There were quite a few transport related stories from around the Internet that caught my attention yesterday that I thought readers might like. Here is a summary of them

Truck Blind Spot

This video comes from Transport for London showing the blind spot of a truck


Stupid Scaremongering on the Shore

Some locals on the North Shore are trying to drum up fear about four storey buildings (note: that is not high rise) being built by Ngati Whatua

People on a North Shore street where up to 100 new residences could rise are worried about building height and traffic issues and want the community to rein in the developers.

A flyer distributed along Ngataringa Rd asked locals if they knew three- and four-storey apartment blocks could rise on the empty Wakakura block owned by Ngati Whatua o Orakei above Ngataringa Bay.

Flyer writer and resident Petra Heemskerk wants people to try to stop the intensive housing estate because buildings up to four levels or 14.5m could rise in the centre of the site, up to three storeys or 11m along Ngataringa Rd and up to 8m or two storeys alongside the Lake Rd and Wakakura Cres ends of the site.

“The issue is not the development of the site in itself. I think it is fair to say that most residents here are not opposed to the land being developed,” she said.

“The issue is intensive development. The streets near Wakakura Cres are all dead-end streets with one- or two-storey houses and it is hard to see how apartment blocks will fit in with the character of the neighbouring area.”

Only problem is the stupid residents haven’t bothered to check what’s allowed there and the Unitary Plan pretty clearly lists the site as Mixed Housing Suburban which limits buildings to two storeys in height

Ngataringa Cres

A 3d version of Streetmix

You remember streetmix right? this guy is building a something similar but in 3d. It’s fairly limited at this stage but hopefully he is able to give a lot more options as would be superb to use to help show how we can make out cities better.

I must say, I’ve long wondered why we can’t use some of the technology employed to make games to help better visualise making out city better.

A Stroll Around the World

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Salopek is taking on a pretty epic journey, he’s retracing the paths taken by the first humans as they colonised the world and over a 7 year period is walking from Cape Horn in Africa to Tierra del Fuego in South America. In this piece in the New York Times he writes about it and his observations about how we view and interact with the world when behind the wheel of a car, something he calls Car Brain.

“Why did you leave the road?” one Saudi friend asked me, puzzled, when I improvised an obvious shortcut across a mountain range. “The highway is always straighter.”

To him, the earth’s surface beyond the pavement was simply a moving tableau — a gauzy, unreal backdrop for his high-speed travel. He was spatially crippled. The writer Rebecca Solnit nails this mind-set perfectly in her book “Wanderlust: A History of Walking”: “In a sense the car has become a prosthetic, and though prosthetics are usually for injured or missing limbs, the auto-prosthetic is for a conceptually impaired body or a body impaired by the creation of a world that is no longer human in scale.”

I just call it Car Brain


Cocooned inside a bubble of loud noise and a tonnage of steel, members of the internal combustion tribe tend to adopt ownership of all consumable space. They roar too close. They squint with curiosity out of the privacy of their cars as if they themselves were invisible. In Saudi Arabia, this sometimes meant a total loss of privacy as Bedouins in pickups, soldiers in S.U.V.’s and curiosity seekers in sedans circled my desert camps as if visiting an open-air zoo, gaping at the novelty of a man on foot with two cargo camels. Other motorists steered next to my elbow for hundreds of yards, interrogating me through a rolled-down car window. (Not to pick on Saudi Arabia, which is no worse than any other Car Brain society, but exactly one driver in 700 miles of walking in the kingdom bothered to park and stroll along for a while.)

The whole thing is definitely worth a read. The Atlantic Cities piece on the article is quite good too.

You know things are really auto-dependant when….

Two stories from different parts of Tennessee:

The first a dad who walked to pick his kids up from school gets arrested for refusing to wait in a line of cars.

And the second a lady is being threatened with legal action by the council for letting her grandchildren ride their bikes on a quiet residential street.

Charlotte Mayor Bill Davis said it was “absolutely” true that in Charlotte kids can’t ride their bike on roads owned by the town; a resolution passed by the town in 2003 states that no one can “ride an all terrain vehicle, skateboard, roller blades, and roller skates or conduct similar activities on the city streets, in the city park or on the Court Square of Charlotte.”

A law that doesn’t allow children to play outside on rollerblades, skateboards or bicycles interferes with basic play, according to Mathis, who said she was “stunned” when she got the letter from the city. Mathis has lived on Old Columbia Road in Charlotte for 13 years, the first she’s heard of illegal biking.

And even though bikes are not included specifically, Davis said it’s implied in the language “similar activities.”

To both of those cases I just thing Wow

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  1. “Only problem is the stupid residents haven’t bothered to check what’s allowed there and the Unitary Plan pretty clearly lists the site as Mixed Housing Suburban which limits buildings to two storeys in height”

    Of course the fearless Herald did but that bit must have been lost in subediting. Seriously, are they journalists or do they just print press release?

