Auckland is congested and unless something disastrous happens, physically or economically, it always will be. Unfortunately, congestion is something that comes part and parcel with an attractive, successful and growing city. There is no silver bullet that will suddenly make our roads the free flowing drivers paradise like we see in the car commercials. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things we can do to alleviate it.

A large part of our problem stems from there simply being too many cars with a single occupant in them. It’s not that Aucklanders are any more addicted to their cars than people in other cities around the world but that in most cases, they lack viable alternatives but to drive. For example, bikes are often the fastest option available but most people don’t feel safe riding on our roads while public transport is often slower than driving on congested roads. As a result, when the roads are congested, most people are affected.

One thing we can do is to provide better alternatives to make them a more viable choice for everyday Aucklanders. The roads might still be congested but fewer people overall will be affected. In some cases, like the City Rail Link, that will require large, expensive infrastructure projects, but in most cases the best value opportunities come from getting more out of our existing road network. Bike and bus lanes help to achieve that. This is the essence behind the what many of our strategy documents call “Make better use of existing networks”. But that’s easier said than done and it can be very hard to make progress on providing better alternatives. People often say they want things to change, as long as that change doesn’t impact them in any way – this applies to both positive and negative changes. This has been evident most recently with the increasing levels of animosity towards new bike and bus lanes, especially when that animosity is stoked by our media outlets.

Last Friday, Simon Wilson wrote a superb piece in the herald talking about the positive value of cycleways. Among the many good points he made, he noted:

Auckland is rebuilding itself, reinventing itself in the process, and our local politicians and their officials are displaying too little of the boldness, vision and political skill, and too much of the fear.

Almost as if on cue, unable to let Wilson’s piece go unanswered, other writers at the paper have responded to try and ratchet up the rhetoric. First up we Bernard Orsman who claims that anger against cycleways is growing – the headline was later updated to include bus lanes too.

The main thrust of his piece is focused on ‘bikelash’ against bike lanes on Karangahape Rd. He focuses on owners of a bakery in St Kevins Arcade and writes:

“It’s almost as if they have gone insane with this idea of cycleways and forgotten it’s thousands of little businesses like this who pay rent, pay tax, pay rates,” says Philippa Stephenson, whose Tart vegan bakery has a pop up shop in St Kevins Arcade.

Philippa and husband Paul Stephenson are what Waitemata councillor Mike Lee refers to as not reactionary or anti-cycling and part of probably the most progressive, avant garde set in the country.

The couple are up at 3am baking bread and their customers’ favourite pies – “meat pies with no meat in them” – for delivery from their main business in Grey Lynn to St Kevins Arcade.

Since AT removed three of the five loading zone parking spaces and on-street car parks near the arcade between Christmas and New Year, it takes the Stephensons several drives around the block to find parking to make the delivery. “It’s just insanity,” says Philippa.

“Consultation has been lip service,” says Chris Fowlie, who manages the Hemp Store on K Rd.

The end goal is fantastic, says Fowlie, who is worried that years of disruption from the cycleway, City Rail Link and light rail will bankrupt independent stores, lure mainstream brands and change the character of K Rd.

Michael Richardson, manager of the Karangahape Road Business Association, says AT are looking to mitigate the loss of parking but the association is sticking with the stance of withdrawing support for the project.

He says K Rd is a progressive community that supports cycle lanes, but not if it means the loss of parking that retailers depend on. An action group with the slogan ‘Don’t Kill K Rd’ has argued for alternative routes for the cycleway and circulated a petition signed by about 130 businesses.

There are couple of interesting things to break down here, starting with the last point.

Prior to the consultation last year, AT studied the issue of parking and found that just 17% of people arrived at K Rd by car and only 2% parked on K Rd with all saying they’d still visit if they couldn’t park on the street. That’s not surprising. I wonder how many actually drive to the area expecting to get a park. Orsman made no mention of this even though Leroy Beckett from Generation Zero mentioned it.

Yesterday the owners of the bakery have now claimed that they weren’t complaining about cycleways at all but the issue of loading zones. Although that doesn’t fit with the first quote about AT going insane with cycleways. What is also not clear is why, in their particular case, they’re not using Poynton Tce,

A couple of other things, the removal of some of the existing loading zones isn’t due to the cycleway work but other works to allow double deckers to use the road double deckers but prevent them from hitting shop awnings. Just yesterday AT launched a consultation to see how they can maximise parking in options for the area as part of the upgrade, including loading zones.

But Orsman didn’t stop there, including complaints about bike and bus lanes from business owners from Dominion Rd, Mt Albert, Mt Eden, Northcote and West Lynn / Westmere. Many of those complaints are not new and a common claim is that AT aren’t listening or that consultations are a sham. AT are far from perfect but I think the opposite is happening in most of these situations. I think in many cases, local businesses (and residents associations) have become used to complaining and getting their way. What we’re actually seeing now though is more people getting involved and responding to consultation. For example in the case of Mt Eden, AT are saying that early indications are that 70% of people support their proposal.

By omitting facts and only really telling one side of the story I think all we end up with is more resentment on all sides. Business owners/associations feel more resentment towards AT and the process, cyclists resent that their right to health and safety is not considered by others and bus users resent that one person wanting to park their car is considered more important than multiple full buses. All up this is pretty typical of what we’ve seen from Orsman in recent years, especially during the Unitary Plan discussion

Not content with letting Orsman have it all, Mike Hosking jumped in on the action, claiming that debates about a sugar tax are proof that bikes and PT will never work. What is perhaps the most ironic is him saying that the debate needs to be fact-based while not presenting a single fact in the piece.

