A few of bike related things from recent days.
Lightpath turns one in just over a week (December 3rd) and in its first year has seen over 200,000 bike trips across its magenta surface. So the other day it was fantastic to hear that it had won the transport category of the World Architecture Festival, and it looks like it had some strong competition.
Awesome work from everyone who helped make this project a reality.
Next, I’ve noticed of the last few years there has been almost no coverage from the paper of many of the important transport transformations that have been underway. They’ve ignored changes like the roll out of electric trains, cycleways and the new bus network. So it was interesting yesterday to see a paid article in Herald from the council about transport. The article focused primarily on cycleways but also mentioned PT near the end.
I thought the more than a casual mention of paying people to cycle, even by employers, was an odd angle and certainly something I don’t think could even really be considered until after a more comprehensive network of safe protected cycleways have been rolled out. If we did start to move down that route though, we’d surely also want some way of expanding this to encourage kids to ride to school too.
Actually, a few quick back of the envelope calculations show it isn’t all that expensive either. According to Stats NZ, there are 210k people in Auckalnd between the ages of 10 and 19. If you could get an impressive 20% of them to ride an average of just 3km to school, then with around 190 school days a year it would only cost around $12 million annually. That’s peanuts compared to how much we spend on transport in Auckland as in the year to the end of June the NZTA and Auckland Transport combined spent over $1.4 billion on transport
I also thought the comment about keeping the number of cars arriving in Auckland constant but having additional growth taken up by other modes. While I’m not saying that even just maintaining the status quo is an easy thing to do, having that as a goal sounds remarkably unambitous. How different and more agressive would transport plans need to be if we set the goal of reducing car use, not just on a per capita basis but in real terms too.
The Tūpuna Maunga Authority has decided that in 2017 they’ll extend the ban on cars up the summit of Maungawhau/Mt Eden to five more mountains across Auckland. These are:
- Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill
- Maungarei/Mt Wellington
- Ōwairaka/Mt Albert
- Puketāpapa/Mt Roskill
- Takarunga/Mt Victoria
That will leave the mountains open for people on foot and bike, although they say automated barriers will allow those with limited mobility to drive up. One of the reasons given for this change is to improve safety for people who currently walk up the mountains and they say there has been an increasing number of near misses.