Tactical urbanism is in the air at the moment. In case you’re not familiar with the concept, tactical urbanism is a design strategy that involves testing changes to spaces temporarily before permanent solutions are built. It’s a cost-effective way of trying things out without many expensive hours of design, planning and construction.

Back in 2015, Auckland Council brought one of the leading exponents and founders of tactical urbanism to town to explain how it works. You can see Mike Lydon’s presentation here, and an overview of tactical urbanism here.

Waka Kōtahi’s Innovating Streets For People program means right now, New Zealanders are seeing examples of Tactical Urbanism all over the country. The Innovating Streets projects run from anywhere from a day to 18 months. They’re a way for communities to say ‘what if our street worked like this instead…?’ and then actually live with those changes for a short period of time. They don’t have to be right the first time. The beauty of tactical urbanism is in the opportunity for change. The challenge is in convincing people to be open to the experiment.

The Innovating Streets program is (90%) funded and supported by Waka Kōtahi. Local councils and road-controlling authorities have to approve the projects before they are implemented.

But tactical urbanism’s roots are not in institutions of government. Guerrilla urbanism is where it started, a community-led process of creating better places and safer streets. It’s a process that fixes the persistent problems that, for whatever reason, the councils or authorities have failed to address. Sometimes, communities take action when they don’t feel they have basic freedom to move around safely.

On Monday this week, a pop-up cycle-lane appeared unexpectedly in Wellington on Adelaide Rd between Island Bay and Berhampore. Cycle Wellington noted that the line of cones, flexible bollards and small wooden planters had been installed on a route that was meant to become a cycleway connecting to the existing Island Bay bike path.

Morning bike commuters posted pictures of cyclists using the new lane on their way to work.

But within six hours, WCC contractors were on site, coning off the cycle lane and adding signage directing cyclists back into the traffic lane. On Monday evening it was removed entirely. Gone by bedtime.

Other people in other places have attempted to install their own versions of road safety when councils were slow to act.  Late in 2020, a Whanganui resident practised a textbook act of guerrilla urbanism when he placed a makeshift timber speed-bump on his residential street. The speed-bump, he said, was an attempt to combat ‘excessive hooning’. When interviewed, residents of the street talked about how unsafe it was for children to cross, and that they’d been contacting council for over three years to try and get some speed control installed.

The police said it was unauthorised and within six hours, the speed-bump was removed.

Guerrilla urbanism is a form of protest, a way that ordinary street users can show road controlling authorities what they’re not managing to do. It’s also an invitation to do more than acknowledge the issue – it’s an invitation to acknowledge the lack of safety, and respond nimbly with official devices.

Our road-controlling authorities, it seems, are very good at tidying guerrilla urbanism away.

Over in Onehunga last week, an Innovating Streets project planned since last September had been in place for barely two months when the Local Board abruptly pulled the project for “safety reasons.”

The catalyst for the removal of the project was acts of vandalism (and threats to continue them) by members of the public, who brought a forklift onto site and used it to shift and damage plywood boxes that had been used to direct traffic towards the arterial roads. Because road signage and markings had been changed for the duration of the pilot, this vandalism made the situation actively dangerous overnight. Local leaders who’d enthusiastically endorsed opposition to the trial are now sending messages urging the community to stop taking things into their own hands, and to drive carefully through the area while the project is formally dismantled.

The biggest disappointment is that the trial was halted before it could even be modified to reflect community feedback, let alone properly completed and assessed. What a wasted opportunity. But: “the people have spoken,” said a Local Board member who’d led the opposition.

But – people had spoken in Wellington and Whanganui, too. The people who built the pop-up cycle lane used their intervention to ask WCC why their safe cycling connection is taking so long. The resident in Whanganui was asking his local council why they couldn’t make his street safer for children and quieter for locals.

There is a common thread here. One act of (unsanctioned) guerrilla urbanism created a safe lane for people on bikes. Another act of guerrilla urbanism slowed cars. An act of (sanctioned) tactical urbanism placed directed cars off residential streets. In every case, the argument for removing the tactical elements was: ‘the installation is creating a hazard, making it unsafe for users.’ But for which users? Isn’t that argument fundamentally misunderstanding the point of a protected bike lane, a speed-bump, and a low-traffic neighbourhood? Their purpose is to make streets safer for the most vulnerable of road users – children, pedestrians, cyclists.

In every case, the cars won.

They can’t win forever, right? What will Road Controlling Authorities and Councils do if guerrilla urbanism continues to appear? There are plenty of examples from around the world where creative and innovative acts of street activism and guerrilla urbanism have led to more open, inclusive, safety-conscious or nimble road authorities.