What’s gone wrong in these debates is the dishonesty. Nothing wrong in new ideas, different approaches, nothing even wrong in the passionate preaching their particular form of wisdom.

But it has to be fact-based and honest and too often these days and the New Zealand initiative work on the sugar tax shows it.

If you can’t win on fact, you start to gild the lily, twist the stats and bend the truth. And if you’re not busted, we then run the risk of implementing things that cost a fortune for no return – all because a small clique got obsessed and lost sight of reality and the truth.

Here are a couple of quick facts Mike. There are plenty more we can provide and they can be easily verified.

  • PT use continues to grow strongly, above population growth.
  • Use of trains has doubled in just 4 years to over 20 million trips annually.
  • Now, fewer than 50% of people entering the city centre every morning peak do so in a car
  • Bike use has continued to grow strongly. Now over 9.4% of inbound traffic on Upper Queen St is people on bikes.
  • Cycle counters recorded a 6.2% increase in cyclists over the last year.

Auckland is making progress and we expect will continue to do so but it’s clearly going to be a battle all the way along.

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132 comments

  1. “Auckland is congested and unless something disastrous happens, physically or economically, it always will be. ”

    Come on Matt why do you have to say that while road pricing is being advanced?

    Other than that quibble, good take down of these pathetic stories. I’m becoming convinced that Mike Howling at al are now just cynically trolling for clicks. Their not even trying to come up with defensible arguments.

    1. Road pricing should take the edge off congestion but it’s unlikely to remove it completely. It’s also being looked at about making journey times reliable, not fast

      1. Also, haven’t they found that in London with their city centre charge, they have to keep on increasing it to keep up the positive effect?

        1. Dynamic tolling in the US has shown remarkable stability in peak prices over time, including downward movement in periods like the immediate aftermath of the GFC, when road demand went down. It comes down to having a clear outcome for the pricing methodology to achieve and the freedom to set and vary prices accordingly.

      2. Road pricing can basically get rid of chronic congestion. It is inefficient to run a system with “free flow” conditions and I think this is what you are getting at. What this means is we wont have 100kph on the motorways. But an efficient system will have motorway speeds at 60 or 70 kph, not 20kph.

  2. As for Northcote Point. There has always been heaps of angle parking just across the road from the cafe. The traffic queues have always been long – they are because of SOVs queuing to get on the motorway and are unaffected by the road works. People being scared off by narrowed lanes – seriously wtf does that even mean?

    1. I live on Queen St in Northcote point. I’m pro cycleway, but what is ridiculous is how long AT and their contractors have taken to build the cycleway. They started in August last year, and there are still sections of unfinished kerb and channel – not bits that need a touch up, but bitts they ripped last year and haven’t sorted yet.The footpath section outside our place was dug up 3 or 4 times before they decided that they’d got it right. The retaining wall by Grumpy Cafe was finished about 3 weeks ago and they still haven’t finished the asphalt or removed the fencing.

      I don’t care about the parking or the disruption to that cafe (which isn’t open on a Sunday anyway, WTF), but whats really annoying is that the cycle lane has been laid, but not painted, or signposted or otherwise delimited, meaning all the locals are parking on what will be the cycle lane, and they’ve had 3 or 4 months now to get good and used to that behavior, meaning they’ll all probably park on it when its finished anyway. AT said they have no intention of curbing (hehe) this behavior until the project is finished.

      1. What they did to Te Atatu Rd was even worse. It was as if they set a goal of bankrupting every business with an open building site and almost nobody working there.

      2. AT doesn’t seem to have minimal disruption as part of their brief. And I think the culture in AT is just that parking is to be allowed, despite the rules and despite the complaints. Complainants are sidelined. 6 cars parked on the verge on Meola Rd yesterday in a space of 200m.

        Is it incompetence? I suspect it’s about wanting to be seen to be on the side of people who want to park, because they are the ones in construction or business, or are the everyday people “like me”. Problems in Warkworth’s Queen St too:

        https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/rodney-times/101721998/no-parking-amid-ongoing-construction-in-warkworth

        Warkworth’s problem wasn’t a bikelane. Nor a buslane. The common threads with all this is the problem of parking, and no requirement on AT to minimise disruption during construction.

      3. Yeah fair enough it does seem to take a very long time, it is possible for even NZ contractors to do this stuff a lot quicker.

        1. It would just be good if AT could get people used to the projects final configuration before its finished. By allowing people to get used to parking on the cycleway before its finished sets them up for an enforcement battle later – which will upset both people parking on the cycleway and the cycleway users.

          1. I can provide the paint. But more to the point, do we need some sort of ombudsman to sort out the bureaucratic crap stopping enforcement? I mean, I know declining civilisations get more and more cumbersome and inefficient, but Mobula is right. It feels like we “can’t even grow a choko up a dunny wall”.

      4. The time it takes AT to do ANY project is ridiculous. I cannot begin to think why everything happens in sub slow motion but when there is no one to answer for the slowness, then there is no incentive and no one who should, at AT, cares.

