Thisis a few follow-up’s to some recent posts we’ve published.

Earlier in the week I commented on how cycling projects are now often much more than just bike lanes and the budget should perhaps instead be called the “safety-and-streetscape-upgrade-and-stormwater-fix-and-traffic-calming-and-pedestrian-improvements-and-retaining-parking-and-cycling budget“. Yesterday Auckland Transport got in touch and provided the below information on cycleway costs.

We are finding that cycleway costs are fitting into three broad categories-

  • Regional connections that generally have significant structural or geotechnical work required as they pass through the marine environment, need complex structures like underpasses or go through rough terrain. GI Tamaki, Skypath, NW Cycleway, New Lynn – Avondale are examples of these. Much like the investment required for our motorway network, these are our highest cost per km to build. These projects are costing $30-80m, or $7-10m per km.
  • Urban connections that include town centres. The approach that we are now taking with these is more akin to street upgrades, where we deliver bus, walking, cycling, safety improvements and to do these well generally requires significant utility improvements given that our utilities haven’t received investment in such a long time. We upgrade street lighting, storm water, ducting for electricity etc. And we are now trying to meet expectations of streetscape/placemaking. These sorts of changes are like Waitemata, KRd, Hurstmere Rd, Otahuhu- around $20m, and include minimal contributions from other programmes where the client is the cycling programme, but cost around $3m/km to deliver. Our [cycling] Programme Business Case recognised that and our sequencing is to align with other organisations like Panuku, HLC, and Council, who will fund much of the streetscape work and aligning our programmes should be much more cost effective for the cycling programme. The integrated corridor programme will also support this approach.
  • Traffic calming/speed management/greenways, much like our Herne Bay project where we are treating an area to reduce speeds and traffic volumes to create a safe environment to access key routes. These are around $1m/km and will treat much wider areas, and give great amenity for local communities. The speed management programme, now that is a priority for AT, will deliver significant improvements.

We’ve also made a number of comments in recent weeks about how AT needs to up its game on communications, especially around the need to start fixing our safety crisis. A key part of the process will be delivering strong, clear communication to the public. So, it’s worth giving some credit where it’s due for some good communications in recent days from AT’s CEO Shane Ellison on why changes are needed.

First up, on Monday the Herald published this letter from him

And yesterday, the council published this piece from Shane in their Our Auckland online magazine/news which goes further into the issue. Importantly it also goes a little bit into why Auckland has adopted Vision Zero and what it actually means.

Vision Zero is based on a principle that human life and health can never be traded for other benefits, such as journey travel times. We have to commit to becoming a Vision Zero organisation that puts safety at the heart of our business, where our transport ecosystem is safe for all users of our roads. Faster journey times will no longer be our predominant success metric.

Why aim for zero?

Vision Zero is aspirational.

International research shows that cities with bold visions backed by ambitious targets have achieved the greatest road safety outcomes. Without a bold vision, we can be captive to traditional thinking and methodologies that lead to only minor improvements in the status quo.

Achieving zero deaths and serious injuries is a challenge for all of us. We have to be more innovative and deliver solutions where the safety of all road users is the primary goal. We need to work closely with our partners and communities to face this challenge.

A simple driving error, or someone crossing a road while distracted, should not lead to death or serious injury. What is at stake is the happiness and welfare of our friends and whānau, and our fellow Aucklanders.

The piece includes this video of AT staff talking about safety improvements.

I think AT will need to keep repeating these messages for quite some time to get them to sink in to some segments of the wider public but they are a good start. Importantly they also set the right tone, that these changes will happen because they’re the right thing to do and that safety is not a negotiable. Of course, they’ll need to back up these words with action but it is a good start.

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  1. All commendable stuff, bold visions and ambitious targets is just what we need. Progress is excellent, amazing Cycleways at Avondale New Lynn.
    I can’t help thinking that Glen Eden town centre is proving just too difficult to manage and will need some serious $ to do the job properly grade separating the Glenview Rd rail crossing. Not a cycle lane to be seen there either.

    1. Just close Glenview Road, it would save everyone a lot of trouble. People driving to the town centre can park to the north and walk the last block, or if not they can go an extra couple of minutes round west coast road instead.

      1. Network, network, network. I’d love to say it would be as easy as that, but it would not be due to the nature of the surrounding grid (or lack of). It does need an alternative connection – there’s a spatial opportunity, but it needs scoping and designating asap.

  2. How do you have Vision Zero with the lowest common denominator driver licence system we have?

    Or even worse, people coming to NZ and driving on overseas drivers licences with no proof they even obtained that drivers license lawfully much less have the most basic of prerequisites to drive a vehicle?