It can be used to enforce parking restrictions

To create secure bike parking –

To demonstrate an alternative use of parking spaces

To turn streets into places for people

To calm too-wide corners

And to create cycle lanes, exactly where they should be.

What if, instead of immediately removing an intervention, our road-controlling authorities had a policy of quickly assessing its merits, securing it and monitoring the area for a set period of time? It wouldn’t take much to make a pop-up cycle lane like Wellington’s safe enough to last for a test period of a few weeks or even months. Put a bit more reflective tape on the planters, sandbag the cones so they don’t blow away. Install a couple of people on the footpath and give them high-vis and clipboards to observe, count and measure the results.

And even if it was only left up for a few weeks, in its short life that protected lane would have made life a whole lot safer for a fair few people on bikes. In a week in which we’ve already lost two poor souls, on roads unsafe for bikes… is there really a good reason not to try this?

On our Road to Zero, every act of tactical and guerrilla urbanism is an opportunity to test, evaluate, understand and then plan for a new, better way of doing things. But to truly realise their value, these interventions need to be in place over time.

Edit: The bike lane is back! Day Two of the Trial, giving WCC another opportunity! We hope today they choose a different path, and turn up with clipboards and enthusiasm.

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100 comments

  1. The time when gorilla tactics works is when the authorities stand defeated. Communities adding things overnight once and then it being removed the next day is easy for the council to “deal with”. Stuff being added overnight that is hard (but not impossible) to remove and is re added every night is the situation when this would work. Where the council is out of power to deal with it. They’re not going to immediately roll over, you have to drag them kicking and screaming.

    I also saw on twitter the stated reason to remove it was “it does not have a traffic management plan and is therefore unsafe”. The most horseshit bureaucratic, double speak answer I’ve ever heard. That does not make it unsafe. Sure there might be hidden safety issues, but that’s not what they said, as if this piece of paper would be the thing that stood guard valiantly guarding peoples safety.

  2. My observation there are two types of cyclists. Most cyclist just ride on the footpath that’s what they do in Papatoetoe even though we have cycle lanes. Footpaths are made of smooth concrete roads are rough chipseal much easier to ride on the concrete. I don’t mind sharing the footpath as long as riders are considerate. So remove the berms cause cars only park on them anyway and add in a bit concrete make a shared path. Need to dodge the power poles.

    1. There is only one type of cyclists – the one who prefers what is most convenient to them. So yes, if you provide them with facilities that are unpleasant, unsafe or indirect, many tend to go somewhere “not intended”.

      Which is kind how car drivers go *everywhere*, even where there’s clear signage that they are not to. Humans can get pretty selfish. But at least cyclists are not burning the planet while zooming around in a lethal metal box while doing it…

    2. Nothing is 100 percent safe however the cycle lanes on Station road are probably as good as it gets without putting concrete barriers down. Still people are preferring the footpath.
      No reason why concrete barriers can’t be added though as far as I can see. And it would help to keep cars off the berms.

  3. The Onehunga trial should have focused on one street at a time not a bunch of them…… and part of the public issue was that the project cost Eight. Hundred. Thousand. Dollars!!! For a bunch of plywood boxes!!!
    I don’t know who was clipping that ticket but that is about 10x what it should have cost! Head/s need to roll over that.

    1. The issue with doing one street at a time is that you could end up with unexpected bad effects that you would not get if you did the whole thing at once. Doing a neighbourhood at once is advantageous. Although I do agree, if AT have enough experience to come up with a master plan then they should, and then make it very easy for residents to apply to have that part of master plan implemented on their street. I’m no politician but it seems like it would be easier politically.

      I cant comment on the cost, Was 800k the whole thing or just as you imply some boxes, I suspect the whole thing. And I’m sure the boxes were far from the most expensive part. Probably all the consultations etc. I do know from university experience that research is expensive, my girlfriends project is using 10s to 100s of thousands of dollars worth of super computer time. But the cost savings from the potential (but unlikely) change would save industries in NZ 10s of millions a year, and even more if the tech were exported overseas. It’s the same framing we should use for research into the way we use our roads. If LTNs took off we could potentially save billions in car and road costs. Far outstripping the cost of the research and experimentation.

      I also think you would be able to OIA the budget / costs of the project and find out yourself where all that money went. If you felt so inclined.

      1. A good part of the cost would also have been constantly getting roadworks crews out to close the road and fix vandalised things up (yet again). The sad reality is that a single “call-out” so to speak can easily run into a few thousands of dollars, once preparing the legally required traffic management plans, paying the people and the vehicles and their time etc is included.

