over in a safe place as far to the left as you can to let the vehicle pass.
  • If there’s not enough space on the road, you may need to pull into a driveway, side road, or use a grass verge. Avoid driving onto the footpath.
  • Always check for pedestrians and cyclists before stopping.

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Last updated 3 November 2023