It’s Friday again, here’s our roundup of some of the things that have caught our attention this week.


PT back to normal from next week

We might be waiting till Monday to find out if the country moves back to Level 2 however Auckland Transport have advised that full PT services resume from then.


Auckland’s Innovating Streets application

Yesterday the Council’s Emergency Committee endorsed the first batch of projects that will go in the application for Waka Kotahi’s Innovating Streets fund.

Councillor Chris Darby says, “With generous and creative government funding, we can fast-forward plans to enliven streets for people by providing room to move safely and enjoyably.

“The lockdown has seen Aucklanders rediscover the delight of walking and cycling and now’s the time to lock in some of the good habits we took up during the lockdown.

“With massive growth in online retail during lockdown, local retail centres need engaging points of difference. Just as we successfully re-imagined High St to make it safer and more appealing for people, we’re now looking towards enlivening the high streets in our local centres.

“Innovating Streets is just the tonic, providing playful interventions like play-street programmes, ‘Slow Sundays’, low traffic zones, pop-up bike paths and car calming around schools.”

The list of projects in the application are below.

Auckland Transport led projects

City Centre projects

  • Cook Street, city centre, walking and cycling improvements
  • Queen Street Access for Everyone pilot
  • Project WAVE (Wynyard Quarter)

School projects

  • Safe School Streets Pilot – Owairaka District School and Sunnyhills Primary School
  • School streets road closure and rapid active mode shift programme

Safety projects

  • Collingwood Street safety improvements (Ponsonby)
  • Rubber roundabout trial – Queen Street/Victoria Avenue/Court Street intersection (Waiuku)
  • McCrae Way Shared Zone (New Lynn)
  • Ranui Town Centre safety improvements
  • Matakana Valley Road tactical urbanism upgrade
  • Otara Town Centre pedestrian improvements

Panuku Development Auckland led projects

  • Temporary Oratia and Ratanui Link- pop up walking, cycling and bus priority (Henderson)
  • Onehunga Mall crossings, shared spaces and intersection treatments (Onehunga)
  • Huron and Northcroft streetscape improvements (Takapuna)

Auto-dependant Maths

The Otago Daily Times published a great opinion piece this week by Dunedin mathematician Gerrard Liddell. It’s worth reading the whole thing.

The pandemic has given us a chance to reflect on the amenity of our roads.

Young and old, fit and frail have been able to enjoy our roads unthreatened by vehicles. We can hear each other and the birds that have returned.

Our children have been able to use their ride-ons, scooters and bikes. Whole families have space to walk together.

We had forgotten how much we had lost since fossil-fuelled vehicles decided they did not want to share the road. Motorists concocted the term ‘‘jaywalking’’ to alienate others from their own road and marginalise them to narrow footpaths off which they must give way almost everywhere to vehicles. Overseas visitors are appalled at our subtribe of drivers who charge at dilatory pedestrians, treating other road users as little better than potential road kill.

We presume that one person in a car (the median occupancy) is entitled to take up the space of six cyclists or more than 10 pedestrians, yet we begrudge pedestrians the space to walk four abreast or cyclists to ride three abreast.

I as a motorist have never paid for this exclusive use of the road, compromising the safety of all others. I only pay part of the cost of resurfacing, the veneer of bitumen. I have paid nothing for disturbing others’ peace and taking their space.

It is my and others’ even heavier vehicles that damage the roads, and so it is only just that I contribute to this cost.


CRL TBM named

I’m not a huge fan of competitions to name things like TBMs but it’s a thing and City Rail Link have announced the result of theirs.

City Rail Link’s Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) will share the name of one of New Zealand’s most inspirational leaders, Dame Whina Cooper, a woman who spent most of an illustrious life leading the fight for social justice and land rights for Māori.

Dame Whina Cooper’s name topped a nationwide poll ahead of internationally recognised Antarctic scientist, Dr Margaret Bradshaw, and the world’s first elected openly transgender mayor and Member of Parliament, Georgina Beyer.

“The project is both proud and honoured that our TBM will carry the name of a woman of such mana – Dame Whina Cooper,” said City Rail Link Ltd’s Chief Executive, Dr Sean Sweeney. “We were looking for the name of a New Zealand woman who inspired – brave, compassionate and fearless – and all those outstanding leadership qualities are well and truly represented by the very remarkable Dame Whina Cooper.”