        1. Another reason to prosecute, on top of these people undermining democracy and putting people’s lives at risk.

      2. Yeah the boxes were a tiny part of it. There was an article somewhere with some of the costs. Social media simply used someone’s assumption about one figure they saw, equated that with “plywood boxes” and ran with it. This wasn’t done in good faith. Where is their voice on the costs of Mill Rd, Matakana Link Rd, Penlink, SH1 widening, etc which we know will create extra traffic and emissions? Criticising the costs of a cheap project pushing things in the right direction is clearly more fun than critising the costs of outrageously expensive projects pushing things in the wrong direction. It isn’t a fair criticism in the slightest.

        Plus a trial doesn’t just involve the work you see. In addition to the artwork (and I think the paint is beautiful), the project management, the temporary traffic management, the monitoring – both quantitative and qualitative (and who here knows how much each time you put a tube count down costs!) there’s also the costs involves with exploring the institutional and process changes needed.

        If there are operational guidelines, policies or even regulations that hinder tactical urbanist approaches, they can’t just barrel through them. They need to find them, document the changes needed, consider them from all sides, including equity, accessibility, safety, etc.

        Anyone worried about the expense should have:
        1/ ensured the trial continued – that’s the best way to make proper use of the investment.
        2/ suggested a cheaper way to trial transforming the network.

    2. The materials would have been a small fraction of the cost.
      The likely costs would be people spending time on considering options, talking with the public / politicians etc. The cost of any ‘change’ is huge when time is spent attempting to prove that there will be no to minimal impact on driving. It’s set in stone as a baseline in transit agencies. Any change *could* make things worse, or more unsafe or increase delays, etc etc etc.

    3. Realist, rather than one street at a time, which would have created serious further rat running problems, the Onehunga trial should have involved a cluster of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. The NZ articles about LTN’s (including mine and the WSP / Helen Clark Foundation report) are clear about this because that is what all the recommendations from experienced practitioners are. The trial wasn’t a cluster of neighbourhoods because shifting AT management that far was impossible, but getting to do one was still worthwhile – it showed much safer streets and it showed the limits of doing only one. It also involved upskilling within AT, Council and the community. That is invaluable.

      1. Doing things one street at a time also means that you need to do separate consultations for EVERY SINGLE ONE. All the baggage of project management FOR EVERY SINGLE ONE.

        There’s a reason things get done cheaper in bulk. Because it’s more efficient. And faster. We can’t change our cities if we do two streets a year. What ends up happening is that new, badly designed streets get added faster than old ones fixed up. Doing it “one street at a time” dilutes both the benefits and massively increases the overall costs.

        You might as well go and ask for Auckland City Council’s old target of 1km of cycle lanes back. I mean Auckland Transport’s targets are not much better, but they are just showing the same ineptitude.

        Also, there’s just a wee little bit of urgency. Having been in advocacy for a decade, I thought we’d have achieved more for road safety, but the constant opposition to even minor changes means that when the nieces that I piggy-backed around as small toddlers start coming to university in Auckland over the coming years, I will still be afraid for them (if they even choose to bike).

        No, Onehunga may have failed because the authorities gave in to the entitled and agressive. But it can’t lead to an EVEN SLOWER progress than before, or we might as well just all buy ourselves Hiluxes and burn the world down before we die.

        1. Perhaps I should clarify the one street at a time part. The issue residents had with the trial was that by blocking off a bunch of streets on only leaving the arterials available meant that a 1 minute drive suddenly became a 15 minute drive for many. Now I’m not saying they only needed to do a 1 minute drive (walking should do that), but if the rest of their journey was say another 10 minutes away then an 11 minute trip becomes 24 minutes. Absolutely have these streets, but only every 2nd or 3rd – rather than all of them. Also it wasn’t just local residents that were affected as other commuters were slowed by the additional local traffic now on arterials.
          Another option to consider in future in more permanent situations is to have timed access/residents only access by way of a smart gate/bollards. This would also make things safer and faster for emergency services.

        2. Realist, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods don’t retain the current focus on minimising travel times for drivers, but that focus is unbalanced.

          Perhaps think about it from the point of view of people who do walk or cycle currently. Their trips are 5, 10, 30 or more minutes longer currently because the routes they have to choose to get safe crossing over roads are much longer. This includes motorways and arterials but also some of these small residential roads where walking to the train station or the bus at peak hour is really hard – there is a car after car after car. Traffic signal delays are significant, and would be significantly shorter in a less car dependent transport system. Same for cycling. The detours people have to take just to avoid the traffic! – and usually these are only available to confident cyclists. The majority don’t find them safe and want better cycling infrastructure.

          LTN’s in general, and this one in particular, provided much easier crossing of roads for people, sped their journeys up and made them much more attractive.