    Aspirational goals become pointless platitudes like a politicians word when the basic fundamentals like driving skills or a lack thereof are not addressed. But a ton of money will be spent pretending otherwise.

    With a wishy washy version such as this Vision Zero, safety is negotiable!

    1. Do you have any scrap of evidence that your accusation is true? I’m not saying it isn’t true, I jsut want to know your source other than your anecdotal opinion. I do know we have plenty of nz born drivers with NO license having crashes. I do know we have nz born drunk drivers and drugged drivers with licenses killing people. They have stats on that.

      Doesn’t really matter if we don’t get to 0. Lives will be saved because of it. Using excuses is a cop out from doing something to deal with the problem. Sure, there are poor drivers out there from China or locals from Remuera. Doesn’t mean we should just give up.

      The main thrust is reducing speeds so that when crashes inevitably occur, we have fewer dead people.

      1. Our speeds, lack of enforcement and unsafe built environment are our big gaping holes at the moment, and need urgent attention, but Vision Zero works on many levels – driver education and vehicle safety are strong elements of it as well.

      2. So speed is the only issue and THE problem going by your anecdotal opinion. If you cop out on that alone, forget Vision Zero. My average journey in my car going by my trip computer is an average of less than 40 km/hr between tanks.

        Why is the ability to drive so inconsequential and possibly by your reckoning not real? Don’t worry about that, it’ll be fine, is that it?

        If people know how to drive and God forbid, know the road rules and observed them we will have fewer crashes, I promise. That facet of road safety is so underrated.

        1. I think you misunderstood me. I believe driver education is important. I’d probably support requirements for international drivers to be raised more than most would, here. And for ongoing testing for drivers. I also support schools offering driver training to their students, because many can’t achieve that through their families.

          I’m focusing on speeds at the moment because there’s an easier, cheaper way to fix the speed problem, and there’s a slow, drawn-out, expensive way that won’t be as effective. If we can get AT to choose the first way, that’ll save more lives more quickly, cost us less, and lead to Healthy Streets faster.

          But driver education is part of all of it; I don’t doubt that in the slightest. Internationally, Vision Zero cities are saying that more emphasis has been given to education than to the other tools, and that this needs to be righted. I think in Auckland the situation is a bit different; enforcement has been so poor that more education in shifting mindsets will be required perhaps more than elsewhere?

        2. Good job missing the point totally Waspman. It isn’t my anecdotal opinion. It is a statement of fact backed by years of safety data from all over the world. Google is your friend. Go and learn if you choose to, as opposed to making specious claims. Instant high-speed deceleration into something hard usually kills you.

          Drivers who think like you and think they are better drivers than everyone else and everyone else is the problem are statistically the problem. I’ve seen rates of up to 90% of drivers think they are above average.

          Your anecdotal opinion, not so much evidence there. It MAY be true, but there really isn’t that much evidence that crap drivers from Hong Kong are killing everyone on the roads and that if we deal with them, then suddenly all the people dying will stop happening. Ridiculous assertion with no evidence backing it.

          Sure, we can do stuff other than speed, but it is the elephant in the room we need to deal with. Why mess with window dressing and ignore the biggest problem?

        3. I’ll refrain from the abuse or your obsession with Chinese and Hong Kong drivers.

          Speed is a factor, I know that.

          If you want to concentrate on speed then the average speed of airbag deployment is always a good sign of a decent crash. The G force to set off an airbag is about 25 km/hr dependent on the deflection or lack of it. Or 12 -22 km/hr into a solid object. Or like dropping a car on its nose directly from a first floor of a building. Makes 30 km/hr a bit lethal doesn’t it? How fast is safe? Should we ban cars because they move?

          According to the NZTA “Fifty per cent of the deaths and serious injuries in the past five years are in cars older than 15 years,” These cars have far less safety features than newer cars. It is even possible the passive safety features may fail owing to age. Some Euro cars require airbags to be replaced every 10 years. Not in NZ though, we don’t care!

          “Twenty-six per cent of deaths and serious injuries are our youngest drivers – 16 to 24. Young people most tend to drive older cars as this is what they can afford. This is a perfect storm.

          Motorcyclists are at the mercy of car drivers and slow speed impacts or poor driving by another driver that means the bike loses control means it all ends just as bad.

          MOT facts (That Google thing you mention)

          From 2014 to 2016, speeding was a contributing factor in fatal crashes for 20 percent of car and van drivers, 37 percent of motorcyclists and 5 percent of truck drivers.