        Just wait until the big spend up on Lincoln Rd starts, it will be a nightmare there for years! The small part of Te Atatu Rd they renovated took 3 or so years at least.

      5. Re AT not enforcing cycleways until they are finished – this is a particular issue as the legal process to get new parking regulations in place is a horrid bureaucratic wet dream which often takes 3-6 months longer than the actual project (!). And until they are “legally resolved” as it is called, any person ticketed for parking who fights the ticket can get off easily, because its not “legally illegal” to park there, so to speak. Even if signs and markings are already in place.

        1. Thanks for the info. In Northcote they have built a Copenhagen lane and have not provided any signage even encouraging people not to park on it. There is no signage it is a cycleway. They should either cone off until they have the signs and markings done, or at least put up some temporary “please don’t park here” signs.

      6. Mobula, if you operated a business that has been as badly affected as Billy’s café or the other Queen St establishments for months, you’d have a right to feel aggrieved and would probably be praying for a miracle on Sundays.

        Three comments re the cycle path:
        What was once a residential street has now been converted into an industrial strip that quite possibly represents the worst of urban design. The transformation will be complete when all the signage and road markings go in.

        Recycling bins will periodically line the cycleway instead of cars as the pickup trucks can’t reach over the full width of recent changes.

        Lastly, but most seriously is that the central refuge at the Stafford/Queen/ Rodney/ Vincent intersection has been removed which is now DAANGEROUS. There’s no longer a halfway safe place to avoid speeding cars (the raised table has not slowed most traffic, including an AT vehicle which I recently observed while sitting outside at Billy’s). Pedestrian crossing or accident waiting to happen? This is no bashup: Listen up and take responsibility AT.

        1. “What was once a residential street has now been converted into an industrial strip that quite possibly represents the worst of urban design. ”

          Which Queen Street are you talking about. Queen Street in Northcote was a residential collector road is now a residential collector road which is safe to cycle on.

          I completely agree that local residents and business are right to feel aggrieved that a project took so long. They aren’t right to be aggrieved that people can now safely use the road on a bicycle.

        2. Hi Shard, A few questions:

          Yes, rubbish bins lining the footpaths or the cyclelanes is a problem in many places, and I don’t think AT and Council are coordinating here. My query is – you mention recycling bins only – are the bins for landfill waste dealt with differently because they’re smaller or because it’s a different truck that can reach further?

          What did you mean by industrial – is there industry there, or were you meaning something else? Barren? What happened – were there trees removed or berms reduced? Or is it just a different look?

          Pedestrian crossing: do you mean they took away a refuge, replaced it with a raised table, and didn’t install a pedestrian crossing? If so, then AT, cut the crap. Put in pedestrian crossings and do whatever you need to do regarding enforcement, to get drivers to respect them.

    2. Matthew, agreed there have been 12 angled spaces on Rodney Rd for years, but AT have added another 10 angled spaces because of this cycle path. Apparently, this is just 1 more car space than could be parallel parked. Residents have proved It’s dangerous and unnecessary to AT (one car written off, cars backing blindly into speeding traffic that yes, includes SUVs) but AT have yet to respond to common-sense feedback and petitions.

      The traffic queues have increased significantly since the works started over 6 months ago, because the Queen St left lane is unavailable for Onewa Road traffic jumpers who now take any route they legally can and illegally can’t through the neighbourhood.

      “People scared off….” I would take to mean business customers are avoiding the extended roadwork chaos.

          1. I imagine it *can* be dangerous when traffic speeds are high or there are cyclists about? Can you give details?

          2. Dangerous when active users are travelling/encouraged to travel very close behind. Dangerous at higher speeds. Dangerous where allowing a buffer behind results in large undefined areas of tarmac.

            Generally they are pretty good where most users are expecting a high turnover and therefore slow down.

          3. Thanks. The buffer bit is interesting, isn’t it? So they basically don’t work for cyclists, except for cyclists who claim the lane in that particular environment. No ticks for “interested but concerned” demographic.

          4. Interested but concerned already cycle in places where they have to claim the lane and always will (quiet residential streets). The question is whether that road, with angle parking is somewhere that all people on bikes are willing to claim the lane.

            @Raewyn are you proposing that we buy and demolish every single house on one side of Queen Street so that we can build a cycleway there? I don’t think that would be a very popular option and it would be the only way to build a fully off road shared path which could reach the homes and shops on Queen Street. Here are some good examples of cycle lanes that are safe and don’t need $100m worth of property purchase:
            https://www.bikeauckland.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Triangle-Road-Examples.jpg
            http://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Ilam-Road.jpg
            https://www.bikeauckland.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bottom-bus-stopped.jpg
            https://i2.wp.com/www.christchurchdailyphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/2016-01-04-12.16.jpg?ssl=1

          5. Obviously, if cycleways were wherever possible away from main streets, they’d be safer.

            This may be done carefully, and without any drama.

            Wherever possible cycleways need to be through parks, alongside small side streets, along behind properties which border motorways and train tracks. Safety and speed are important.

            The appalling designs now are not workable in many cases, and causing extraordinary trouble, also, barely any cyclists use them around here (Grey Lynn, inner city, Mt Albert, St Lukes Road, Westmere)…. If I cycled, I would not use them either, they are life-threatening, many of them. Not engineered at all really.

            We need safe, properly planned cycleways, and to stop this other insane, unplanned and badly engineered behaviour, pronto.