          That’s exactly why LTN’s are incredibly successful at modeshift; they give people more options than current systems which are entirely focused on driving.

          Starting with the small streets which should be social places is good. At Onehunga, people claimed longer travel times in their cars for journeys that would be healthier walked or cycled – and which are possible to walk and cycle by making an LTN.

          Being prepared to go a slightly longer route is part of being a responsible driver. No one has the right to drive in every direction everywhere; we need to follow good traffic management. The good news is that clusters of more LTN’s together would also reduce traffic volumes on the arterials and so reduce travel times for longer trips, if we do enough of them. That’s what we need to work towards. It’s a way to decongest the city that gives people healthier lives and better travel options and makes driving easier for those who do need to.

        3. That was a bit of a long explanation, much of which you didn’t need, I’m sure. Sorry for that.

          There were other aspects to your answer I didn’t address, too, sorry. But it’s a good conversation to have.

  4. As someone familiar with the construction of this bike lane, the planters are strong enough to last for a week, they have reflective tape, and the poles are glued to the ground and stood up to 80km/h gusts overnight. Happy to do a guest post with some detailed instructions!

  5. Some NZ people are feeling unsafe. There are constant calls for more police or for the council to make things safer. Are some people staying at home rather than doing things?
    People don’t feel safe using public transport, going to the supermarket, walking down Queen St, on the roads, on bikeways, walking to school, going to a sport or cultural event, getting a vaccine.
    Actually NZ is a very safe place and people should join with others and walk, ride a bike, enjoy shopping, attend a sport event, a show or a party and get their vaccines.
    Of course I support that safety is important and transport should be safe but I still go places.

  6. Cars don’t win every time. Authorities win every time. They have to win or they are no longer the authorities. BTW it seems like a double standard to claim one group doing their own thing are tactical urbanists and the other group are vandals. I am calling bullshit. If putting in your own bike lane is tactical urbanism then so is the lady with the cowboy hat smashing a kerb with a sledge hammer.

    1. Authorities haven’t been winning – look at the absurd situation in both Onehunga and Westmere. These were schemes that were backed and installed by the local authorities that were vandalised by a mindless few selfish idiots who were not smart enough to think beyond their own minor inconvenience for the good of the wider community. That’s people in cars all over and always has been, all about me, me me.
      And the tragedy is that the local authorities backed down so that the car could stay king, at the expense of the people who wanted their streets to be a safer, better place to live.
      Those vandals should be in jail.

      1. +1. Authorities not only didn’t win in Onehunga, they ran away and hid. A guy with forklift and utes ramming into boxes won.

        1. Exactly. I think Onehunga is a case for prosecuting people – for death threats and modifying the road in an unsafe manner and one against democratic decisions.

          But just as they will never prosecute Trump for his crimes they will not try and get these folks because “that would just rile them up more”.

          And so we are again, ruled by the bullies defending the car Status Quo. That’s n extremely depressing.

      2. Authorities always win. But in our system they do that be listening to people, sometimes, in rare situations they actually listen to people who are not Council or AT staff.
        Anarchy works both ways. If you want that then you have to expect some things you don’t like as well.

        1. Let’s see if one Council kowtows to the people adding safety measures like another one did to the person smashing them, before we make any conclusions about who wins.

        2. What a lod of codswallop, as usual. We already have a road network that is hugely unsafe for people on bikes and pedestrians, so it’s pretty fair to see why we don’t like it. The changes that were vandalised were consulted on and approved by the local authorities but smashed up by vandals, causing the local authority to kowtow to this noisy minority. Adding a makeshift unapproved cycle lane or whatever is not vandalism, it’s trying to send a message after years of frustrations – but the authorities are always very quick to act and remove these things. So why are they not quick to reinstate approved road safety items that have been vandalised? Because they are scared of the vandals and the bad press whenever they try and do something positive.
          If your child, partner or friend is killed by a motor vehicle while riding a bike on a road then I’m sure you will be saying it was their fault for having the audacity to be in a space that should only be reserved for people in cars, won’t you?

    2. Of course you’re calling bullshit, miffy. But the cyclelane doesn’t damage things, and it does provide safety. So it’s quite different from vandalism, especially vandalism that is there to prevent safety projects from progressing.

    3. I agree with Miffy. Both groups are either both vandals or both tactical urbanists. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

        1. I guess it depends on how you define damage, vandal and tactical urbanist. One group moved some stuff onto the road, and another group moved some stuff off the road.

      1. By this logic, the kids in my neighbourhood that chalked a hopscotch track onto the footpath are vandals.

  7. “On our Road to Zero, every act of tactical and guerrilla urbanism is an opportunity to test, evaluate, understand and then plan for a new, better way of doing things. But to truly realise their value, these interventions need to be in place over time.”

