Welcome back to Sunday reading. It’s been an interesting week, what with the Brexit and all. (Or rather, potential Brexit. Apparently nobody over there has any goddamn clue what they’re doing.)

Brexit is worth talking a bit about, as there are some touch-points with urban policy. There were big geographical disparities. The vote to remain was strongest in London, which benefits directly from global economic integration due to its role as a financial centre and an immigrant melting-pot, and Scotland, which has a markedly different political identity than England. By contrast, England’s rust belt was considerably more enthusiastic about Brexit.

It’s easy to describe this as a case of the haves and have nots, but as the Financial Times observed, there was a positive correlation between votes to leave and share of regional GDP exported to the EU:

A backlash against immigration was a major driver of the vote. According to the University of Oxford Migration Observatory, net migration to the UK rose considerably since the early 1990s, especially after the accession of lower-income Eastern European nations to the EU:

UK immigration chart

But while high levels of immigration appear to have prompted a backlash, the backlash was strongest in the areas with fewest migrants. Alan Travis writes in the Guardian:

Yet the details of the referendum demonstrate a paradox – that those who have experienced the highest levels of migration are the least anxious about it. The highest levels of remain voters were in areas of highest net migration, while some of the strongest leave areas have had the fewest recent new immigrants.

London, which absorbed 133,000 of the 330,000 net arrivals in 2015, voted the most strongly for remain. Manchester also voted for remain – and at 13,554 had nearly double the level of net migration seen in Birmingham, which voted leave.

The pattern is starkest at the local authority level. Lambeth in London, which recorded the highest remain vote of 78%, saw a net influx of 4,598, while Castle Point in Essex, which includes Canvey Island, saw a net inflow of only 81 new international migrants in 2015, but 72% of people there voted leave.

In Conservative Wandsworth in London, net migration was 6,295 and 75% of voters backed remain, while in Labour Hartlepool there was a net inflow of 113 and 69% of people voted to leave.

And of course there was a big age gap in voting patterns – young people voted to remain by more than a 2-1 margin.

Interesting. Oh well. They’re going to have to work it all out. I’m going to get back to normal business.

One of the best urban-related articles I’ve read recently was Matt Yglesias’s (Vox) piece about “Why the elevator could be the next great disruptive technology“. It’s a good analysis of the beneficial role that cities play in modern economies:

Where we live right now isn’t working.

The old manufacturing economy allowed vibrant, globally competitive industries to establish themselves in essentially arbitrary locations. All factories needed was access to the national transportation grid so that raw materials could flow in and finished products could flow out.

The information economy, in somewhat tragic ways, hasn’t had this quality. Half of the jobs created during the 2010-’14 recovery cycle were in these 73 counties, home to only about a third of the nation’s population:

job-growth-map.jpg

And of the frictions (often create by zoning restrictions on building up) that prevent more people from taking advantage of those opportunities:

These are all great places to live, and just as factories served as economic anchors for regions, today’s big industries produce broader local prosperity.

Here are some examples from the San Francisco area:

The problem is that for most residents of these places, the higher cost of living erodes the benefits of higher pay.

And lastly, it’s a fine reminder that innovations sometime take decades (or even longer) to fully play out – yesterday’s “general purpose technology” can still be raising productivity for years to come:

The good news is that two major technological innovations from the late 19th century offer the solution…

Elevators are a transportation breakthrough that made steel frame construction genuinely useful. With steel frames and elevators, it became possible to fit an enormous square footage of usable floor space on a small plot of land. In other words, tall apartment buildings make it possible for there to be plenty of housing for everyone even where land is scarce…

It’s true that many people prefer a single-family home, all else being equal. But what makes the elevator so disruptive is precisely the reality that all else is not equal.

When land is scarce and in demand, an insistence on broad single-family zoning creates some very difficult trade-offs. The houses in the most desirable spots become very expensive. And the frontier of affordability sprawls out to an annoyingly long commute. Apartments — cheaper and more conveniently located — bust up that old set of trade-offs.

If elevators were more widely used, they could unleash not just a boom of new construction in America’s most expensive areas but an important secondary boom of higher wages for workers at all skill levels. The technology to do it has been with us for more than a century — if we want to use it.

Yglesias’ thoughts are pretty much in line with NZ economist Arthur Grimes’ comments at a recent Auckland Conversations event. Anne Gibson (NZ Herald) reports:

A former Reserve Bank chairman has called for the Government and Auckland Council to enact policies to deliberately “collapse” the city’s house prices by at least 40 per cent and intensify building along Tamaki Dr with Gold Coast-style towers.