A more urban Tauranga

It’s great to see Tauranga is looking to change its destiny and density.

Tauranga City Council has unanimously endorsed a business case to promote higher density living, a multi-modal transport programme and social infrastructure proposals for the Te Papa peninsula.

The peninsula runs from Greerton to Tauranga’s CBD and the Te Papa Indicative Business Case recognises the potential of the area to provide economic and social benefits for the local community, the wider city and the region.

The Bay of Plenty Times revealed today the proposed plan was expected to cost $450 million over 30 years.

In a press release today, mayor Tenby Powell said: “This is the time to change the way we grow our city, to plan ahead, encourage change and promote the opportunity to live and move around differently.”

The business case, developed by Tauranga City Council in partnership with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Bay of Plenty Regional Council, recommends an integrated land use transport strategy.

The Te Papa area is shown below and makes a lot of sense as the place to focus this change in Tauranga. Cameron Road which runs through the centre of the area is ideal spine for a high quality PT route supported by increased density along with safe ubiquitous walking and cycling infrastructure.

Looking at some of the details, I came across this graphic which I like as highlights that you won’t just wake up one day to find apartments everywhere, as you’d think from what some opponents like imply, but that it’s long term process.

Go for it Tauranga and good luck.


Puhoi to Warkworth

Earlier this week I highlighted the troubles with the Transmission Gully project. The other PPP project is Puhoi to Warkworth and they’ve recently just a new flyover video giving an indication of the scale of it. There are some mighty large and steep cuts in there. I also continue to find it funny that they talk about a Kauri Eco Viaduct that is being built in a place they cut down many Kauri trees.

Even putting aside any COVID-19 induced delays, it is hard to see how they’ll hit the goal of the road being open in late 2021.


Finally

The final stretch of the footpath extension has been going in at High Street this week

Nelson have been doing a good job in their response to COVID-19 already and that looks set to continue this weekend as they introduce an area wide speed limit decrease. I’m surprised AT haven’t done this too, especially given it’s meant to be happening permanently next month anyway – why not start a few weeks early with temporary signs.

We’re not endorsing bus drivers do this but I bet that driver won’t park in a bus lane again.

Have a good weekend.

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28 comments

  1. Good opportunity, I guess, to say that it’d be nice if NZers completely reject the various jokes and memes throughout the web showing cars getting destroyed when the drivers are being arrogant. They’re hideous. I know most of them are set ups, if they are filmed, but all I can think of is, “What if there’s a child in the back of that car!” Just because the drivers are out of the car doesn’t mean all the occupants are. Please let’s rise above that hateful and violent stuff before it encourages a mindset of revenge.

    1. The 2 basic outcomes are:
      – you can count on the council to enforce rules
      – people will take matters into their own hands.

      Now how is parking enforcement coming along in Auckland?

      (I don’t think this question is even inside the Overton window)

        1. Maybe if they included a number of residents besides each year diagram it might help. By 2060 it looks like you have lots more homeowners and still plenty of green space.

        2. Maybe you would, but given the plan is a transport plan, the increased density might otherwise just result in a whole lot more cars.

        3. Depends if they have other plans. If they have plans that support road building and greenfields development, then no plan in this location could easily lead to no increase in density in this location. Just more traffic, hide and ride, fumes…

  2. Good to see the list of Innovating Streets applications. If they are approved, it’ll be exciting to see them happen. Pity the list is not geographically balanced – there is clearly more interest or expertise at the local board and community level in central and west Auckland than elsewhere. If some of these projects go ahead, I hope Council works to upskill people throughout the city, meeting resourcing needs as required.

    1. “ Good to see the list of Innovating Streets applications. If they are approved,”

      Looks like they were today, priced a tweet on it.

  3. While we’re widening footpaths etc. to allow for physical distancing, I still see cars (lots and lots of cars) parked on the footpath, thus making physical distancing next to impossible.
    It is imperative that these cars are ticketed and/or towed. Of course it always was imperative but it is much more so now.
    AT could start with Anzac Avenue and Waterloo Quadrant (where I live) but I’m sure it is much more widespread than that.

    1. I’ve been asking AT to put out a message “requesting people to move their cars off any pavements, berms or places used by pedestrians” since March. It’s a problem all around the city. Apparently we’ll hear something at last today. The parking officers are working in pairs for security, I believe, which has effectively reduced their coverage by 50%.