    The issue here is that most of the examples shown do nothing for cycle safety but rather perceived safety. The more permanent ones with solid kerbs do provide a level of protection, however its for a crash type that doesn’t really show up in the data.

    1. “The issue here is that most of the examples shown do nothing for cycle safety”

      Sorry, but if you’ve been close-passed by an aggressive driver, or worse, one intending to hassle you, you would know that’s bullshit. Things that keep drivers further away do a lot for actual AND perceived safety.

      1. “close-passed by an aggressive driver, or worse, one intending to hassle you”

        Yes those are two good examples of how you feel safer.

        1. My point is that you also ARE safer. For some reason, drivers seem pretty happy to get real close and agressive to people on bikes, but put something that might scratch their cars, they tend to steer clear (yeah, I know bikes also could scratch their paint, and all that blood over the hood can be hard to get off – but somehow there’s a disconnect).

        2. Based on the crash data, the majority of crashes that seem to happen in cycle lanes is when a car turns right in front of the cyclist into a driveway or something. Or at at intersection where the cycle lanes comes up the left side of a left turn lane (a dangerous design).

          A proper cycle lane on the side of the road seems to work just as safely as one with some safe hit posts or similar. The point of them is that they feel safer and hence more people feel safe to cycle, even if there risk exposure remains exactly the same.

        3. Takahe, protected cycle lanes have significant safety advantages above and beyond the perceived safety. These include

          – the separators forcing tighter turns into / out of driveways, thus making the movement across the bike path slower
          – discouraging (admittedly rarely fully preventing) parking in the bike lane (“I’m just here for a minute”)
          – discouraging active harassment by drivers (particularly important for women, or where hoons are about – this is a mixed perceived AND real safety benefit)
          – pushing big vehicles further out (wind wake etc, especially on higher-speed roads)
          – physically narrowing the road, which is known to reduce speeds, a direct safety benefit for all (painted bike lanes actually make the perceived road wider and thus create higher average speeds. When 2-3 kph difference can increase lethality by more than 10%, that’s crucial.

          Its definitely “more than just paint” and it does more than make people on bikes feel good (albeit that is also crucial).

        4. “Or at at intersection where the cycle lanes comes up the left side of a left turn lane (a dangerous design).”

          Indeed it is a dangerous design, but placing them between turn lanes is even worse. What is needed is providing them with their own signalised crossing (AKA a “protected intersection”). I have been designing them a lot in my work recently, but because they need a bit more space, a bit more money, and more signal time, they tend to be resisted for changes on existing intersections.

        5. Max, I agree with you and I do like them.
          I’m more just pointing out that when you look at the crash data, the causes of most of those crashes would not have been mitigated if the cycle lane had safe hits or road cones.

          The protected intersections sure do take up a bit of space, and they are somewhat annoying if you’re a confidant cyclists but still want to use the facilities provided for you.

        6. Richard, you put too much store on crash data and pay insufficient attention to research, which brings the fuller context.

          Also, “The protected intersections sure do take up a bit of space, and they are somewhat annoying if you’re a confidant cyclists but still want to use the facilities provided for you.” I don’t think confident cyclists in cities with cycling networks are frustrated by protected intersections.

        7. “Yes those are two good examples of how you feel safer.”

          You are belittling and arrogant and wrong.

    2. Perceived safety is just as important, if not more important, than actual safety for encouraging people onto bikes. And more people cycling gives more safety (per capita at least) as everything then changes (drivers see more cyclists so are more aware -> fewer accidents).

      It is absolutely important to prioritise both actual safety AND perceived safety if we want mode shift to happen.

  8. Auckland University Engineering School did some Guerrilla Urbanism 25 years ago: we painted a zebra crossing from the Engineering school to the Quad (pretty sure there were a few beers involved but it was a very professional looking job). At the time Symonds Street was 4 lanes wide and we basically either had to stand tippy toe on a white line in the middle waiting to cross with cars doing 60-70km/hr beside us (sometimes 30 or more people doing this at once) or go the much longer way underground. There were traffic jams right down Symonds Street, pedestrians deliberately took their time crossing. It was gone in a day with the council deciding peoples safety was significantly less important than traffic flow in a central city.

    1. A zebra crossing on a 4-lane road sounds down right dangerous. I take it none of these engineers knew anything about sight distance?

      1. Uhmmm, this comment to me sounds like the complaint against a protester doing dangerous things, “look at these irresponsible fellows”. It was a protest. Sure, they could have also closed off two lanes to make the crossing safe. In that case, they probably WOULD have been prosecuted.