Arthur Grimes delivered a hard-hitting speech at an Auckland Conversations event, calling for swift action to resolve the housing crisis, and the city’s eastern suburbs to have high-rise residential blocks, ready for the next generation of Aucklanders…

“I don’t think there’s any doubt. It doesn’t matter if it’s Freemans Bay, Parnell, Remuera, Kohimaramara, Ellerslie. We certainly need to intensify,” Grimes said.

“I can’t understand why that whole [area] from Orakei to St Heliers is not like the Gold Coast.

“Basically, in my experience of other cities, you would expect anywhere with those sorts of beaches close to Auckland … would have line-to-line skyscrapers all the way along there and that’s the kind of Auckland I would expect and I think young people would expect. The old people won’t and I’m inbetween,” he said.

Issi Romen (BuildZoom) provides another perspective on the same issue. He uses data on building ages from the American Community Survey to identify when different areas of American cities were developed. He uses this to draw some interesting contrasts between different cities:

Take for example Atlanta and San Francisco – by which I mean the broadest definitions of Greater Atlanta and the San Francisco Bay Area.4 Atlanta’s developed footprint expanded considerably every decade since the 1950s – even in the 2000s, which lost several years’ of growth to the housing bust. San Francisco expanded much more than Atlanta in the ‘50s, but in contrast to Atlanta – and despite having an economy at least as strong as Atlanta’s throughout the years – San Francisco’s expansion began slowing down as early as the 1960s, and by the 2000s it had almost ground to a halt. A recent proposal to annex farmland to a suburb on San Francisco’s southern edge was described by analysts as “reminiscent of a bygone era.”

Atlanta_vs_SF

Here’s the animated map for San Francisco. There are a lot of un-developed areas between developed ones – for the most part, they are steeply sloping hills. The city has challenging geography.

San_Jose_San_Francisco_Oakland___loop

Some policy conclusions:

Geography and land use policy

Albert Saiz of the MIT Center for Real Estate has conducted the most comprehensive research to date on land use constraints imposed by geography and regulation. He finds that both factors play an important role in restricting the housing supply, but that geography ultimately takes the front seat. Moreover, the importance of geography increases as cities grow larger, because in the process they exhaust the best tracts of land first. The importance of land use policy also increases as cities grow larger, and although Saiz does not go this far, a possible explanation is that in larger cities the cycle of restricted housing supply raising housing prices and in turn generating further land use regulation has had more time and scope to operate.

San Francisco’s extreme position at the expensive end of the chart stems from the combination of Silicon Valley’s economic might with the city’s confining natural geography on one hand, and its residents’ environmental zeal on the other. The latter shows up in both local and state-level land use regulation, as well as in residents’ propensity to take advantage of that regulation to impede development. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), for example, is a well-intentioned law that is notorious for its abuse by opponents of development and others. Another example of land use policy that overtly targets urban expansion is California’s Williamson Act, which offers tax benefits to rural landowners who agree not to develop their land for ten years.

Los Angeles and Seattle are also surrounded by geographic obstacles to expansion, like San Francisco, and so is Miami which is trapped between the Atlantic Ocean and the Everglades. Although Los Angeles and Miami are not known for sharing San Francisco’s environmental sentiment, Seattle is, and Los Angeles shares the same state law as San Francisco.

The role of geography is less prominent in other expensive cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, aside from their proximity to the ocean. As a result, it easier to shift the blame for restricted housing supply in these cities a step further towards land use policy. In these cities and elsewhere, such policy shows up in the form of numerous mundane, local rules, like zoning for single family homes and minimum parking requirements. It also shows up in the form of stricter qualifications for the approval of new projects, e.g. placing the fate of projects in the hands of hyper-local authorities which are less attuned – to put it mildly – to cities’ broad regional housing needs.

Basically, it does seem like some cities have gotten themselves into a bit of a bind – in terms of geography, planning regulations, and transport investments. One thing that I think is profoundly unhelpful, in that situation, is insisting that the only way forward is to go backwards. If yesterday’s solutions stopped working, they did so for a reason. A different approach is likely to be necessary to get a better outcome in the future.

And now for an interesting piece on parking. Eric Jaffe (CityLab) reports on a new study that examines the impact of parking provision on rates of car commuting:

The case for causality gets stronger in a new analysis set to be presented at a conference this week. Chris McCahill of the State Smart Transportation Initiative and a trio of University of Connecticut scholars offer “compelling evidence that parking provision is a cause of citywide automobile use.” They do so by taking a page from epidemiology—adopting a framework meant for “inferring causality” in the face of a statistical association known as the Bradford Hill criteria.