  4. That Puhoi to Warkworth road will be so perfect. Cutting a wide path. Beautifully sloping landscaped banks on each side. A meter or two of tightly packed foundation for the asphalt. Only slight inclines making for easy driving. But do we really need this very expensive road of a standard much higher than most of our highways.

  5. To be brutally honest, this just feels that we’re charging ahead with the same doctrines / dogma we had pre-covid. The expedited rise of home working and the end of the commute renders most of the above moot. I’d be amazed if more than 50% of my colleagues return to our CBD office. I don’t intent to, save for the odd meeting and I certainly won’t be travelling nationally except for leisure. The new paradigm will be one of over capacity on public transport, vastly reduced traffic and a greater need for digital infrastructure, not physical.

    Oh, and it’s utterly irrelevant where you live apart from access to entertainment, which will be very, very different in the new normal.

    1. Nice Gavin, your figure of 50% not keen to return to commuting agrees with company surveys conducted over the last few weeks. Who knows whether that is anywhere near accurate, but we do know for certain that 1) Covid 19 will have an enduring impact on transport choices, and 2) we are at the beginning of a transport revolution whereby electrification and automation completely change how transport will work by 2050.

      For those that work in transport planning, I can’t begin to imagine how you can wrap your heads around either of those, let alone the combination of them both. And how you then convince government to build the right infrastructure…

      A safe bet at the moment would seem to be cycle lanes, cycle lanes, and more cycle lanes…

      1. Agree. Still time to submit on the 2021 Transport GPS (due 11 May) and to ask for more money for separated cycleways. Apart from the 1-off chunk of money for skypath, cycleway spending hasn’t increased since it was first introduced 8 years ago.

        Maybe when the warkworth motorway is open, the old SH1 can have its speed limit lowered to 50 km/h allowing space for a separated cycleway.

    2. I think it will take a long time for the dust to settle on this, I wouldn’t want to make any predictions.

      At the moment everyone is on equal footing in being required to work from home. In the future it’s possible the 50 % working in the office will be much more up with the play with what is going on in their company as they are privvy to all of the ‘water cooler’ discussions. This could draw a reasonable number back in. In an age of high unemployment I’d want to have a pretty good ear to the ground as to what is going on.

      Disclaimer: I’m one of the 50 % who can’t wait to get back to the office. I’m sick of having the same four walls for home and work and am looking forward having other people around.

      1. Jezza
        I think that you have called it correctly – you want to seem very connected to the business and not working in a way that suits you.

  6. Meanwhile, GenZero seem to think cycle lanes and safe streets will be rolled out overnight for everyone. Even with Innovating Streets, coverage is still very limited.

  7. Huron and Northcroft streetscape improvements (Takapuna)

    As a local it will be fascinating to see what evolves. For those outside the area they might be trying to comprehend why two rather non descript Takapuna streets are being streetscaped.

    Unfortunately this is unlikely to be placemaking and cynically is only brought about by one event- AT/Council have dumped a car park building (450 spaces) in the midst of a commercial/residential neighbourhood. Two next door neighbours are the Maison apartments and the Sentinel. So two major groups are exposed to the fumes of at least an extra 600 vehicle movements each day (there was a smaller car park there already). I say at least six hundred because there is unlikely to be any coherent plan for the operation of the car park. While the AT Parking Strategy is to provide for short term parking rather than commuter parking their pricing policies often do not ensure that is the case. Takapuna has a shortage of parking for shoppers because successive surveys have shown that 50% of parking is occupied by long term parking. This is particularly poor given that the car at 40 Anzac St, ostensibly for shoppers, is also clogged with long term parking.

    To ameliorate the air pollution I will be asking our Local Board and Councillors for extensive tree planting, and to prevent run off into the adjacent harbour, a rain garden. In the lower parts of Huron and Northcroft the street is constantly full of commuter parking. These are blind streets. Here is the opportunity to remove most of the car parks, and probably one vehicle lane and replace them with the planting I talked of earlier. Surely Council having lessened the air quality in our neighbourhood have an obligation to ameliorate this?

    What will we end up with? I imagine a situation on Huron St, the bus route for most buses coming to Takapuna, where those buses are stuck behind cars entering or exiting the car park.

    I note that for those who will use the new car park there is not a safe pedestrian way across the existing car park at 40 Anzac St because the markings have been allowed to lapse into illegibility.

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