          Never licenced and disqualified drivers in fatal crashes are much more likely to be speeding (52 percent and 49 percent, respectively) than drivers with a full licence (13 percent). In other words they don’t care about the posted limit!

          Drivers in speed-related crashes are less likely to wear safety belts than drivers in crashes in which speed is not a factor. Between 2014 and 2016, at least 37 percent of the car and van drivers who died in speed-related crashes were not restrained at the time of the crash. Restraint use was not recorded for 23 percent of driver deaths, so the level of restraint use could be even lower than indicated.

          The point is ff you want Vision Zero to fail, stick with speed and not worry about “the other stuff”.

          If we prevent crashes by all means and not rest on speed, yes we will make a difference but most especially by either improving or getting rid of drivers who shouldn’t be behind the wheel in the first place.

        4. Speed is a huge issue. All drivers make mistakes, but when driving closer to edge of any of the folĺowing: the drivers abilities, their vehicle performance, the amount, in time, of clear vision ahead, and road and traffic conditions all of which are speed related, then the risk of accident is increased. But the effect of any accident is a function of the kinetic energy involved where doubling the speed gives four times the energy.
          We need to own up that the “need” for speed is not about saving time,
          It is an outlet for our competitiveness. Us against that blue car as we weave through the motorway traffic, Us against the clock, managed to get home in only 45 minutes today.
          This competiveness is core to the advertising of new cars on television, where even four wheel dive vehicles, are shown hurtling through absolutely stunning scenery. Being best to drive “on the edge” and is portrayed as the desirability, above safety, reliability, and cost of ownership. Fortunately a cultural change is already becoming evident in many urban youngsters to whom a car is becoming just an appliance. This change needs support.

    2. Waspman you are dead right.

      AT can try to build its way to road and pedestrian safety, but driver licensing and enforcement is in the hands of NZTA and it is pretty weak on it.

      NZTA’s legal team is under-resourced, the prosecutions are slow, and there’s little dedicated support from the NZPolice either.

  3. I recently got an update email about the Herne Bay improvements. They’ve made changes to the traffic calming measures to better achieve the target speed of 30 km/hr. The conclusion from the initial consultation was *NOT* to change the speed limit itself to 30 km/hr. I wrote back asking them to re-look at that decision in light of the new focus on safety. Haven’t heard anything back yet, but Shane, if you’re reading, that would be an excellent opportunity for Auckland Transport to “walk the walk” by combining traffic calming with an actual change to the legal speed limit.

    1. This is exactly what I’m referring to in my comment below. A Vision Zero organisation would use lowered speed limits. An organisation on the road to Vision Zero can just play with the idea.

    2. Did you read the feedback about the College Hill area changes? Where the cars are driving slowly (presumably because lower speeds are supported by the built environment) they won’t lower the speed limit because it’s not required – the cars are already slow. Where the cars are driving fast, they won’t lower the speed limit because it’s not supported by the built environment.

      And then there’s K’Rd – a case study in the back of the RASF. Which is entirely designed for lower speeds. But they won’t post lower speeds because lowered speeds weren’t in the project scope, and “decision-making around speeds sits at a strategic level”.

      Sounds like an organisation dragging its heels to me, and not taking opportunities to lower speed limits where they can… not exactly Vision Zero.

      1. Whatever AT do, they must have the consent of the community to do it. Some AT safety champion waffling in visions of grandeur about 30 km/hr speed limits being the promised land is very unconvincing and not great PR.

        If their vision of zero is slowing Auckland down, precisely when we have a fuel tax rather begrudgingly being handed over by motorists at the pump, that is supposed to free traffic up with alternatives to cut down commute times, then AT are on an absolute hiding to nothing and people will simply not buy in. That non buy in will translate to reality at election time, local or central.

        1. The media hates safety changes before they come. The public love them once they start happening. Let’s look at the overseas examples: When Portland offered yard signs to advertise their new default 20 mph speed limit, they had to print and reprint to keep up with the demand. They stopped printing at 7000 signs… that’s over 7000 households that were keen to push the message. In New York the poorer communities are protesting and demanding that they, too, get the cycleways and the safety improvements…

          We’re just starting the journey later, but as with many things, the late starters can sometimes move the fastest.

          Best way to not pay the fuel tax is to have an alternative to driving. Portland’s default 20 mph was implemented in part because of the known and measured uptake in walking and cycling when lowered speeds are introduced. And walking is part of every public transport journey.

        2. I don’t disagree with you but Shane is just begging for a “Nanny State” campaign. The politicians and their helpers who trot that old chestnut out for their own ends won’t dare mention safety, they will cleverly undermine a Vision Zero imitative simply because the claimed boogie man of speed is not the only factor.

