Here’s our roundup for the week


Climate Change at Council

Yesterday at the Council’s Planning Committee, All Aboard presented on the need for action on climate change and that if they don’t, legal action might result. Stuff reports:

Climate change lobbyists are warning Auckland Council it could face legal action if its decisions on reducing greenhouse gas emissions fall short of promises made.

The message came from Lawyers for Climate Action during a presentation to the council’s planning committee on Thursday.

Auckland Council has made bold commitments to halve emissions by 2030 and for the city to be net carbon neutral by 2050, but is making a tentative start to rolling out its own initiatives.

“We don’t want to sue people, it’s time-consuming, and expensive and disruptive – but we are very committed to seeing this country achieve its climate goals,” Jenny Cooper QC told councillors.

The presentation was made by members of the All Aboard coalition, Paul Winton of 1point5.org.nz, David Robertson from Generation Zero, and Cooper from Lawyers for Climate Action.

It wouldn’t be the first time legal action has been taken about the climate. Just this week in Paris:

A Paris court has convicted the French state of failing to address the climate crisis and not keeping its promises to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

In what has been hailed as a historic ruling, the court found the state guilty of “non-respect of its engagements” aimed at combating global warming.

While in the UK last year:

Plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport have been ruled illegal by the court of appeal because ministers did not adequately take into account the government’s commitments to tackle the climate crisis.

Yet some councillors still seem stuck on carparks

Councillor Josephine Bartley bristled at what she described as “anger coming through” at what the council had done, and said councillors already get hate for doing things such as removing car parks.

Simon Wilson summed things up this way.

When it comes to transport and climate change, these two images seem to describe what’s going on quite well.


Daily Cap Fail

Auckland Transport’s fare increase goes live on Sunday and sees fares increase an average of 4%. However ,it seems one of features of the change, the introduction of a daily fare cap, could take another year.

A plan allowing Aucklanders unlimited travel on public transport for $20 a day is on hold while technology problems are resolved.

The daily cap, which would have capped daily deductions from AT HOP card accounts at $20, would have allowed unlimited travel without having to buy a day pass in advance.

The deal was one of several changes, alongside an average 4 per cent fare hike, due to take effect on February 7.

But Auckland Transport said it could take up to a year for the French technology firm Thales to make the plan workable.

The council agency said the existing One Day pass will continue, reduced in price by $1 to $18.

“This means customers still have the option of all-day travel for no more than $18 but have to make the decision prior to travel to receive the benefit and purchase the pass,” Colin Homan, the group manager of integrated networks, said.

Stuff understands the workaround relates to removing travel to and from Waiheke Island from the cap coverage, in the same way that it is excluded from the daily and Auckland-wide monthly passes.

Opps.


Rainbow Crossing for Karangahape Rd

AT are finally going to install a rainbow crossing on Karangahape Rd.

Auckland’s first ‘Rainbow Crossing’ is coming to Karangahape Road.

It will be installed in front of St Kevin’s Arcade, hopefully in time to mark the end of Auckland Pride Month.

The design will include the colours of the Progress Pride Flag, a more recent design created by international artist Daniel Quasar.

John Nottage, co-chair of Auckland Transport’s Rainbow Network says that including the colours of the Progress Pride Flag, will potentially make it the first in the country of its type.

“This version of the flag includes a five-coloured chevron on the original Rainbow Flag to place greater emphasis on inclusion and progression.

“The black and brown stripes represent our often-marginalised LGBTQIA+ communities of colour, along with the colours pink, light blue and white, which are used to acknowledge our transgender community.”

Rainbow crossings were proposed on the Karangahape Rd at least as far back as 2014. It’s just a shame it’s taken so long.


Te Onewa Northcote Point Wharf reopens

Northcote Point wharf has finally reopened after being closed for almost three years.

Northcote Point wharf has reopened after a blessing this morning and services have re-started after a two-year closure.

The wharf has also been renamed to Te Onewa Northcote Point, making it the first dual-named wharf on Auckland’s ferry network.

In 2018, routine maintenance found some structural deterioration of the wharf which meant Auckland Transport (AT) had to close it on a temporary basis for health and safety reasons. Structural assessments of the wharf confirmed that the wooden structure elements under the deck needed to be either repaired or replaced.

The $2.6-million work to renew the 60-year-old wharf started on site in mid-July 2020, with construction finished before Christmas, despite the disruption caused by COVID-19.  Final commissioning works and the installation of CCTV, an emergency help point and a public address system has now been completed.