    1. You guys probably want to check the Unitary Plan yourself before you post and go back and re-edit, look up the development controls under Precinct Rule K.5.11 for Devonport Sub-precinct f (which take precedence over the zoning) and you will find that a concept plan for the site has been incorporated which will allow 3 and 4 story buildings to be developed on the site. In addition, the rules mean that the maximum density provisions will likely not apply either. Joel Cayford has a blogged on this development if anyone is interested.

      Not that I disagree of course with more intensive use of the site, I requested that this land be incorporated into the THAB zone in my submission on the draft and intend on submitting in support of this again and for any future resource consent should I get the opportunity.

  2. That truck example is very timely given the recent spate of deaths in London – clearly shows why proper segregation is needed.

    Also cross at the correct angle when near tram tracks!

  3. I’m familiar with that site in Ngataringa. It used to have two storey, terraced Navy housing on it. The site also slopes down to the south where it sounds like the tallest buildings will be. This will mean shading effects will be minimal as all existing buildings will be both up slope and north of the development. The development will also be close enough to Lake Road so traffic should be minimal. The only problem I can think of is a lack of shops nearby and no public transport within an easy walk. You could walk towards the north but it’s quite a steep climb.

    1. This site could certainly become an SHA, meaning the UP took effect. Ngati Whatua are doing this with some of their Orakei land.
      And yes Precincts can overrule underlying zoning allowing more height of different controls, and these do exist on the Ngati Whatua land.
      Lots of them were opposed by local boards, and most of the Housing NZ ones allowing 4 stories were voted down at the committee stage in September. Ngati Whatua kept theirs, even though in some cases were adjacent to HNZ land that was downzoned!

    1. Yep, it is hilarious. But there are schools in NZ where the school will not allow children to cycle to school. We should treat that with the same disdain as it is a slippery slope…

    2. Reading some of the comments on that article, it seems the rule has come about in part because parents were parking their cars illegally and walking to pick up their kids to avoid queues of cars at the school. Of course the best way to deal with this problem would surely be to deal with the cars parked illegally rather than prevent the children walking home.

  4. “Only problem is the stupid residents haven’t bothered to check”

    Is there any reason you have to write these stories in such insulting language? The points being made would still be made without words like stupid being added. You can’t expect to change people’s views by insulting them.

    1. I think it is pretty stupid to get all worked up over something that can’t happen according to the council regulations. Pretty stupid or not do your homework before calling the papers to complain.

      1. Nick, you’ve just done exactly what you are accusing the “stupid residents” of. It could happen according to the Rules of the Unitary Plan. Do your homework before commenting.

    2. GB – I agree. Insulting language adds nothing and takes away a lot – and if SDW’s post is correct, it’s not the residents who are stupid.

  5. Several points re the truck and visibility. It is difficult to be sure because the vehicle has started to turn and positioning would depend on the driver but the mirrors appear to be set at too close an angle perhaps to exaggerate the problem? The dual mirrors are designed I believe so the lower one gives a better view of the ground, kerb etc and should be set angled down lower than the higher one? Yes these trucks are far too large for most roads and should be strictly limited. A skilled driver though is able to use his mirrors to reverse into narrow cart docks with centimetres to spare so the mirrors can’t be that bad.

    On a bike self preservation is all important and one of the basic rules is don’t come up on the inside of large stationary vehicles hold back!! However if the truck pulled up after the cyclists were already at the stop line this is a different matter he/she must know of their presence!!

    I believe the real blind spot for a cyclist is alongside the cab about in line with the mirror and or cab door, the mirror would need to be pointing down at about 45 deg. to see a bike

  6. On the 3D urban visualization there’s a lot going on there, but to be fair, most of it is expensive, high-end software, things like ESRI’s CityEngine and AAM’s K2VI. Meanwhile, although it’s a pretty geeky site (full of jargon like API, PostGIS, GeoJSON and so on, this looks like it might get interesting in the space you are talking about, Matt:

  7. Kids cycling alone can be dangerous, especially if there isn’t a cycle lane, or a footpath the whole way. I certainly wouldn’t want a child cycling in traffic, especially in suburban/semi-urban area.

    1. And yet not that long ago, maybe 20 years, the majority of school children cycled to school. I remember in the 80s and 90s when the bike racks were chocka and if I arrived late, I had to lock my bike to a tree. Noe they are empty.

      What’s changed? Not the children. They want freedom to travel independently. NZ has decided that moving cars around is more important than creating a safe environment for children to travel. Very sad.

      1. possibly not the children, but certainly the parents, who ave bought into a media driven stranger danger, despite the incidence of random attacks on children not changing over time

        1. I suspect many are buying into the dangers associated with young children and the road- it’s the leading cause of death in that age group. Ironically the more people drive their children at school, the more cars there are near school, and the more dangerous it is for those using an active mode.

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