Strength of the association

A main metric within the Hill criteria is strength of the association. Courts, for instance, have in the past accepted that a relative risk of 2.0 is sufficient to show that a particular agent (such as cigarettes) caused a disease (such as lung cancer).

In drawing their own association, McCahill and company used historical aerial photos and modern GIS inspection to estimate the area devoted to parking in nine midsized U.S. cities during three eras: circa 1960, 1980, and 2000. None of these metros had seen big population growth over this period, suggesting their built environment was already mature by the mid-20th century. Some had high car-reliance (as measured by census data on driving to work), such as Hartford; some didn’t, such as Berkeley.

Yet the connection between parking and driving was a “consequential” one. The researchers found that as a city went from 0.2 parking spaces per person to 0.5 per person, the share of car commuting went from 60 to 83 percent—good for a relative risk of 1.4. That association isn’t quite as strong as a court-approved health link, but it’s still “quite substantial.”

Parking provision and car commuting in 9 U.S. cities, 1960-2000. The cities included were Albany, Arlington (Virginia), Berkeley, Cambridge, Hartford, Lowell, New Haven, Silver Spring, and Somerville. (McCahill et al, “Effects of Parking Provision on Automobile Use in Cities: Inferring Causality,” 2016)

The authors also look at other evidence of a causal link, finding that there is likely to be a specific, consistent effect in different places, that the sequence of events is right, and that controlled experiments show similar results.

I expect the science to improve on this issue, especially as better data on transport behaviours becomes available. But if past experience is a guide, a better understanding of outcomes may not necessarily flow back into transport engineering practices. Robert Steuteville (Better Cities & Towns) reviews the sorry state of affairs. As has been the case for over sixty years, “best practice” street designs are killing people:

Wide lanes are deadly in urban places, as planner Jeff Speck reported in detail last year, because they encourage speeding. Narrow lanes make drivers more cautious—and save lives. Slower traffic allows walking, biking, and other forms of transportation to flourish.

Modern traffic engineering concentrates traffic in a hierarchy of less connected streets and larger blocks. Researchers Garrick and Marshall conducted the definitive study of how that strategy worked on 24 California cities. Half of the cities have smaller blocks and were laid out mostly before 1950. The other half were modern suburbs blessed with wide roads and large blocks and more than three times the traffic fatalities per capita of the older cities. The older cities display triple the walking, four times the transit use, six times the bicycling, and immeasurably more charm.

If traffic engineering were medicine, engineers would police themselves and adjust their practice accordingly. Alas, that relatively young profession is not medicine, where doctors take an oath to “do no harm.” Instead, traffic engineering follows the dictum “bigger is better.”

If you’ve read this far, have a treat and read the haiku battle between public transport agencies in San Francisco and Los Angeles. My personal favourite:

That’s it for the week. See you next time!

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48 comments

  1. Not too sure what Brexit has to do with transport in NZ….

    “Yet the details of the referendum demonstrate a paradox – that those who have experienced the highest levels of migration are the least anxious about it. The highest levels of remain voters were in areas of highest net migration, while some of the strongest leave areas have had the fewest recent new immigrants.”
    Maybe because those areas with lots of immigrants also have lots of immigrants voting and which way do you think they’d vote?….. :/

    1. Premise 1: You have to be a British citizen to vote.
      Premise 2: You’re referring to immigrants who are not also British citizens.
      Conclusion: Your hypothesis is rejected.

          1. I think you’re being a bit churlish bruce.

            See premise 2 above. If that doesn’t hold then of course your hypothesis would need to be assessed on alternative grounds. This incidentally highlights why its good to clearly outline your assumptions, as it wasn’t clear to me from your comment what your logic was.

            In terms of other reasons why your hypothesis should be rejected: if it takes 5 years to be a citizen, then only immigrants before 2010 may have voted. Moreover, many pre-2010 immigrants – especially from EU – will have kept their original citizenship for obvious reasons: changing costs time and money for little gain.

            So i still think it’s a unlikely that a small group of people who make up less than 1% of pop per annum would reach sufficient numbers to explain trends peter points to.

            Hypothesis rejected.