          6. If it’s via back, “quiet” streets how do you propose I get to the local supermarket (in the centre of our local village), library or the shop there? Risk my life an limb every time I’m forced to share the lane with cars? The cycleways must go to those places, exactly the same way you wouldn’t expect a road to bypass a local village. I can definitely imagine a network of local quiet streets and arterials with dedicated cycleways converging in a local village.

          7. it shouldn’t be “wherever possible” it should be “where people want to travel from/to”. That includes all local points of interests. I do not understand why the cycling paths should be shunted to backstreets. Most cyclist wants to get from A to B in the shortest and safest manner. Backstreets doesn’t generally satisfy the first requirement.

          8. Personally, safety matters to me and my family more than sight-seeing.

            Safety on a bicycle should matter to cyclists.

            Why wouldn’t you want a safe way to travel?

            At least think of children’s safety if you do not care about your own, and care about other people’s safety. Why should they be put in danger?

          9. I’m glad you aren’t involved in the design process. You have it exactly backwards about the safety and level of use of the off road cycleways that we have recently constructed.

          10. Raewyn, can you post a map of where you’d put the cycleways to enable cyclists to access the amenities of Northcote? If you can’t put together a map of off-road cycleways, then we need to include on-road cycleways. Disconnected paths “wherever possible” is consigning this transport mode to failure. Why would you do that?

          11. I’ve lived and travelled all over the world.

            There are places where the cycleways are safe and off to the side and also, beautifully connect with other cycleways which have to be on a road. These are all well engineered, finely done, no trouble, all over the world, in some of the 27 countries I’ve visited anyway.

            That is what I mean, well designed and engineered cycleways respecting people’s lives. Experts are paid by us to do this, they need to do the work.

            Why wouldn’t you want that?

            I’m out of this rather odd thread now. Good bye.

            I shall keep on saying to Auckland Transport and the council, “Do make sure the cycleways are safe so people will use them. Do make sure everyone in this city has their transport needs met. You are the trained, highly paid people, experts, please do your job properly.”

            Please, make council and AT do their job properly. Tell them so.

          12. Bye Raewyn, It’s nice to have discussed this. To others reading: Raewyn described what most of us are wanting, and I think the paths through parks will be easy enough to provide. To provide the rest, do we want to:

            – find the space required by buying up a mesh of 4 m wide bands of property across town? Could be a tad pricey. Maybe, say, bankrupt-the-city pricey. Or

            -reallocate road space to provide the network cyclists need? Given that the road space is everyone’s, but has been unfairly allocated to cars for all these decades, this seems the most equitable option, as well as the only practical one.

          13. I honestly think this is he most disingenuous input I’ve ever seen on this page. What blatant concern trolling.

  3. There are legitimate concerns around 1) AT project delivery times (You try having massive fences up outside your business for years at a time) and 2) businesses simply can’t survive with no foot traffic and no customers for that long.

    I wonder if some are trying to link cycleways with gentrification in that regard.

      1. Probably need to start using full road closures more often and more 24-hour working even in residential areas. It seems like taking a hit for a couple of days with limited to no access would be far better than dragging out issues for months.

        I also have to wonder in these stories about the businesses assumed right to passing trade and the utter lack of resilience in their business models – roadworks/ upgrades are not a new phenomenon and any temporary impact from them should have been taken into account as part of their business plans. There also never seems to be any proof that many businesses which suffer during roadworks were actually doing well before hand – its a huge assumption to assume roadworks are putting businesses under where it could just as likely be the tipping point which sends an already struggling business under.

        Perhaps to counter this we just move to a model where AT provides some compensation/ rate rebate during works to ensure cash-flow is maintained from any temporary loss of passing trade on the proviso we also implement windfall/ land value uplift taxes/ rates at the completion of works to recoup a) the cost of the works and b) the compensation paid out to businesses.

  4. Good work Matt.

    But you-plural need to front to the mainstream media more.
    I appreciate that you have day jobs.
    But Grey Lynn came close to a full Dunedin meltdown due to a mere handful of activists.
    K’Road is going to go the way of filthy compromise unless there are full mainstream counters – particularly to tv.

    AT is in quite a cycling tangle at the moment on a number of fronts, and AC Councillors are not far behind.

    AT are not going to win unless they have an army of support to counter opposition – and, block by block –
    the regrettably the fate of the city rests on it.

      1. A number of proposed Dunedin cycleways were either scaled back or simply scrapped in 2016 and 2017 following widespread public opposition.

      2. Full Dunedin meltdown = half an Island Bay cock-up fiasco. Some seriously nutty people down there. Sprinkling tacks on the cycleway to stop cyclists using it. Infantile, psychotic lunacy.

    1. I suspect AT are not going to make progress until the Cycling and Walking Team start getting support from the other silos.

      1. The New Lynn to Avondale cycleway parallel to the rail line has taken six years of planning and they have now decided to re-tender the entire thing. Which means it will not be finished until 2020 at the earliest.

        That route would have opened up much of New Lynn, Avondale, Blockhouse Bay, Glen Eden and Sunnyvale to the SH16 cycleway into town.

        In that time the entire CBD of Auckland will have been transformed from SH18 offramp to Wynyard Wharf.

