Here’s our weekly roundup
First up, a quick reminder that there are bunch of consultations that about to close so if you haven’t already, get submitting. I covered them here but as a quick reminder we’ve got
- Blockhouse Bay Roundabout – Closes today.
- Devonport Parking Charges – Closes Sunday
- Mangere Cycling Improvements – Closes Sunday. Also see Bike Auckland’s thoughts on this.
- Onewa Rd Clearway – Closes Sunday
I’m surprised Auckland Transport haven’t advertised this yet. They are running their Home Free initiative again this year. This is where they make buses, trains and most ferries free from 4pm onwards on the last Friday before Christmas (Friday 18th). This is done as a safety initiative so that people out having after work drinks have an alternative way to get home rather than trying to drive.
However, this time they’re also going a step further and offering free travel on Saturday 19th too “so Aucklanders can avoid driving and use buses, trains or ferries for Christmas Shopping, or for another family outing”
This is excellent addition to the scheme, well done AT.
This offer excludes
- Rakino, Waiheke and Great Barrier Island vehicle ferry services.
- Waiheke and Fullers tourist services and Skybus.
- Devonport ferries are excluded on Saturday 19th December.
- This offer is not available to AT HOP Monthly Pass holders. If you do have an active Monthly Pass, please tag on and off as per usual. As your travel for the month has been paid for in advance, the fare calculation will remain the same.
I wish they and Kiwirail also confirm what’s happening with the Christmas/New Year rail shutdown. AT’s website currently suggests the entire network will be shut from Boxing Day through to at least 10 January with the Western Line also closed west of New Lynn on Christmas Day. However it’s not clear if that’s the full extend of the shutdown.
E-bikes for the future
A great article from Stuff on the value of e-bikes and how we need to built our cities to encourage them.
But around the country, council data is turning up similar results. Bike traffic is way up, and the increase is highest in the areas where biking is the hardest.
While the overall number of bikes sold hasn’t changed significantly, there has been a big shift in one sub-category: e-bikes.
E-bike and e-scooter imports are up 300 per cent on three years ago and are on track to overtake new car imports by next year.
In that time we’ve become even more reliant on cars. Today, 43 per cent of car trips in New Zealand are less than 5km long, and the driver is the sole occupant in 68 per cent of trips.
New Zealand has the highest car ownership per capita in the world, excluding a couple of micro-nations, and we use them for almost everything.
Converting that number of short car trips into e-bike trips could have a massive impact on our climate goals. A UK study where 80 people were loaned an e-bike for two months found a 20 per cent reduction in car mileage.
Electric cars have long been considered the answer to our transport emission problem, but they’re still well out of the price range for most consumers and do nothing to fix our congestion problems.
E-bikes are far cheaper, and less resource-intensive to build, and could reach a widespread adoption faster.
Good advice from @eeca_nz "The most fuel-efficient form of driving is not driving, so think about planning your errands so you don’t make multiple trips where you could make one. If it’s a short trip, could you enjoy the sun and walk or bike?" @CyclingActionNZ
— Patrick Morgan (@patrickmorgan) December 9, 2020
The downtown improvements are getting closer to completion with AT saying they’re now over 75% complete. They’ve published this video highlighting some of this.
Next Friday Te Komititanga is officially being opened along with it’s nearly complete beautiful paving.
The last of the six of the Tukutuku panels for the whāriki are currently being laid – with the entire square made up of around 137,000 pavers.
These have been constructed to depict the waves of the Waitematā coming to shore on the northern end, while the southern end design shows the meandering of the Wai Horotiu stream. In front of the Chief Post Office entrance is the whāriki, a welcome mat collaboratively designed by Mana Whenua weavers to depict a traditional woven harakeke (flax) mat. The whāriki facilitates a meeting point; of two waters, of past and present, of people.
AT have also been making progress at Puhinui and have put out this time lapse of construction.
You can also get a bit of a look at it in these videos
It’s going to be fantastic once it’s completed.
The first of those videos include Te Huia, the new Hamilton to Auckland train rolling through, presumably on a test run. Down in Hamilton, progress continues on the new Rotokauri transport hub
Rotokauri (Hamilton) Transport Hub – the new rail station & bus interchange (200 buses per day), nearly completed. And when @KiwiRail get their act together & finish their work on the Auckland lines, the Te Huia rail service to Auckland will begin. pic.twitter.com/vThLAj0wB3
— DaveMac (@davemacpherson7) December 8, 2020
CRL Open Day
Last week City Rail Link held their Boring Day Out to let the public see the site at Mt Eden and in particular the tunnel boring machine which has been named Dame Whina Cooper.
One of the things I’ve also been wondering is what is going to happen to the spoil. Here’s what they say.
The Link Alliance says it has a comprehensive plan in place to dispose of all spoil safely, and with as little impact on the community and other road users as possible.
- Spoil from Mt Eden will be a mix of cleanfill, managed and contaminated. We won’t know how much of each until tunnelling is underway. The spoil will be either wet spoil extracted by the TBM or a clean, dry type of spoil removed during initial tunnelling operations.
- Cleanfill will be disposed of at the Three Kings Quarry in Mt Eden.
- All other spoil – managed or contaminated – will be trucked to various disposal sites at Mercer in Waikato.
- Link Alliance anticipates removing 1,000 cubic metres of spoil each day this year, and 750 cubic metres during peak tunnel boring in 2021 and 2022.
- Link Alliance anticipates approximately 175 trucks entering and leaving the Mt Eden site daily.
- Spoil movements will be limited to a 10-hour day, 7am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday.
- No Sunday or overnight movements are planned.
- The main spoil transport route during off-peak hours (9am to 3pm) will be directly along Mt. Eden Road to the Three Kings Quarry. During peak hours (7am to 9am and 3pm to 7pm) trucks will take a longer route along SH 16 and through Hillsborough to avoid Mt. Eden Road.
- Spoil for Mercer will be trucked along New North Road and the State Highway network
- Strict measures are in place to transport spoil securely to minimise dust, or dirt on the roads
- Link Alliance also has mitigation measures in place to minimise noise disruption
- Link Alliance is committed to working with transport-related agencies and community groups to keep people informed
That’s a lot of truck movements.
Trucks on SH1
Speaking of truck movements, delays at Ports of Auckland have seen a container ship divert to Marsden Point and now there is expected to be a lot more trucks on the road shifting those containers to Auckland
The fallout from crippling delays at the Ports of Auckland will be most visible on the road between Auckland and Whangārei over the coming days.
From Friday, Waka Kotahi says there will be 800 additional heavy vehicle movements on this section of the State Highway 1 route.
It is because nearly 1200 containers of consumer goods need unloading from the cargo ship Constantinos P, which was diverted to NorthPort to avoid the delays at the Ports of Auckland.
Up to 12 trucks are expected to leave Northport every hour from 6am until midnight for the next seven days.
Many empty trucks will then make the return journey for another load.
The rail line is currently closed for repairs after being run down over many decades, repairs that have likely been delayed as resources needed to be shifted to Auckland to fix our failing tracks. Of course, even if the line was operating, it doesn’t go to the port itself.
Also one thing I noticed in the video of the article above, all three of the Wellsford locals reporters spoke to noted that trucks are often speeding through the town and don’t stop at the pedestrian crossing making it incredibly dangerous.
This is a fascinating thread on Uber
When they write the history of this era, one of the strangest chapters will be devoted to Uber, a company that was never, ever going to be profitable, which existed solely to launder billions for the Saudi royals.
— Cory Doctorow #BLM (@doctorow) December 8, 2020
Notably, Uber have are just starting to put Auckland PT information in their app.
Have a good weekend.