          2. You are sounding quite like a pompous academia twit quite frankly Stu.

            Between General immigrants, Commonwealth immigrants, and EU immigrants that have been in the UK for 5 years (many of which have got UK citizenship and therefore passports because they are more useful than most EU passports bar the likes of Germany/France/Italy/Spain/Netherlands/Belgium/Denmark/Austria). That certainly does make up a large proportion of the population particularly in London where most Brits treat as almost a different country. So yes that is a large part why London voted stay. Scotland of course does whatever is the opposite of what England wants (rightly or wrongly). Most of the leave vote isn’t so much about the EU but about immigration (and not even about EU immigrants really – most Brits get along just fine with Poles etc) they aren’t liking how Germany decided it would be a smart idea to let in millions of mostly male “Syrian” (often not) refugees and then decided along with a few others that the UK should take them. It’s things like that that really piss people off (especially if they are doing things tough themselves).

          3. Yeah, the people who voted to leave don’t have anything against Polish immigrants: http://metro.co.uk/2016/06/26/racist-messages-appear-near-school-telling-poles-to-go-home-following-brexit-5967257/

            Unfortunately, the Brexit vote seems to have empowered petty racists to bully their neighbours. This is a distressing development. Demonisation of racial or ethnic “others” has historically led to very bad things, including in supposedly “civilised” places like Europe.

          4. Peter I am sure you are not suggesting everyone who wants to leave the EU is a racist. The article suggests someone is leaving cards that are shocking to other English people. Presumably more people are shocked by this than are actually doing it. It is insulting the number of people who want to label people who voted leave as racist or stupid or whatever. The simple fact is more voted leave than remain and everyone who voted is equal in status.

          5. mfwic is right, not all leave votes were racists, but all racist votes were leaves.

            In all seriousness though, misinformation, racism, and general disenfranchisement from political, and economic community all drove this calamitous decision.

          6. Clearly the UK is no more racist or xenophobic than it was before the vote, the difference is that those with ugly views now feel legitimised, that their stupid vileness is mainstream. Or that at least 52% of the population share their position, and they’re just smart enough to work out that that’s a majority.

            Tonight I saw Pauline Hansen on TV say that she says what ‘everyone’ really thinks but doesn’t have the courage to say… lovely people.

    2. Seen from one perspective – the one that I was highlighting – Brexit is an economic geography story. The post-Thatcher political economy has opened up wide regional inequalities – London’s done very well, the midlands and north have done very badly. (Unfortunately, some people have made immigration a scapegoat for their towns’ declining prospects. This explanation doesn’t hold water, not least because the places that have done worst economically have seen the least migration.)

      Economic geography is very relevant to transport and urban economics. The broader economic forces that shape the rise of some places (e.g. London) and the decline of others (e.g. Newcastle) should be considered when choosing how to set urban policy. For example, I wouldn’t recommend a city to build a new rail system if its main industries were all shedding jobs.

    3. A more plausible argument, Bruce, is that people who actually live with people from different places aren’t so easily frightened into believing they the cause of all their problems… If immigrants are the big problem then Londoners should have been the leading Brexiters.

      1. This can go both ways, my impression in Belgium was always the other way around — people become a lot more negative about immigrants once they actually start encountering on the street.

  2. What does ‘strength of association of 2.0’ mean? Bradford Hill is a list of conditions but does give a number. Is the rank number based on the Monson method I found on Google or something else? The actual paper is behind a wall.

    1. I believe it’s an odds ratio. To give a hypothetical example, if the chances of developing lung cancer were 10 in 1000 for smokers versus 2 in 1000 for non-smokers then you would say that smokers were five times more likely to develop lung cancer.

      In this case, it’s a bit more challenging to interpret the odds ratio, as parking spaces per worker is a continuous variable rather than a binary one. I’d find the “strength of association” stuff more convincing if it was also bolstered by an analysis of micro-data – e.g. looking at rates of car commuting among people who had employer-provided carparks vs people who didn’t. (An area for further research, I would say!)

  3. Good links Peter. Wrt Arthur Grimes Gold Coast thesis for a more affordable housing from the Auckland Conversation event -video link in last weeks Sunday reading. The lady from Ockham residential argued that the ‘missing middle’ housing types would make a greater contribution to affordable housing rather than high rise apartments. Ockham’s rationale being -3 story walk-up apartments, townhouses and row houses are cheaper to construct on a sqm basis. That given enough up-zoning a significant number of this sort of housing could be built for lower than medium house prices which would put downward pressure on Auckland’s overall medium house price. This seemed to be a mathematical argument -rather than an economic argument of supply and demand. Being that if there is a series of numbers and some additional numbers are added to the series and these numbers are below the previous medium value, the new medium value will fall,