        1. I’ve seen no press releases informing this.

          What is the reason behind the delay? Given that this cycleway’s design is complete and is mostly using the rail corridor, affecting very few.

  5. On the rare occasion that I have been in a car when visiting K Road, I have parked somewhere not on K Road, which anyone that regularly drives, cycles or buses along the strip will understand completely. It is not a great place for stopping.
    Sure businesses need a loading zone or two, but have they considered cargo bikes? Surely a reasonable amount of product could be moved?
    There are parking buildings very close to K Road.

    Personally I envision the great Karanga a hape with LRT down the middle, wide footpaths, cycle ways, and no cars, no motor vehicle traffic. A boulevard of international quality.
    What better for the cultural jewel of Tāmaki Makaurau?
    Hollow Who Cares Hosking will sink into the oblivion as those that pay attention to him submit to the fourth age. In the meantime the resistance must be strong.

  6. It’s really about having targets and priorities, but also a single approach to resolving those sorts of conflicts. AT seems to be easily swayed by a bunch loud protesters, when those that benefit the most stay quiet. That’s why the analysis should be more technical – any project should be evaluated in the same way, aligned with the same guidelines. Having a rulebook would help a lot here, all sides would know what the rules are.

    1. Yes, I had a phone conversation on Monday night with an active community organisation member from the West Lynn area. Her community organisation is pro-cycleways (they are all cyclists) and pro-environment. The conversation was about why they are not taking a stand on the West Lynn cycleway … and it came down to fear. They’ve decided to try to be positive and offer positive views rather than fight the local opposition. Because they don’t actually feel safe after being attacked verbally at community events.

      These are the people AT is wanting to be on the front line so that AT doesn’t get draggd through the mud. Super, all round.

    2. The problem with technical guidelines is that strictly following a book isn’t the best way to create the best solutions for varied contexts. It causes perverse outcomes in many cases and engenders a lack of imagination. Unfortunately, having loose standards without strong leadership means caving to the loud, which almost always is going to be at the expense of the greater community. It’s a tough pickle.

  7. The recurring theme regarding bikelash (or even buslash) seems to always point to one outcome. Loss of street side parking. Street side parking that is provided by rate payers for storage of private vehicles. Business operators continually get riled up that the street directly outside their street can no longer be used for public parking, despite the fact that prior to this anyone could park there for whatever reason (and within the time limits). This is based on a disproval theory that customers only drive and won’t anywhere if they can’t get a park directly outside (or within 50 metres walk).

    If businesses believe their model relies on parking for survival, their business model is a failure to begin with. Their business relies on customers, not their cars, and customers come in a range of transport – ultimately at any point 100% of them enter premises by foot. Alternatively mixing parking on busy arterial routes (such as New North Road in Mt Albert) is hardly inviting and becomes very unpleasant as a pedestrian. Retailers thrive when they locate themselves in destinations, not thoroughfares.

    1. And yet at the same time AT have brought back minimum parking rates in the inner CBD, this time for bikes. We haven’t had minimum parking rules in the inner CBD since the mid 1980’s. Now if someone tries to convert space to a shop an idiot from AT will say “where is your cycle parking?”. The applicant will point out there isn’t any as the building is built right out to the street frontage so of course there is no space for bike parking. Then they provide an assessment against the assessment criteria to not provide cycle parking, which usually points out that the rules are not a true reflection of actual effects (someone just made the rules up). The AT response to the Council planner is then “We think they should provide it”. Without fessing up to the fact someone pulled these rules out of their butt. A competent planner at the council should then dispense with the requirement. What a waste of time.

      1. I’d consider it a bit of ‘affirmative action’. Relatively speaking there is heaps of car parking around; the same can’t be said for bike parking (unless you count every traffic pole…)

  8. The MSM are the real failure here. Granny Herald in particular has dumbed itself down to little more than a gossip mag with some agency news. They do Akl a great disservice by abrogating their responsibility to do in-depth balanced analysis of the very real issues facing the city. Unfortunately they’ve decide outrage sells and is more profitable than journalism.

    1. Yes. The NZ Herald had deteriorated to tabloid quality, but when they brought in the system where “journalists” will be paid for “articles” that meet an advertiser’s requirements (particular words must be included a certain number of times, etc), that was the end for me. I don’t even read it online.

    2. I had a good chuckle to the recent news the NZ Herald will be putting a paywall around the “premium content”. How much will people pay for one decent article every few weeks?

  9. I feel sympathy for the couple from Tart who felt misrepresented. What a way to enter the world of bikelash and the media. Having said that, their business model has to change. You can’t expect to have a shop in a high density area, making use of that high customer count, and also expect to be able to just roll up when you want and offload baked goods as if it is a low-density area. D’oh. I would expect an inner city area like this to have great amenity for people, deliveries using loading zones scheduled amongst the businesses, and plenty of use made of hand-trucks to bring goods from the ample parking a little further away.

    1. Kind of like how it works in a mall. Council’s seem to wonder why their old centres drag along the bottom while malls succeed. If they managed shopping centres the way malls are managed then they would be on a winner. You need anchor tenants, the little shops subsidise the anchors and the anchors bring in the customers. You need and easy walk from one end to the other and back without traffic including cars, buses and bikes charging through. You need loading spaces since everything that is sold has to arrive somewhere. Finally you need parking, lots of parking, with an easy walk to the pedestrian area.
      You will never ever see a mall owner removing pedestrian and amenity space to provide a couple of bus lanes and some bike lanes right through their retail frontage. The difference is the mall owner gets paid if the shops succeed. AT get paid regardless.

