It’s certainly been a busy week with all of the light rail news and discussion. So here’s a bit of a round up of the other stories that have cropped up this week.
City Rail Link Demolition
The area around the Mt Eden station is going to start looking very different as demolition has started in advance of the main construction works.
The demolition of the empty buildings at the City Rail Link project’s Mt Eden site has started today.
The 30 buildings are in Flower, Nikau, Ruru, Shaddock and Ngahuru Streets, with the first demolition happening on Shaddock Street.
City Rail Link said it owns all of the buildings – it bought the first building to be demolished in 2012 and the last four years ago.
It said the demolition will happen in three stages and the first phase was due to be completed in March next year.
The dominance of Phil Goff’s recent election victory has been highlighted.
The one-sided nature of Auckland’s recent mayoral election has been laid bare in a breakdown of voting into 32 community battles.
Phil Goff won all but one, on his way to an overwhelming 100,000 vote margin over his main challenger John Tamihere.
The small chink in Goff’s support armour was in northernmost Wellsford where, not Tamihere, but Craig Lord emerged the winner.
Tamihere’s strongest showing was in his home territory out west, but there he still managed only 39 per cent of the combined Goff-Tamihere vote.
The red-blue pendulum swung firmly Goff’s way on October 12, after he lost 8 of 20 local board areas in 2016, to National party-backed Vic Crone.
Papakura is going to be the latest station to get ticketing gates.
Auckland Transport is installing new electronic ticketing gates at Papakura Station as part of a programme to increase the safety of train passengers and avoid fare evasion. The gates will go in early November.
Hi Alex, here's a plan for the gates (hopefully this isn't too small to see!) ^JN pic.twitter.com/zvvCMbWZOc
— Auckland Transport (@AklTransport) October 23, 2019
The fire at the Convention Centre has dominated news this week. One of the consequences has been that the two major arterials of Hobson and Nelson St have been closed while fire fighters battle the blaze and seeing the road the other morning with so few cars on it really highlights just how much space there is.
No congestion busting
A recent study shows Brisbane is the latest in the long line of cities to see no long term benefits from big road building programmes.
Brisbane no longer receives congestion-busting benefits from its three underground road tunnels after a decade and $10 billion in costs, a Brisbane transport and urban planning specialist says.
Associate Professor Matthew Burke from Griffith University’s Cities Research Institute said Greater Brisbane would have benefited instead from building the Cross River underground rail and Brisbane Metro bus project a decade ago and improving the region’s public transport first.
“Today we remain a pretty car-dominant society,” he said.
“Many of us [transport planners] would look and say, particularly at Legacy Way and Clem7, if we had invested $8 billion or so in alternative projects like Cross River Rail [$5.4 billion] and Brisbane Metro [$1 billion] – that is what Vancouver has done and what Sydney is doing with its Metro – then we would have really boosted our public transport.”
I think this issue is definitely something we need to keep in mind when thinking about another road based harbour crossing – where we would either spend $5-10 billion to encourage more traffic to the city, undermining the goals for the city, or we avoid that by reducing lanes on the existing bridge but that means spending $5-10 billion to add no extra new capacity.
When’s Queen Street’s Turn>
San Francisco’s Market St will be the latest to join the trend of completely banning cars on a major public transport route
Following hours of public comment and a rally outside City Hall, the SF Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors unanimously approved the Better Market Street Project.
“A half million people walk on Market Street each day, yet it’s one of our city’s most dangerous streets for traffic crashes,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco. “The Better Market Street plan will finally change that, plus create a more climate-friendly city and an incredible public space at the same time.”
This approval will authorize numerous changes to Market Street from the Embarcadero to Octavia, “including fully protected bike lanes, extensive car restrictions to private automobiles, transit-only lanes and pedestrian safety improvements,” according to a statement from the SF Bicycle Coalition.
So when does Queen St join this list?
99% Invisible has made a podcast on informal urbanism – or you can read about it too.
Informal urbanism” is a broad term. It applies to everything created outside the legal city planning and development processes. It can be a whole community, like a favela in Brazil. Or it can be a tiny thing, like a homemade road sign that helps drivers avoid a pothole.
But there are lots of actions that skirt the boundary between “formal” and “informal.” In the last decade, there’s been a rise in tactical urbanism and guerilla urbanism, where regular people make interventions in their communities. This ranges from hastily painted bike lanes, to do-it-yourself park benches in under-served communities. Gordon C.C. Douglas is the author of The Help-Yourself City and he spoke with Roman Mars about the concept of informal urbanism.
Let me know if there are any good local examples of this.
The small stuff
New South Wales looking to electrify its bus fleets within the next 10 years to not only address climate change but also health issues. This once again highlights how slow Auckland Transport are being with this.
— Andrew Constance MP (@AndrewConstance) October 24, 2019
The Northern Busway extension is progressing (along with the neighbouring motorway works. Reader Bryce snapped a few photos of these in the thread attached below but perhaps the most interesting is the busway bridge at Albany Station
Busway bridge to connect busway to Albany station. The spans on the left only went in this week. pic.twitter.com/Zvof2DIEoA
— Bryce Pearce (@Brycepearce) October 24, 2019
Paris has been more aggressive than most in priortising space for people over cars and the results have been very successful so far with the city seeing car ownership drop almost by half with now just over a third of people owning one.
Enjoy the long weekend and if you’re on the roads, please be safe.