        [Also, Auckland since then themselves added various zebra crossings over multiple lanes – I remember finding out about the one at Royal Oak (western leg), and being really surprised. I’d been told not to do that by everyone. Turns out that it was just the olde car dominance – locals wanted a zebra, but traffic engineers didn’t want to lose the second lane. So they undermined their own rules to keep cars flowing while saying to people, here’s your crossing!]

        1. So in your eyes it would be fine if someone got killed there because it was a protest? A protest in which some people who should have known better installed a dangerous crossing knowing people would use it.

          Wow.

        2. A one-off well-heralded protest to get a systemic, day-in day-out risk removed is far safer than leaving the risk in place.

        3. Takahe in the council’s eyes it was fine for someone to get killed there with people trying to cross a busy road with no crossing and a 50km/hr speed limit in the central city that at the time was not enforced in any way.
          I think you are making my point for me: in the eyes of traffic engineers and council everything is safe as long as your rule book says it is even though it obviously is not.

    2. Jimbo, the university has had the opportunity to be a leader to change all that. The CCMP has a wonderful Symonds St and a wonderful Stanley St. In some cities, it’s been the academics who’ve shaped the transport plans by weighing in with best academic research. Vancouver, I believe, is one example.

      Instead, Auckland University have sat by mutely and let their students remain at risk, subsidising their staff to drive by providing excessive carparking.

      When I was an engineering student – a bit before your time – “we” (wasn’t me) painted a pedestrian crossing over the Symonds St onramp. It too, remains dangerous. It too, could have been removed if the university understood its role in society.

      Been to the uni recently? Oh my there are some swank buildings with enormous foyers you could fit a whole open plan school into.

      1. “When I was an engineering student – a bit before your time – “we” (wasn’t me) painted a pedestrian crossing over the Symonds St onramp.”

        I hope that wasn’t a zebra crossing as that almost sounds like a design to create fatal accidents. I hope they teach better road safety at Auckland Uni these days.

        1. https://goo.gl/maps/zh8Jju1v1GmwEuQU9

          Across here is where Heidi means I presume?
          That seems like a great place for a raised pedestrian crossing to me. Some modifications should be done, moving the 80km signs back a long way. The area where the ped crossing would be is a 30km/hr zone, there are long sight lines. The only issue I can see is it proximity to an intersection. But it is well after cars have cleared it, and putting pedestrian crossings around roundabouts is considered best practice. If speeds could be enforced here then to me it seems a no brainer.

        2. SO WHAT if the design was unsafe? The existing situation was unsafe. It was a protest as far as I understand. A protest against an existing situation where authorities where prioritising traffic flow over the safety of thousands every day. They probably well knew that it would be gone within the day.

          You are putting some student protest up against safety requirements that THE AUTHORITIES were ignoring, and you are slagging of the STUDENTS as irresponsible know-nothings?

          You can always justify not doing something, and say “We are just following the rules”. Inaction is much more likely to comply than action.

        3. It was a protest. I actually think it was down the ramp a bit too, more of an opportunity to shake sleepy drivers up a bit out of confusion.

          You’ve chosen to ignore the point of my comment: leaders throughout the transport sector and society at large who refuse to step up to their responsibilities in creating a safer transport system.

        4. To me it looks like the current design would create fatal accidents just the same.

          A zebra makes it at least easy to spot that there will be people crossing that on ramp at this point.

          If drivers are taught to ignore zebra crossings that is a separate problem.

        5. Cough! It was us; done during Capping week one year (1979?) after a bunch of us nearly got bowled by a procession of fire engines as we crossed Symonds Street from the Engineering School at morning break & they came along full tilt. Done at midnight; halfway through one stripe a police car came along. We hid behind the trees and they gave us the look as they went past, their heads turning. Oh, that was the same night we put detergent in the fountains.

  9. I think it is a disgrace that government and counsel’s are not responsible for safety on the road, that they can allow something that is obviously unsafe such as a speed limit being too high or no place for pedestrians to cross and they can ignore people pointing out the safety issues without any consequences. Our company is required to put more thought into safety in our IT office (preventing people from paper cuts and slipping over) than the council does on our roads where hundreds of people die every year. If our company was alerted to a safety issue and didn’t act straight away and the issue happened again (even if it was minor) it would be treated very seriously. Classic government: do as I say, not as I do.

    1. Imagine if Health and Safety laws were enforced on roading! Some legal/financial penalties handed out to boards/senior leadership would get things changed pretty swiftly.