      1. Except most of our old centres are on arterial roads where the road space is in high demand. Other countries seem to be able to have shops on the side of the road without dedicated parking, but I guess Auckland is special?

      2. The mall model relies on customers arriving by car, which is why there is lots of parking. When will we see safe footpaths and cycleways to shopping malls? Try walking or cycling to St Lukes when it is busy — it’s obvious what group of customers are the most important.

        1. The mall model also involves car users walking great distances from large parking lots, more than they’d walk if they were to stop in a local shopping precinct and only had to park around the corner (instead of on the main strip).

          Cycling to St Luke’s, agreed, is not every good. The northern section of the road has protected cycle lanes but the southern section, which services the mall, is a four lane thoroughfare. No parking but also a very narrow footpath. The Wagener Place intersection is also one big clusterf*ck

      3. If only K Road had some sort of loading facility that accessed the properties directly. Maybe from the rear so they can bring products straight in.

        Maybe we could call these service lanes and have acess to every shop from behind.

        Maybe one to the north and another to the south, with access, loading zones and carparking.

        Maybe we could call one Poynton Terrace, and the other one Cross Street.

        Hell, maybe they could even build a huge parking building on one of them for the general public?

        Damn, they could even put in a couple of skybridges and link the parking building straight into the shopping street?!

        …if only.

        1. And it worked. Right up to the point where the anchor tenants failed and became apartments, the Council sold off the public parking to a private company who can make more out of it as commuter spaces, one of the sky bridges was closed and the customers all figured stuff this we will go somewhere that is being managed in a way that works for me.

          1. That’s obviously why this businesses are struggling so much. We all know that CBD retail is failing and there are no customers walking past shops /sarc.

          2. Karangahape Rd could and should be one of the best shopping areas in Auckland. It has the history of one of the finest shopping areas, it has the ridge, it has the right size block length and it has no shortage of people trying to give it a go. But successive Councils have mismanaged the area to the point where it is a collection of cheap convenience shops and cafes. Saying the rest of the CBD is successful is just poor advocacy where you are trying to obscure the point. The rest of the CBD has done well out of an increase in residents and tourists but it is not and probably never will be again the premier destination retail location for Auckland. In the specific case of Karangahape Rd, it has been shafted by previous Councils and now AT. We have to accept, and the retailers have to accept it is now just somewhere people pass through to get somewhere better.

          3. The main shafting event would be the construction of the central motorway junction?

            The parking buildings in the area has the interesting property that parking all day on a Monday is cheaper than parking for a couple of hours on a Sunday.

          4. I completely agree that K Road has been mismanaged. Although I’m guessing that we disagree on how it has been mismanaged, though! Needed 24/7 bus lanes and separated cycle lanes years ago. There are enough residents there and soon enough a rail and LRT station. it should be a fantastic location.

          5. Yep with all the apartments going in nearby and the underground train station, plus the plans for the LRT station on one side and the busway on the other… makes you wonder if the likes of Miffy are still thinking a decade or two in the past.

            The only thing that is missing is the streetscapes, pedestrian amenity, cycle lanes and bus provisions. If you aren’t concerned about speeding traffic through, or having people park on street, there is stacks of room for everything, loading and servicing included.

    2. I don’t feel sorry for them. Where is the misrepresentation in this quote: “It’s almost as if they have gone insane with this idea of cycleways and forgotten it’s thousands of little businesses like this who pay rent, pay tax, pay rates”

      Lets face it, they are quite obviously anti cycle ways, and quite stupid to think airing that in the Herald was a good idea. How many times do we need to hear: “I love cycleways – but…”

      1. The misrepresentation is in the lack of context.

        I’m willing to bet money that they believe the removal of loading zones is enabling works for the cycleways on K Rd and that they mean “It’s almost as if [AT] have gone insane [around the construction] of cycleways “

      2. Yes, I’ve heard that so many times I wish I could vomit on demand.

        Still – verbal interviews are scary. It’s easy to say something that parrots what others are saying, then reflect and think “Why did I say that?” They could have said 100 things pro-cycling, correcting and balancing their statements whenever they didn’t quite like what came out as you would normally in a conversation. But the journalist had an angle and only statements supporting that angle were going to be used.

        If the owners of Tart want to make amends, there are some clear actions to take now: Figuring out a way to run their business in the new environment, and publicising their successes. Talking to AT to show their support for the cycleway. Providing cycling infra – even if it’s only a place to hang your helmet and a tap that fits a water bottle under it easily. And most importantly, talking to the other business owners and the business association and bringing some positive fresh thinking to their regressive opposition.

        1. Perhaps a short stint in a re-education camp while you’re at it? Maybe they should be forced to walk up and down K’Rd with a sign around their neck saying “I am a small business owner who didn’t give unwavering support for a cycleway”?

  10. “If businesses believe their model relies on parking for survival, their business model is a failure to begin with.”
    Um except for all those businesses that rely on parking and have been making a good go of it for years. The real lesson to businesses is they simply can’t trust AT to look after their interests the way the previous Council did. Their only real choice is close up shop and relocate to somewhere they control the parking themselves. Time to give up on old style strip shopping. It worked well for years but now it is stuffed, at least in Auckland.

