Here’s our roundup for the week.
Constellation Dr Win
A few weeks ago we ran a post about how we need to enforce and extend bus and transit lanes. It included an email a reader had sent Auckland Transport CEO Shane Ellison about how bus unreliability on Constellation Dr in the afternoon peak was making it harder for her to justify using public transport. AT’s response to this was terrible:
We work to maximise the flow of people on the network and monitor vehicle volumes, vehicle occupancy and bus travel times.
We use that data to decide how best to manage the lanes. Afternoon peak passenger numbers are low for this direction, vehicle volumes are high and average bus travel times are considered acceptable.
Overall, there is not a strong case for changing the operating times right now.
The transit lane ends 100m before Parkway Drive, and queues back from the motorway onramps delay buses accessing Parkway Drive.
The change of the transit lane operating times would not be expected to provide much benefit in this situation as it doesn’t remove the primary source of the delay. However, a change to the times is something we are considering for the future.
Well some good news this week with AT announcing they want to make the transit lanes active in the afternoon and are consulting on the change.
We have heard from the community that changes are needed along Constellation Drive to improve the evening peak traffic flow. We are now proposing to extend the operating hours of the T2 transit lane to help move more people safely and quickly: https://t.co/O0KbxMqO3A pic.twitter.com/ecK0hWjJLu
— Auckland Transport (@AklTransport) March 15, 2021
Meanwhile they also announced that over in St Heliers they’d go ahead with the the compromised plans they consulted on last year.
Auckland Transport (AT) confirms new safety improvements will go ahead in St Heliers, after asking for feedback on the revised proposal late last year.
This was the second time AT asked for feedback on a safety proposal through the village, as the first proposal out for feedback in 2019 was not well received.
AT has since changed its approach to work collaboratively with the community on a new design before asking people for their views.
The proposal was designed by Auckland Transport – working alongside local community representatives from the St Heliers Business Association, the St Heliers/Glendowie Residents Association, Colin Davis from the Ōrākei Local Board (who has business improvement districts as part of their wider delegated responsibilities) and Councillor Desley Simpson.
The proposal means cyclists are on a shared path and in the door zone of parked cars, all because car parking is being prioritised.
In their press release AT say “73 per cent of people supporting the proposal, with some suggesting further changes“. But their feedback report shows that 47% supported with changes and only 26% supported outright, less than didn’t support it (27%). As for the changes suggested, there’s a bit of a theme.
There’s also some interesting specific responses in the report, such as this about the shared path not meeting ATs own design standards, including their comment in the consultation “The usual white line will be painted down the middle of the shared path for the further protection of walkers and other vulnerable people“.
So it’s now just a 4m wide footpath then that will pedestrians and dogs on long leashes sprawled across it. And all because they refused to remove a few carparks.
There’s probably a few posts worth of similar silly responses but it’s frankly too depressing. It’s notable how whenever there’s a dedicated cycling or PT project, any feedback becomes a vote on the proposal but when all the feedback is calling on them to remove parking, put in dedicated cycleways etc, they are able to ignore it all and plow on ahead anyway.
File under ‘ugh’
Speaking of depressing, the 2 Walk and Cycle conference has been on over the last few days in Dunedin and councillor Pippa Coom has been there. Yesterday she tweeted these two comments among others.
- So do we have to sacrifice children if we want safer streets?
- It’s such an indictment on AT and the transport planning profession in general than when the council says they want fewer cars in town and it to be more pedestrian friendly that the response is to add more motorway lanes.
One of the reasons its useful to attend a conference with the transport engineers. I get to find out what @AklTransport is really up to
Sorry guys but this is not how #A4E works #2walkandcycle pic.twitter.com/7eio1QQDKz
— Pippa Coom (@pippacoom) March 18, 2021
Over in Paris …
Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who for years been making revolutionary changes to city, such as removing traffic from the banks of the Seine, added significant amounts of new cycleways etc, has announced that by the end of the year, almost all roads in Paris will have a speed limit of 30km/h.
And in London
London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted recently
London's road to recovery cannot be clogged with cars. I'm delighted we've seen a 200% increase in cycling across London.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) March 10, 2021
To put that in perspective, London has just under 15,000km of road network, almost all of which are considered ‘urban’. Auckland has about 7,900km but only 5,100km of the are considered urban. Therefore, the 260km of cycle routes would equate to Auckland rolling out nearly 90km of cycleways. We’re targeting only 4km this year.
The e-vehicle subsidy we need
The government continue to look at ways of subsidising electric cars and trucks. Meanwhile in the US, a bill before congress would look to subsidise e-bikes. This is the kind of thing we should be doing.
BREAKING– Congress just released text of the “EBIKE Act," which would offer a refundable tax credit of up to $1,500 for a new e-bike purchase.
If it passes, the EBIKE Act would be groundbreaking. A 🧵: pic.twitter.com/xBsEw82mIh
— David Zipper (@DavidZipper) March 15, 2021
Over in Germany e-bikes are well outstripping e-car sales
That’s how customers voted with their wallets in Germany last year when choosing their pure electric mobility.
🚙🔋2020: 194 167
🚲🔋2020: 1 950 000
Taking in account BEVs get subsidies up to €9000 plus another €900 for a charging wallbox, quite a message. pic.twitter.com/BQFpm0XhmT
— Roman Meliška (@happy_roman) March 10, 2021
Drury Stations Consultation
The consultation on the Drury Train Stations has been extended to 26 March “to give people a bit more time to have their say, especially with all the COVID-19 disruption”
You can read my thoughts about how they seem to be planning for auto-dependency here.
There’s also a new face to face drop in session planned on 23 March at the Drury Hall from 4.30pm to 6.30pm. More details here.
Have a good weekend.