      1. There were plenty of idiots in the comments section on this website who thought H+S was going to be applied to roads. It was laughable.
        The whole thing is absurd when you think about it. A money grubbing company sent men down a gaseous mine to their deaths. The Government had almost no mines inspectors so as a diversion they created a Worksafe regime that gives no advice and has no use other than to prosecute people post hoc. And along the way the exempted all dangerous parts of farming.

        1. Take a break Miffy, you’re not coming across well this morning. Calling the community here idiots doesn’t help advance conversation and understanding. Not all readers make comments and some readers might be coming in pretty fresh to this space. Let’s all show our best selves.

        2. I’ve actually learned a lot from Miffy over the years reading the comments here. He obviously has loads of experience in the very area we’re all interested in. Do I agree with everything he says? No, but that doesn’t mean that it’s all a waste of space.
          Many of the regular commenters here make me roll my eyes pretty hard sometimes. I believe we’re all here with good intentions; but sometimes we need to step back and take a breath, especially on contentious topics like this one.

        3. It doesn’t annoy the hell out of you that it was the Pike River tragedy that gave us a nit picking health and safety system yet the managers of that mine were allowed to pay cash to not be prosecuted?
          Are you happy that the cost of housing had to rise to cover the cost of scaffolding all the way around a single story house? We live is a strange world. The big issues are ignored while the little issues are the subject of rules.

  10. As part of the Innovating Streets programme there are a couple of trials taking place very soon in Henderson and Glen Eden. If anyone is around these areas it would be great to give them a go and provide any feedback
    https://akhaveyoursay.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/henderson-streets-for-people#:~:text=The%20Henderson%20Streets%20for%20People,actual%20experiences%20of%20the%20changes.
    https://akhaveyoursay.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/glen-eden-town-centre-cycleway-trial

      1. Ha ha no, but hey if anyone wants to get some extra planters etc to extend these trials coverage that would be feedback I would be happy to see.

  11. These thing should not be happening if the councils are bold enough to add cycleways / road safety measure without the consultations, public backlash etc.

    It is almost we are entering guerrilla warfare between the locals – councils, pro cyclist – anti cyclist, pro car – anti car, pro public transport – anti public transport.

    At this rate it will take far too long before we realise we should have done this early.

  12. https://twitter.com/leighghunt/status/1396956804391653376?s=19
    This is good work by Leigh Hunt who picked up on what the WCC officer said:

    “Council spokesperson Richard MacLean said […] the instalment was actually dangerous. School children were seen riding close to traffic on the outside of the make-shift cycle lane, apparently confused by the new installation, he said.”

    As Leigh pointed out: “So riding where they ride right now then?” The hypocrisy:

    https://imgur.com/3ERBhS8

    Perhaps the Council officer thinks kids should ride in the parking lane until they get to a parked car, and then go around it? Which is very unsafe. Or maybe he thinks they should squeeze closer in, right in the door zone.

    FFS, WCC. This is bad stuff. If the officer has been forced to defend WCC’s position, professionalism demands he do otherwise. If he actually doesn’t understand, WCC should provide him with Vision Zero training and figure out why their staff aren’t clued up yet.

    Step up to your responsibilities.

    1. WCC are very quick to act on motorists safety, but not on cyclists or pedestrians safety. It has taken them 16 years to even think about taking enforcement action against unsafe illegal footpath parking in suburban streets.

      1. Same with AT. They leave kids with non-functioning traffic signals that affect pedestrians only for weeks on end. Whereas if the traffic signals affect the vehicles, there are people sent to direct traffic.

        And in Auckland we don’t have Wellington’s outrageous bylaw allowing you to park on footpaths. It’s clear that AT can enforce. Yet it’s an epidemic all the same; they’ve even made up operation guidelines with a whole lot of baloney about when to ticket and when not to.

        The system’s broken and we need a very strong leader to fix it.

        Jacinda doesn’t seem in the least interested that this is a huge systemic problem through every aspect of road safety.

        1. It isn’t a bylaw, just a policy not to enforce outside the central city. Footpath parking has never been legal…

        2. Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 Section 6.14:
          “A driver or person in charge of a vehicle must not stop, stand, or park the vehicle on a footpath or on a cycle path.”

        3. I assumed there must be exceptions allowed to that RUR because of this article: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/124892637/wellington-city-council-proposes-to-ban-footpath-parking-in-wellington

          Thanks for getting me to look at it again… It certainly doesn’t *seem* that this could have been legal: “a 2005 council decision which permitted footpath parking anywhere in Wellington apart from the central city and suburban centres, provided at least one metre of footpath space was left for footpath users.”

          But perhaps that’s where AT got some of the operational guideline ideas from.

    2. There is a tacit understanding that if you ride your bicycle on the road you may die, and it is your own fault if you die. It is similar to walking on railway tracks. You can’t expect society to still keep you alive if you do things like that.