    There is a really good architectural slide show of Houston which massively relaxed its up-zoning regulations after 1999. This meant that whole suburbs of stand alone housing -very similar to NZ suburbia were replaced by the 3/4 story missing middle housing types that Ockham Residential is championing. I would estimate the number of dwellings per hectare was increased 3 to 5 fold. http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/events/rethink2011/documents/MakeoverMontgomeryConference_3A_Tennant.pdf

    As Bernard in the Conference described in a visual analogy -maybe our cities need centres that are like candlesticks which are surrounded by fat donuts which are in turn surrounded by a low and wide flat bread

    1. Well Grimes was enjoying being incendiary in order to get his point across. But there is one place in AKL that could have, and in fact is already on the way to having, the Gold Coast kind of pattern, and that’s Takapuna.

      4-7 stories like we are getting in Grey Lynn through the happy accident of Victorian no-zoning and happenstance commercial areas converting to mixed use is precisely the ideal. These work financially with lifts and sub-floor services and garaging.

      Three Stories without a lift is another good alternative, but only in more suburban locations, either terraces or apartments.

      And of course all work best with as little car parking as possible; and therefore need to be well located with great proximity to services, Transit, and bike infra: ie Highly walkable neighbourhoods, like Grey Lynn.

      The developer of the The Dylan told me they designed it with two carparks per apartment, but the market only wanted one [except for the two penthouses, of course], so they put in a bike store and more individual storage in the basement [and I think saved a heap on construction].

      I prefer this building to the Ockham one up the road as it has ground floor retail and not just blank unactivated walls to Great North Rd.

      1. We just need to get on with it and allow all the different housing types and be sensible about putting in the supporting infrastructure you indicated Patrick. The more choices the better : )

  4. The Brexit breakdown seems to support the idea it was political integration that was repellent rather than trade integration. The would mean the Treaty of Rome was a success but the Maastricht Treaty was an abject failure.

      1. The narrative from the remainers was the leavers were all uneducated racists. But Farage doesnt ever get a great deal of support despite his noise. The real might behind the leave were actually the populist Tories like Boris and Michael Gove, moderates like Andrea Leadsom (she should be their PM!) and a hell of a large part of the Labour party. Like our Labour party they are run by people who consider themselves superior to their own supporters. So the leadership, who wanted to remain, just stayed quiet while labour communities voted leave. Farage is just a dog barking while all that was happening.

        1. Maastricht treaty is fine.

          The uks problems don’t stem from migration within EU. Its simply their inability to implement policies that makes the economy work for the majority who live outside london.

          In this context the eu becomes the easiest scapegoat.

          As brexiteers have now admitted: they probably won’t reduce immigration by much. Or if they did then you could add falling property prices to their list of economic ills.

          1. “As brexiteers have now admitted: they probably won’t reduce immigration by much”

            On the contrary, I suggest that the rising unemployment and taxes will reduce immigration. As Farage said “we fought the multinationals”; wave bye-bye to them and their jobs, Brexiteers.

  5. Seems to be some unrest around the world with the have-nots venting their frustration through Trump, Brexit, a hung government in Australia. Peters is trying to make himself the saviour over here. National must be realising there may be some effect for them with the announcement of a billion dollar loan for infrastructure as some address to the housing crisis where previously there has been none.

  6. The last article is interesting. The traffic engineers I worked with in the late 80’s all argued for no more than 3.0m lanes in the city. Anything wider resulted in speed. The cycle people came along and pushed for 4.8 metres as a minimum. Don’t blame the traffic engineers for the big lanes.

    1. I don’t think those wider streets have been used as cycle lanes since the ’80’s? Were they used as vehicle lanes instead?

      1. Exactly. And if the extra is for cycles, that’s still 3.0m for cars – unless they are driving illegally in the cycle lanes.

        Goodness, that was a lazy trolling effort from him, wasn’t it.

    2. We could put hard barriers along the cycle lanes and reduce the roads to 3.0m if the only reason roads are wider is to accommodate the cycle people mfwic?

      1. Virtually all we did that wide have long since had cycle lanes painted on. The hard barrier treatment is a bit tricky as around the same time there was push back against the limited access mentality- so the roads built in that period all have numerous accesses.

        1. “long since”

          Is that an admission that, in fact, they did not have cycle lanes originally and were made that wide from the get-go, solely for cars?

          1. No of course not. The cycle standards came in asking for a minimum of 4.5m preferably 4.8m for a shared cycle/traffic lane. Sorry to disappoint you but traffic engineers are not the demons you read about. Nobody builds a lane that wide for cars to drive in at least not in this country.