    1. They made a good fist of it for years, but when things change, you need to adapt. The change from lower density and/or high car priority environment to a higher density and/or high people priority environment requires businesses to adapt. They don’t need to leave if they’re not controlled by a franchise agreement or some other externally-mandated business model.

    2. “they simply can’t trust AT to look after their interests” – because AT shouldn’t be looking after business owner’s interests at the expense of cyclists / buses / etc in a city where traffic congestion is the number two issue.

      1. Every street has an access function. In their case the cafe needs to load in somewhere and if AT take that away in favour of some people who pass through, then they have been let down. Traditional shopping centres mostly survived the 1970s and 80s traffic engineers who wanted additional traffic lanes everywhere because the shop keepers had recourse to their Council. The new model of AT as an arm’s length CCO means the current crop of road wideners and parking removers get a free hand. The question is do you want these streets to be nothing but a conduit to somewhere else or do you want them to be interesting places?

          1. Those car parks should absolutely be made into loading zones instead.

            Btw, miffy, you do realise there is a position between ‘these businesses are stupid, they should be transporting goods by bus’ and ‘AT are stupid, all parking and driving amenity must remain’, right? That position is bike lanes are better for society overall, these businesses need to adjust how they operate to accommodate that. Part of this change might be to make the bus lanes 7am to 7pm with loading only outside of those hours. That solution allows cyclists to not die and allows businesses to take goods deliveries.

          2. I walk past those cars every day and those parked cars are technically on dotted yellows – the leaves are hiding the lines. there used to be a sign which has either been destroyed or taken down, not sure which (only the pole remains). people park there all the time, despite the lines, although I’ve also seen parking officers there intermittently – if i got a ticket I’d have a good case for challenging it, so would park there freely with that knowledge. So basically, Poynton Tce is a mess and needs sorting out for various reasons. However, given this mess, there is AMPLE opportunity for TART to take advantage and do their unloading and transport up to the shop within the arcade and they should stop moaning about k-road parking.

            However, as everyone else has said, once works begin on a project, businesses are correct in being aggrieved at the time it takes to complete, and the lack of support from AT.

    3. Good comments mfwic. AT can’t be trusted, because they can’t be held to account and have zero incentive to change.

      All these people saying “just adapt” don’t have huge mortgages, working 80hr weeks trying to keep a business afloat. Of course they need to adapt, but no amount of adaption can handle half your foot traffic thinking you are closed because of roadworks.

      The fact remains that a fair number of businesses have gone under directly because of AT projects taking forever and diverting traffic away. These are people’s lives being destroyed.

      1. I think the fact that most people’s money is tied up in over-inflated housing costs means it’s important to respect the realities of what roadworks do to a business. And for me, the fact that a business was struggling “anyway” isn’t an argument. The most robust businesses are probably mainstream; the businesses I often want to support because of their values are often “struggling”.

        When I say businesses need to adapt, I’m meaning they need to adapt to a changed everyday situation. I think AT have to work far harder at minimising disruption due to any roadworks.

        Knocking “cycleways” because of roadworks has the effect of diverting the pressure on AT to minimise any roadworks disruption into pressure on AT to halt its cycleway programme. Some activists are milking this effect, as it harnesses the energy of the community who feel aggrieved but haven’t seen the big picture.

        Because having money tied up in mortgages on overly expensive housing reduces the available capital for investing in family businesses, any transport initiative that allows us to make a more compact city should be valued.

  11. Hosking’s rant was a shocker, one of the worst pieces of journalism I have seen for a long time (and there are so many other bad pieces to compete with). Where is Jeremy Wells when you need him…

    1. I thought Hoskings article read exactly like Jeremy Wells had hacked his account and wrote a satirical piece to mock him.

      1. hosking isnt really a journo, more a privalleged white rich male with an opinion and unfortunately a dispropportionate delivery mechanism for its voicing.

        1. Luke, Hosking does not have opinions. He has prejudices that he demonstrates by expressing a reaction.
          His knee has got to be in need of a total rebuild by now.

  12. Any updates as to the status of laws regarding cycling on the footpath.

    My mind was blown at ten years old when I got told that riding my bike along the footpath was illegal.

  13. I empathise with the café owners. I bet they made one comment about cycling in the entire half hour conversation, but the Herald have managed to find six sentences from that half an hour that makes it seem like they hate cyclists.

    Journalism like this is why trust in the media is falling so far.

  14. You’re right that we need to marshal our arguments to continue to get buyin from people whose livings in an Amazon world seem threatened by every change to passing trade. Their support matters. The big thing is surely the elongated disruption that seems to arise from always going for the cheapest quote. Get enough people on the job and get it done faster. Dig up the street and finish it over a long weekend. The rest of it’s mosrly paint and signage.

  15. When working on town centre projects I am seeing comments like “these articles of the last few days in the papers” being used as excuses to argue for watering down bike provisions. Within the project teams. This kind of ranting has real consequences, as it provides cover for those who never wanted to see bikes in the first place to argue that they are just balancing “excessively cycle-friendly” schemes for the general populace etc…

  16. In Japan most pedestrianised street allows delivery trucks at early morning and late at the night.

    Why cant we allow cargo loading on bus lanes and cycle lane during off peak such as early morning and late night, when there is virtually no bus and cyclists?

