Here’s a roundup of some of the stories that have cropped up this week
CRL Walkthrough Tickets
On Wednesday City Rail Link gave away tickets for a walk though of the tunnels next weekend. However due to the strong demand and an appalling system that would reserve tickets but kept on crashing when you tried to enter your details to secure them, many people including myself were left frustrated by not being able to get any.
Unprecedented demand saw all 10,000 free tickets to give Aucklanders the chance to walk the City Rail Link tunnels snapped up within an hour.
“We’re so proud of a project that will bring massive benefits to Auckland and we’re as pleased as punch at the huge level of support people have for the work we’re doing,” says City Rail Link’s Chief Executive, Dr Sean Sweeney.
“We knew that a lot of people wanted to get a sneak peek at the tunnels, but we are thrilled by the red-hot demand when tickets did become available. Thank you!”
The Walk the Tunnels open day will be held on Sunday, 17 November at the City Rail Link’s lower Queen Street site.
Tickets became available on-line at midday. Dr Sweeney acknowledged they went so quickly and many people did miss out.
“If we had an opportunity to welcome more people on site, we certainly would have done so,” he says.
“Numbers had to be restricted so that we could safely manage 10,000 people walking through a confined space underground. The walk will be made through a “live” construction site which means we do not have the flexibility to extend this open day – at the end of the day our priority is to get the City Rail Link finished and opened for Aucklanders.”
Dr Sweeney adds that the project will be exploring other public events.
“We are heartily encouraged by the fantastic support we’ve had today and there will be other opportunities in future for us to say, ‘thank you’ to Aucklanders for their support.”
Mangere Bridge safety improvements
Auckland Transport have announced safety improvements for Mangere Bridge.
It’s going to be safer to walk, bike, scoot and get around the Māngere Bridge area thanks to the safer communities programme. The improvements will be delivered by Auckland Transport and are the result of consultation with the community.
There will be 20 new raised pedestrian crossings, three new pedestrian refuge islands and nine existing crossings will be upgraded. A roundabout will also be built at the Miller/Mountain intersection.
Randhir Karma, Group Manager of Network Management says that AT consulted three times with the Māngere Bridge community to ensure pedestrian improvements were designed in partnership.
“This helped us come up with detailed designs incorporating the community feedback. We were able to understand from people, where and how they moved about their neighbourhood, and we’ve made sure the changes reflect that.”
Focus areas included the five schools in the area and the Māngere Bridge Village shops.
David Aldiss from the Mangere Bridge Residents Association says the community is keenly anticipating the improvements. “AT has given clear plans to the community on improving the safety of pedestrians, mobility scooters, and cyclists and to reduce traffic speed in the suburb.
“Many suggestions from residents and local organisations have been taken onboard by AT. We’re particularly pleased the convenient parking in the commercial area has been retained to keep the village atmosphere.”
Nearly half of the feedback (43%) was in support of the proposal and those people feel the changes will make Māngere Bridge safer for everyone to get around. Only 12% did not support the changes.
Work is expected to start in early 2020.
New Lynn to Avondale Shared Path
This project is finally getting underway with a sod-turning this morning.
The route follows the rail line and includes a new bridge over the Whau river along with a new underpass to be built over the Christmas/New Year shutdown this year.
Former Auckland Transport Chairman Lester Levy has spoken to Stuff and that weighed in on the light rail debate saying it would be underway now if it hadn’t been taken off AT. The article also includes some other comments, including what he would do if he had a magic wand
There is no magic wand of course, but if I had one it would be to accelerate the Rapid Transit Network, to shift people out of cars and ease the pressure on the roads. If you want to drive a car you should be able to, but you won’t be able to get very far very quickly unless we create an environment in which people who want to shift modes, do.
Radio NZs The Detail podcast has also covered the light rail discussion that’s occurred recently.
Housing consents continue to rise to new record levels with over 14.5k issued over the 12-months to the end of September
Auckland is continuing its record-breaking run for dwelling consents, achieving a new all-time record of 14,634 in the year to September.
“With this level of consents being issued, we are now meeting the demand for housing created by increased population and can start to catch up on Auckland’s housing supply shortfall,” said Mayor Phil Goff.
“Auckland consented 1143 new dwellings in September, with 14 per cent growth in annual dwellings consented through the first nine months of 2019,” said Mayor Phil Goff.
“We’ve consented a thousand more dwellings in the past five months than we did in the entire 12 months of the 2012/2013 year.
“Encouragingly, September’s figure doesn’t appear to have been driven by one particular part of the market, such as a large apartment building, suggesting that the strong result is not an anomaly—we’re seeing real progress across the board for Auckland housing.
“As of last month, the proportion of consents in brownfield areas is the highest it has been since the passing of the Auckland Unitary Plan—further evidence that it’s helping create a compact, quality city.”
Also at record levels are the number of dwellings in denser developments such as apartments, townhouses and retirement villages with those typologies making up 54% of all consents.
Four years for a fourth lane
Almost exactly four years after the project kicked off to widen the Southern Motorway (21-Oct-15), the fourth lane southbound on the Southern Motorway between the SH20 and Hill Rd interchanges has opened.
The entire project, which has included widening the motorway all the way to Papakura, is due to be finished by the end of the year. The NZTA is also due to finish the widening of SH16 between Lincoln Rd and Westgate by the end of the year too.
Early next year the NZTA are looking to start work on repeating the process by adding a third lane to the motorway between Papakura and Drury before longer term extending it to Bombay.
Cities designed by women
The BBC have published a short video on the discussion about designing cities for women.
Cities are supposed to be built for all of us, but they aren’t built by all of us.
Every city in the world has been designed and built by men. But what if the other half had a go?
Barcelona might be able to give us that answer.
For the past four years the city has had a female mayor with a profoundly feminist agenda.
We spoke to feminists working in urban planning in the city to find out what they think needs to change to make cities better for women.
Every city in the world has been designed and built by men, but how would a city differ if it was built by women?
BBC's population reporter Stephanie Hegarty went to Barcelona to see what they are changing to benefit women in the city
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) November 6, 2019
We’re all for it and think our friends over at Women in Urbanism are doing a fantastic job advocating for these issues here. You can also read a post by them on the topic here.