I do hope a few more people use it this time. Before it was closed only about 155 trips a day used the wharf. Perhaps with ferry fares now integrated into HOP that will help.


Avondale Upgrade

AT are going to be upgrading the town centre in Avondale.

The Avondale Town Centre is set to become a safer destination to visit, shop and work – with construction about to start on a new concrete footpath, street lighting and bike parking.

Auckland Transport (AT) is upgrading the town centre footpath in stages, starting with construction of the first half of the upgrade from next week – which should be completed by mid-March.

The work, estimated to cost $720,000, involves removing and replacing the slippery pavers with a safer, concrete surface, as well as upgrading the bike parking.

Auckland Transport and the Whau Local Board are co-funding the upgrades, with the upgrade originally scheduled to take place in 2019 – but was delayed due to the Covid-19 Emergency Budget.


Link Bus Sign Changes

AT are making some changes to the signage on link buses.

I wonder how many people, particularly those who are young even know which way is clockwise and which is anti-clockwise.


Finally, quick before and after time lapse showing the before and after impacts of implementing a low traffic neighbourhood. This is what our neighbourhoods look and feel like if the transport budget was spent to reduce travel and significantly improve walking, cycling and public transport as the Climate Commision suggest we need to.

Have a good long weekend.

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49 comments

    1. Yep! Happened in Wellington’s Cuba St version so they had to re-do it and install speed tables just prior and after.

        1. John D , the people that like buying tyres will use the traffic lights as a great place to do burn outs so the crossing will most likely be covered with burnt rubber .

  1. If we EVER get SkyPath, that Northcote Wharf will be perfect for tourist round trips (ferry one way, walk / rental-cycle the other).

    1. Yes, family outings. Choose the direction to cycle based on the wind, maybe.

      Since we’re allowed to put in public transport infrastructure on the basis of this sort of current ridership, there’s a lot AT can start doing.

    2. True, but if they close it for three years at a time to do some repairs, then people will learn that it is not open and useable so will find other options.

      I get that marine environments are tough, but I am bit surprised that despite what I assume must be regular planned maintenance, they seem surprised at the amount of work required; and took three years to identify and repair.

      I would have thought that regular planned inspection and maintenance would be done on all AT assets; and that there should not be majors like this coming out of the blue.

      1. There’s a big difference between maintenance and renewals. Unfortunately while road renewals are consistently funded and done like clockwork, public transport renewals aren’t and have to compete with other projects as capital development.

  2. No cycle lanes on that Avondale refurb I assume?

    And how can AT to out pricing that their ticketing system doesn’t support, honestly.

    1. Won’t cyclists use the New Lynn to Avondale shared path instead? Good to see the railway subway currently under construction next to the new Kainga Ora complex on St Georges Reserve. I don’t understand why the path doesn’t go under the Blockhouse Bay Rd rail bridge to avoid cyclists having to cross that busy road.

        1. Cycle network development isn’t about “this route” or “that route”. it is about overall network density. Cycling provision through Avondale would complement the forthcoming shared path and, as Vinny states, provide access to the shops and services in the town centre itself.

    2. Avondale/New Lynn cycle way under construction runs next to the railway lines, essentially a block parallel.
      As they’re putting in bike parking, it’d be interesting to find out what their plan is for accessing the parks. Its flat and the traffic is slow, so riding on the road in this section has never felt unsafe, unlike the roads beyond the town centre.
      Sorting out bike lanes on Gt Nth Rd between Avondale and Waterview is probably very expensive, and its long overdue for bus lanes too. Perhaps the difficulty of this work and therefore the lack of connection is a reason they’re not running bike lanes in the town centre?

      1. If you look at each arterial in isolation, you can find excuses for why bike lanes don’t fit. The problem cannot be solved that way. Not putting bike lanes on arterial roads means AT is not providing access. They get all hot under the collar about not providing access. But they demonstrate absolute bias about which mode needs the access.

        We need to break through and tackle all the arterials at once. Cycling needs to be on all of them. They are where amenities are, they provide the straightest routes, they are often along the ridgelines.

        A congestion free network for buses needs to be provided wherever there are bus routes. Sometimes that means bus lanes, sometimes it means radical traffic reduction through the other levers.

        What this means is radical, and it is not enormous property purchasing. But we can’t shrink from the task.

    3. > And how can AT to out pricing that their ticketing system doesn’t support, honestly.

      They similarly messed up with the free 64 bus. They launched the service before figuring out how to make it free. Some drivers were asking people not to tag on, others weren’t. If you did tag on, the machines were still happily charging your card for the ride (which was then subsequently automatically refunded).