          If I am not mistaken the Scandinavian model of vision zero is doing everything to mitigate crashes, centre barriers, divided roads, grade separation, safer vehicles, skill updates, etc, not a one stop shop of speed. That will work and people will buy in, I believe anyway, and is more convincing and effective than the routine speed tables, judder bars and flax bushes in the suburbs by contractors adding zeros to AT’s bill.

        3. “that is supposed to free traffic up with alternatives to cut down commute times” – who promised that? The only thing ever shown to “solve” congestion (which itself assumes congestion is a problem rather than a symptom of a successful city) is road pricing.

          Improving public transport or cycling will never alleviate congestion and should never be advertised as such. All it does is give people an alternative to being stuck in congestion.

  4. These communications about the different types of streetscape improvements are good, and will help in community discussions. Good messages about safety from Shane, too. I’m just a little wary of some of the wording…

    What is a “road to Vision Zero”? Vision Zero is a road. What’s a road to a road? A detour? That sounds like “Working Towards Vision Zero” again. Doesn’t he mean “road to zero”. Is this the same “having a goal of a goal” nonsense again. And:

    “We have to commit to becoming a Vision Zero organisation”. AT has adopted Vision Zero; it did so when it adopted every one of the recommendations of the Road Safety Business Improvement Review. So AT IS a Vision Zero organisation… what’s this “having to commit thing”?

    Does it matter? Well, yes. There are certain things that a Vision Zero organisation does which one that is simply on the “road to Vision Zero” might not do…

    1. I think they mean Zero Vision.

      I think the adoption was more of a PR thing, than a real thing. A symbolic action. Really symbolic. Mythical even. Mythical adoption? Return the children after the nice photo ops.

    2. Great video from AT – all those speakers are great advocates for safety. But here it is at the end of the video:

      It wasn’t just a poor use of words by Shane. AT really is watering down its commitment to VZ with: “Auckland Transport’s road to Vision Zero”.

      Load of utter PR bollocks, AT. You will lose all credibility with this stuff. Shane Ellison said AT was adopting every one of the RSBIR recommendations. Lester Levy said you were adopting every one of those recommendations “in full without question.” And recommendation number 2 for implementation in 2018 was “Adopt and Support the Safe System with Vision Zero goal”

      So why give us this “road to Vision Zero” nonsense? A goal of a goal is fantasy.

  5. Heads up – apparently Orsman is planning a big beat-up article in the weekend’s Herald on how AT is wasting megabuck money on bikeways and conspiring with groups like GenZero to do it.

    1. To Orsman and your ilk: Drumming up public hate for positive change is delaying safety improvements. This in turn is meaning our children still don’t get freedom to go where they want. And it’s leaving them vulnerable.

      You really happy to have children seriously hurt and dying, Orsman, through your method of inciting backlash, just to get an angle for an article that our ratty tabloid will publish?

      Stop de Kindermoord. Stop it, Orsman.

      1. Heidi you have fallen into the trap:

        One person’s positive is not necessarily another person’s positive.

        It can, in fact, be emphatically the opposite

    1. Great video, Ted. There’s no practical reason we can’t do it quickly. It’s just a matter of reallocation and of putting safety, access, environment and value-for-money before status-quo conservatism.

    1. This is a goodie too, Ted. What becomes apparent to me is that high density means lots of bikes and few cars. In terms of storage, building regulations do need to specify bike storage minimums, whereas car storage should be optional. The idea of tying the number of bike parks required to the number of car parks required makes no sense when the mode share favours bikes in denser areas.

      1. Heidi, i’m not familiar with recent apartment arrangements for rubbish collections but imagine that there would be need for some sort of area for storage for pushchairs and rubbish containers outside the apartment probably near the ground floor. is there generally somthing like this in most apartments?

        1. Typically this has been poorly provided in NZ. I’d love to hear whether recent designs are better. I know the latest on the market in Pt Chev has some car parks available for $60,000 and storage units available for $5000, with bodycorp $266.12 and $22.18 pa respectively (in addition to the bodycorp for each apartment). I assume these storage lockers are easily accessible at ground level. The biggest proposed HNZ apartment block in Pt Chev has plenty of space for storage in each of several foyers but no organisation of it such as lockers mentioned, and no bike parking organised (which I think was an oversight in the drawings because the staff thought it would be there; it might be incorporated into more detailed designs by now.)

          I imagine rubbish has always been catered for in NZ, with varying success in managing communal recyclable storage and very rarely composting facilities.

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