  17. How many loading zones are around the back of the arcade, couldn’t see them with a quick look on Streetview, seemed to be mainly shops & residential perhaps. All else being equal I think the loading zones are perhaps been underdone a bit, especially if you consider any increase in commercial activity or intensity (which is what a cycleway or better bus access is partly meant to deliver). I also suspect courier companies are so short of time/under pressure due to congestion ironically that they are just going close, double parking and on paths etc to make up time or they are just lazy or ignorant of the other zones around back of places etc. Not sure which it is, not enough or genuine not using them properly.

  18. Can someone explain to me why the double decker bus drivers can’t simply be trained to not drive their buses into things?

    Why do we need to install the visual polluting rubber and plastic bumper bars all over the city?

    1. “Can someone explain to me why the double decker bus drivers can’t simply be trained to not drive their buses into things?”

      Because enough people die on our roads as it is. The road needs to be safe to use.

      1. That’s my point, if we can’t trust the drivers not to crash into buildings, how can we expect them to drive safely and not hit cyclists, pedestrians, other vehicles?

        My understanding is these things are in place to stop the drivers hitting shop awnings, is that not the case? They only appear to be in areas where there are shop awnings.

        1. I’d love to know whether you can accurately judge how far away, and how high a shop awning is. Seems like it would be a lot safer to just block the bit of lane to avoid all confusion. That way the driver can focus on not hitting pedestrians and cyclists.

          Eliminating a hazard is always safer than ‘educating’ someone to avoid it.

      2. The problem with the double deckers is that when you have a narrow lane that slants into the gutter and when you have a 7m(?) high vehicle, because of the slant it leans over the kerb into parts of buildings. It is a tricky problem.

    2. The main problem is the variable camber on the edge of roads greatly varies how much the bus overhands the footpath, and how likely it is to hit an awning. The street surface curves into the gutter, sometimes a lot more than in other places. with a 4.25m high vehicle a small variation at ground level can mean a very big deviation at the top.

  19. The cycleway is part of the K road master plan, very surprised to see the chair of K road business assoc U-turn from the previous incumbent.

    I do not believe this is all AT’s fault, even though they do have had recently poor route selections of recent cycle ways and not managed the design aspects or stakeholders adequately, which does not gather any future such momentum.

    I was made aware by hearsay that AT had a scheme design approved for 2 way cycleway with the business assoc and local board. In steps the Auckland Design Office who hijacked the project and insisted on a full street scape upgrade which was not on an long term plans and at the time around 3 years ago, K road has been upgraded less than a decade ago..

    From what I believe that the project then escalated 5-6 times the original budget and was pushed out a number of years. Although the ADO managed to get board sign off for the massive budget blow out!

    I believe the Auckland design Office was also responsible for Beach road stage 2 disaster!

    If the above statement has any validity it is cause for concern than non-elected member of government seeking kudos and making up projects on the fly and derailing committed project should be cause of an enquiry!

    Whilst most arguably the best corridor for a cycle lane on top of a natural ridge for and already very popular with cyclist miss out on such infrastructure and run the gauntlet daily, in terms of supporting cycling this is a travesty!

    1. Thanks Dave, this is an angle I know nothing about. Wouldn’t it be good if there was some investigative journalism in the mainstream media that actually exposed what was really going on? Looking forward to more comments about this from people in the know…

    2. I don’t know if that’s true either Dave but it sounds highly plausible. Unfortunately we’ll never know until someone is prepared to be a whistleblower.

      Imagine if that two way cycleway (presumably separated) had gone in 3 years ago. Road users and business owners would have made their adjustments by now and the public would be more accepting of an upgrade at this point. But as the Beach Rd cycleway debacle showed, some people within council want all the bells and whistles from Day 1, regardless of cost.

      A lot of the complaints from locals & business owners (across Auckland) about cycle lanes (across Auckland) are related to the disruption and time it takes to ‘build’ them. Why should it be so hard? Just do what they did in Quay St – strip out a lane and seperate it from vehicles with a curb or planter boxes. It seemed to work in Brooklyn and Manhattan, so why do we need all these ‘bespoke’ solutions across Auckland?

      1. Auckland Transport seem to want bespoke solutions so they may charge more money for them. One million dollars a kilometre, they need to pack the road furniture in there, move things about etc.

        Then too, I guess they charge even more to fix the terrible results.

        It all seems to be a way for them to make a lot of money, and cause us all a lot of grief.

  20. I hope no one here is involved with this – people going into a business struggling to make a living, and bullying them, because they found new, badly made cycleways have stopped them making a decent living?

    The police are looking for you, if so.

    1. Do you mean you hope no one here is from The Herald – interviewing a business that “totally, utterly 100% supports cycleways”, and bullying them by taking a conversation that “centred around … the Christmas/New Year shutdown period” and misrepresenting what they said? The business had “no idea they would use this story as an anti-cycleway article”, and added:

      “No one with a brain could object to a transport method that has so many obvious benefits. D’oh.”

      No, I don’t think there’s anyone here from the Herald, but bad as the journalism was, I don’t think the police are after them.

        1. “We know who you are and police are looking for you” – a phrase fully harking back to the days of the Stasi, well done. Pathetic comment Raewyn.

  21. In general with construction along business sites, I think smaller length bite sizes need to be done at a time (less efficient unfortunately).

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