      Now they’ve made it so it costs 1 cent. An acceptable workaround, but it shows that they don’t have that much flexibility in adjusting their HOP system.

      1. Very minor issues. It’s just the Waiheke ferry holding up the fare cap and the $18 all day pass is a reduction so who’s complaining?

        1. Me. I don’t want to have to plan all of my travel in advance and then go to a station to buy an all day pass. Travel caps are so much more convenient for users.

        2. It might also be the SkyBus that is holding things up as well. A return trip from the Shore for $20 would be a great deal.

    1. Note the increase in walking. The CCC’s advice suggesting a 25% increase in walking was possible ignored LTN’s. There’s a reason they were ignored, despite advocates telling them about the concept and the evidence: many in the conventional transport sector don’t want to change the system, and say that walking can’t solve the emissions problem.

      The CCC is being kindly corrected about this by many people, and hopefully will change the advice radically for the final report to government. But I hope they go further and look at all the advice given to them by the sector, not as information, but as a window into the mindset that has created our dysfunctional transport system in the first place.

  3. “But Auckland Transport said it could take up to a year for the French technology firm Thales to make the plan workable” Why did we buy a “product” that can’t be configured to handle such basic requirements? Would have been much cheaper and more flexible to have had an NZ company build something decent. Its really not rocket science, just a few database tables.

    1. Because it would give cheap Waiheke ferry rides and AT would have to pay the difference to Fullers. The HOP card system works perfectly well in 99% of what it does, it’s just this ferry anomaly that is difficult to cope with.

    2. Because the got hooked by the business model, which is cheap roll out and expensive ongoing operations.

      The main problem is they treated hop as a ‘project’ to be done rather than an system to be managed.

      1. and it’s also reasonable. 9.40 for all zones travel and 47 weekly cap. Auckland is just a joke. Public transport less convenient than in ChCh and people paying crazy money for it. But hey it’s climate change. it all makes sense….

        1. There is a serious difference of scale there. Christchurch’s three zones are about 40km across. Aucklands 14 zones stretch 110km.

          Thats the main problem with a single daily cap, it has to be set high enough that it’s not just an automatic discount for long distance commuters, but that makes it basically useless for the majority of short distance users.

          Caps within the zones would be the best approach.

        2. Auckland has only 9 zones. Never heard of 14 (!). The thing is only people who regurarly (at least twice a day) go through 7 zones (twice a day) at least would benefit from 20 or 18 dollar cap. I personally used to use a bus/train to go everywhere a lot and got through 3 zones max in my life. Truth is PT is just way too expensive even on single trip level comeparing to quality of PT. One solution would be to make cap $10 within 5 zones or different daily caps for amount of zones you travel within. Or weekly cap which I think would make more sense but not as 7 x daily cap which would probably be something AT would wanna do. We have monthly pass in Auckland which is crazy high. I know regulars (7 days, multiple zones type users) of PT who say it’s way too expensive. In other countries the whole point of monthly pass is to increase the usage and simply make it cheaper for people so they try to make it an attractive offer for regulars. Here I feel like it’s more of a slap in a face.

        3. @ John D
          “Caps within the zones would be the best approach”
          That’s what Christchurch does. Cap for travel within a single zone is $5.30/day & $26.50/week (adult fares).
          https://www.metroinfo.co.nz/metrocard/travel-savings-and-zones/
          https://www.metroinfo.co.nz/travel-and-fares-info/fares/

          @ MattZ
          14 zones in total, but you’d have to try really hard to travel through all of them in a day.
          https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/fares-discounts/fare-zones-calculating-how-much-you-pay/

          I like Christchurch’s combination of 2-hour fares plus daily (= 2 x 2-hour) and weekly (=5 x daily) caps. Like to see something similar in Auckland & Wellington.

        4. Christchurch is the largest urban area in Australasia without any rapid transit whatsoever and no real plan to change that status anytime soon unlike Auckland where things are obviously happening. The $215 AT monthly pass covers the entire city and works out at around $49 a week, not that much different from the Chch weekly cap although I appreciate you have to pay the whole lot up front and may not use it.

        5. Zippo you can blame the Nats for that as they had the oppurtunity to get it up and running after the Quake and the Tory stack Enviro Canterbury didn’t want a bean of it , and it was going to funded through a gofundme method .

  4. Seeing as the Friday post is always a smorgasbord of different topics, this is probably a good place to ask a question about something else entirely.