          2. mfwic, calling Austroads (especially before the most recent update) or anything derived from it ‘cycle standards’ is pretty far fetched. It was, and to a large extent still is, an infrastructure lobby sales pitch.

    3. That sounds a bit simplistic; if you put in marked cycle lanes in 4.8m you’d still only have a 3.0m traffic lane. Or the alternative option was to leave them at 3.0m and make them a 30km/h speed environment so that people cycling could also happily share them…

  7. One thing you don’t mention about the Brexit thingy is that although under 25s who voted, went 2-1 in favour of staying only 37% could be bothered getting off their arses to vote!
    That’s only half of the national turn out, and is a disgraceful outcome. I continually hear this refrain of, “It doesn’t matter if I vote”. Well it does!
    I would have voted to stay. The Irishman that I am wants to experience some schadenfreude but I can’t muster it. Too many people have been lied to.
    So all power to Generation Zero who are getting involved.

    1. I have to admit to being absolutely delighted at the outcome. The UK totally shafted us when they slithered into the EEC. If they go through 10 years of pain like we did then that is justice. Schadenfreude rules.

      1. It was really the EU (or EEC) that shafted us back then, they made Britain choose between trade with the continent and trade with others. Similarly it is the EU that may now shaft Britain. The EU are anti free trade; they use it as a bargaining chip to increase their power and influence. It will be interesting to see how much they are happy to shaft their own citizenry in order to shaft Britain (trade being naturally an activity that benefits both parties voluntarily engaging in it.)

      2. You actually blame the UK for prioritising trade with a continent of half a billion people located on their doorstep over trade with a tiny country of 4 million people on the other side of the world? Yeah, they deserve everything they get. Splitters!

        1. Nick of course I do. They were only too happy to use people from this country as canon fodder in their ridiculous wars and then when it suited them cast us off and impose trade barriers on us so they could enjoy preferential trade with the very people who caused those wars. Brexit is great entertainment. ‘For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?’ -Jane Austen

  8. Re the comparison between San Francisco and Altanta, it’s fine in SF if you have the money – but you need to earn twice as much to live.

    http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=United+States&city1=Atlanta%2C+GA&country2=United+States&city2=San+Francisco%2C+CA

    And the housing isn’t cheap – in fact some types are 600% higher in SF

    Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre 1,255.38 $ 8,883.70 $ +607.65 %

    The commuting times are about the same – around 30 mins. Prob both still better than Auckland.

  9. “Cars have killed 550 peds/bikers in the last 2 hours”

    Yet we still have massive numbers of cyclists running red lights and dodging in and out of traffic like there’s no tomorrow. Slightly over the half the deaths are the fault of the cyclist, so the figures musn’t worry them too much. Tragic.

    Stupid kills.

    1. Oh please. Over 60% of motor veh vs cyclist fatals in NZ had the driver at fault (or partial fault) and the figure for injury crashes is closer to 70%. The only demographics where cyclists were more likely to be at fault are the under 15s (not surprising – they’re kids) and the over 65s (usually related to impairment).

      Don’t believe everything you read about cyclist “red light running” either; the rate is not “massive” and much of it is either going with the pedestrian headstart, or left-turn-on-red, which is currently being considered for legalising here. Not as dangerous as all of those “late late orange” red-light runners in cars so evident everywhere.

      1. When someone on a bike ignores a signal there’s usually good reason, ie it’s a way to actually be safer, after all they are the vulnerable one on the road, if they do it and put themselves at risk, then what? Darwin award, right?

        Essentially, every city get’s the riders it deserves; one with nowhere for them to ride gets 1. very few riders, and 2. very resourceful ones.

    2. “we still have massive numbers of cyclists running red lights and dodging in and out of traffic like there’s no tomorrow”

      Citation needed. One anecdote against the other though: here in Hamilton I estimate that 80% of motorists able to safely stop at an amber light are not doing so, and that fewer than 20% of cyclists on the road are running red lights in any form.

  10. That ‘Geography and Land Use Policy’ quote above is very very good.

    ‘In these cities and elsewhere, such policy shows up in the form of numerous mundane, local rules, like zoning for single family homes and minimum parking requirements. It also shows up in the form of stricter qualifications for the approval of new projects, e.g. placing the fate of projects in the hands of hyper-local authorities which are less attuned – to put it mildly – to cities’ broad regional housing needs.’

    Bang on.

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