Hamilton City Council’s Infrastructure Operations Committee met for the final time today (Tuesday 9 August) before local government elections are held in October.
Discussing several issues around parking, speed management plans, and updates on Council’s biking and waters projects, the Committee also reflected on the eventful triennium now coming to a close.
Infrastructure Operations Committee Chair, Councillor Angela O’Leary, celebrated the achievements of the Infrastructure Operations Committee over the last three years.
“Together, we have achieved a lot under what has been the most significantly challenging environment in this chamber’s history due to COVID-19,” Councillor O’Leary said.
“With sincere thanks to Eeva-Liisa Wright, General Manager of Infrastructure Operations – as well as all supporting Council staff – we have worked on the largest infrastructure capital and renewals programme this city has ever seen over the last three years.
“Thank you to everyone who has served our city, and this Committee, with passion and dedication.”
Before debating the items on the agenda, Councillor O’Leary outlined some highlights since the Committee’s forming in 2019, including:
- e-scooters, new bus shelters and an accessible kerb programme being introduced in 2019
- Hamilton’s new kerbside rubbish and recycling service kicking off in 2020
- Eastern Pathways business case funding approval, the draft Biking and Micromobility Programme, and water stimulus funding delivered in 2021
- innovative technology such as licence plate recognition, and intersection minor safety improvements programme to make the city safer in 2022.
Hamilton Parking Policy
To provide consistency across the city with how we implement parking management plans, today Council recommended Hamilton’s first parking policy be approved.
The policy, which has overarching requirements of safety, movement, and access, provides principles and guidance for how staff should manage parking when considering changes to parking spaces across the city. Provisions include prioritising mobility parking spaces, ensuring short-term parking for business access and turnover, and ways to manage demands of residents and commuters.
Infrastructure Operations Committee Chair, Councillor Angela O’Leary, supported the motion to approve the draft parking policy – noting individual parking management areas will still be individually assessed, including the requirement for public input.
While this Policy provides a framework to guide parking decisions, other requirements such as public consultation and other legislative requirements will still apply.
Water Stimulus Project update
An update was provided to Council on the Waters Stimulus Project delivery, which saw $17.46 million in funding from Central Government's Department of Internal Affairs allocated to 19 projects across the city’s three waters networks (stormwater, wastewater, and water).
These projects focused on the renewal and maintenance of our pipes and pumps, water education, and the restoration and improvement of our gullies. Over 87,000 worker hours were dedicated to the different projects, which had a significant impact on the economic recovery of Hamilton after COVID-19. Some of the achievements include:
- 200km of water and wastewater pipes inspected
- 2.5km of new pipes installed
- seven schools engaged with using three waters collateral and activities
- 70,000 native plants planted in the Mangaiti Gully, with the help of local iwi working groups.
Although the Water Stimulus programme is finished, there is some ongoing work and deliverables to close out active projects. Most of these are the implementation of strategic policies and plans created with the stimulus funding, as well as some larger growth-focused projects that were started with the stimulus funding and will be completed under the 2021-31 Long-Term Plan.
Speed Management Plan review
Following public input from February to April this year, Council discussed and approved the Hamilton Speed Management Plan 2022.
The previous plan was reviewed to align with recent and proposed legislative changes (such as speed limit rule changes), new regulatory framework from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency on speed management, and to ensure certification from Waka Kotahi on how Hamilton implements speed limits across the city.
Council noted that 70% of the public responses during consultation were in favour of changes to the previous plan, which was last reviewed in 2019. This item was heard at the Hearings and Engagement Committee on 21 June, where verbal submissions were also made.
The 2022 Speed Management Plan needed to be approved so that speed limit changes can be made in the future, as the previous 2019 Speed Management Plan did not meet Waka Kotahi requirements.
The Hamilton Speed Management Plan 2022 and its implementation is funded in the 2021 Long-Term Plan.
Biking improvement opportunities
Council had previously asked staff to report to the Infrastructure Operations Committee on 9 August for immediate improvements that can be made, focusing on cyclist safety, temporary signage, and issues of construction works spilling into cycle lanes.
Today’s Committee approved for a council application seeking central Government funding be prepared and delivered for the Transport Choices package of the Climate Emergency Response Funding 2022. Council also approved a council submission to Waikato Regional Council's Regional Public Transport Plan.
Further to these initiatives, Council also approved the reallocation of funding in years two and three of the 2021-31 Long-Term Plan to improve bike safety and facilities, and to begin pre-implementation (project planning) for other biking and micromobility projects.
Today’s discussion focused on the most immediate opportunities which could be delivered in the 2022-23 financial year. These potential works include temporary traffic management (such as those seen around construction and works sites), road resealing, further education and communication about bike safety, and parking enforcement to ensure bike lanes are always clear.
In addition to the recommendations, Council has requested staff report back to the new Council with actions for increased parking enforcement activity, and increased resources for education campaigns centred around improving the safety of active road users. This information will be included in the 2023-24 Annual Plan.