    On Sunday the new PT fares are introduced. On their website, talking about the new 10% off-peak discount, AT say “Complete your journey using an AT HOP card before 6am, between 9am to 3pm, and after 6.30pm until end of service on weekdays, and all day on weekends and public holidays.”

    My understanding of the English language has it that if I boarded a train at say 8:45am on a weekday and tagged off at my destination at 9:10am, I would have completed my journey in the prescribed hours and would be entitled to the 10% discount. However, I have a feeling that AT meant to say “If all of your journey is . . . you will get the discount” and my hypothetical trip would be charged at full price.

    So which is it? Will I get a discount or not? (And for the pedants amongst you, is it me or AT who is misusing the English language?)

    1. Excellent question.

      Also the “before 6am” part is insulting for those of us who do go to work that early in the morning. Most bus routes don’t start any earlier than 5.30am so to be eligible for the discount you need to be making a short trip.

      1. Insulting? I think that’s a gross overreaction. The alternative would be not to have an off peak discount before 6am. Perhaps that would be preferred?

        And so what if only short journeys would qualify? Whenever the time limits are set, there will always be some who quibble the detail. Look at the big picture – which is that yes, we’re grateful for the introduction off off peak fares. But the 10% discount is nothing at all to write home about.

    2. I think it is right. Its really the city end that is the peak, so if you get to the city after 9 you were probably not on a peak service even if you boarded in peak times.
      The after 6:30pm one is interesting, you could very easily have caught a peak 5:30 train.

    3. My reading of that complex sentence is that it is ended just the tag off (Completion time).

      My rewrite/reversal of the sentence would be that:

      “If you tag off during the morning peak time (6am to 9am) or afternoon peak time (3pm to 6:30pm) during normal working days, then you pay full rate. At all times you get an off peak discount of 10%”

      Given they are trying to shift the peaks, I wonder from a marketing POV if they would be better making the off-peak rates the standard rate and simply add 10% for travel at peak time. Congestion charging will be like this I presume if we introduced it for private motor vehicles.

  5. “We don’t want to sue people, it’s time-consuming, and expensive and disruptive – but we are very committed to seeing this country achieve its climate goals,”
    This is called Jawboning. Turn up and issue a few threats and make it seem like horrible things might happen to anyone who disagrees with you. At best a New Zealand court can tell the Government they are not acting in accordance with their own law and invite them to remedy the situation. The best way to deal with any bully is to stand up to them. I would be inclined to tell these people, “fine we will revoke all the goals we have set ourselves.”

    1. If they publicly declare a climate emergency with no intention of actually doing anything just to get the publicity then they need a good Jawboning IMO.

    2. That would be a lot more honest than all the lack of action and fancy words we are getting now.

      These (or at least the majority) of these Councillors VOTED for these goals. They should be rather pissed off they are not happening, and not being achieved. That (some) aren’t, is the real issue here.

      They can feel aggrieved all the time if they want. But if you get elected on certain policy promises, then vote for certain things once in position – but then heed loud NIMBYs when it comes to actual implementation…

      Well, you don’t get to get all righteous for being called out for it.

      Of course such lawsuits don’t magically change anything. But they expose the hypocrisy.

    3. It’s the government who is the hot-air emitting bully (in all senses of the term) – they need to be held to account.

    4. I read the comments from Jenny Cooper QC quite differently from Miffy. “We don’t want to sue anyone” coming from a QC speaking to Councillors suggests to me that it is indeed a threat that they WILL (reluctantly) resort to legal action if they don’t get action by other means.

      What concerns me is that the implications of the climate emergency (and even, indeed the pre-existing long-term PT patronage targets) require a level of financial support that is waaaay beyond what is current being foreshadowed. THAT’s the key is that has to be addressed.

  6. “the upgrade originally scheduled to take place in 2019 – but was delayed due to the Covid-19 Emergency Budget.” seems like avondale got Covid a year before qnyone else. Covid is good excuse for anything

  7. Do main roads have to have a bike lane if there is a parallel off-road bike lane? Maybe the emphasis should be providing safe access to those bike lanes.

    1. Not if there are no amenities along the main road – no shops, offices, factories, houses, schools, recreational facilities, etc, that people would want to bike to. Normally there are amenities of some kind.

      People tend to think about networks as places to move, but just as importantly, they are for gaining access to places.

  8. Recently there has been some criticism/discussion on the lack of value for money analysis for light rail.
    Could someone point me in the direction of the value for money ($2.6m for 155 pax a day) analysis for the Northcote wharf repair/rebuild.

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