      A bike lane sort of ruins that understanding. How are you going to blame the cyclist if he was actually riding on the cycle lane?

      The council evidently doesn’t want that sort of responsibility.

      “Kia ora Jonathan. Temporary installments in the road corridor require a Traffic Management Plan. Ngā mihi” — https://twitter.com/WgtnCC/status/1396647736569581571

      (repeated 3 more times.)

      In other words, “computer says no”. Just an inefficient computer made of humans instead of transistors. It would be comical if it weren’t so sad.

  13. “A bike lane sort of ruins that understanding. How are you going to blame the cyclist if he was actually riding on the cycle lane?”

    And I wonder if that’s where helmet laws come in too?

    Anytime someone brings up studies on the downsides/ineffectiveness of helmet laws as a reason to drop them, there is an absolute outcry. But it can’t be all cyclists, because it would still be optional for them. Maybe its the realisation that helmets (compulsory) is ambulance-at-the-bottom-of-the-hill stuff and we should be dealing with on-road safety first, but that would mean some uncomfortable changes (like cycleways).

    1. Yes,you only have to read comments on two recent cycle deaths,basically the cyclist was “asking for it”,forgetting of course that it was a human being attached to the bike,Christchurch case particularly,sad,almost reading about myself. I don’t think there is anyway to change the narrative, so protected/off road cycling facilities are the only way forward at present.
      The bicycle is humankind’s greatest invention,it has transformed society in the past,and is being called upon to do it again,it is ready ,willing and able,we just have to allow its potential.

  14. +1 Heidi:
    Was this trial even given enough time to ‘settle’. ie; traffic and travel patterns get chaotic for a short time after the change is made, people then adapt behaviours and travel accordingly and it just becomes the norm.

  15. Worryingly, I noticed the word “Jaywalking’ appear in an Auckland Council website:

    https://ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/articles/news/2021/03/have-your-say-on-nine-ideas-to-make-ponsonby-road-even-better/

    It is apparently unsafe to unofficially alter the road to suit vulnerable users, but perfectly acceptable to unofficially introduce a legal concept that cements car dominance in the public realm.

    Professionals and wonks, please assist in killing this invasive weed before it spreads out of control.

    1. “even better” — yeah right.

      It is so good that you couldn’t pay me to go to Ponsonby.

      There are a few things of note. Eg. the phrase “clarify who has right of way”. Note that cars have priority when turning into side streets. Also I wonder how they will make it so bikes, buses, and scooters can feel safer sharing the road with cars (sic).

  16. OK here’s a bit of background of what’s happened in Onehunga:
    Maungakiekie-Tamaki board is a local board that’s been merged with Maungakiekie (Onehunga and surrounding areas) having 3 board members and Tamaki (Glen Innes, Panmure, Mt Wellington and surrounding areas) 4 board members. Maungakiekie residents voted for Maungakiekie members only and Tamaki the same. The Chairperson and deputy are Tamaki members, although a Maungakiekie member was deputy during first part of term. The LTN project is headed by a Tamaki member.

    Around mid-March (I think from the 8th March boxes were put in) a lot of people in Onehunga were upset when roads were blocked and there was little consultation and communication from the council. The board said they notified people since last year.

    We were told the first stage of the trial would last 6wks. Over time congestion got worse and people felt less safe and got even angrier. The board advised people to have there say through the council website. Over 80% of 1500+ respondents opposed. In May a meeting was held with residents having their say both for and against. Most were against. Maungakiekie board members were listening to their constituents and were also against.

    On May 11th an Extraordinary Meeting was held. Residents put forward their concerns. Maungakiekie members – which includes a local cop – again listened to their constituents. The room was told that the project was already over budget and was asking for $300k more from Waka Kotahi before the deadline for govt cash ended. And all this before the Glen Innes trial was to begin. Options were put on the table for the next phase of Onehunga – one of them was for the trial to stop and other variations of the ltn design – one of which was heavily favoured by transport authorities.

    When it came time vote all 3 Maungakiekie members stood by the majority of their people and voted for it to stop and all 4 Tamaki members – who do not reside in Onehunga and were not voted in by its residents – voted to continue. Some media/journalists have just said the vote was a close 3-4 count without giving context.

    In the days after the meeting the local police had put out a statement saying that crime had increased in the LTN area because of how quiet the area is with no through traffic and that patrolling was not as easy as before. LTN supporters have unfairly said it was scare mongering by a cop (who has also got abuse from some of these people by the way) on the board. But anyone who was around Onehunga 80’s and 90’s knew this was going to be a problem.

    The way the residents have come out and moved the boxes is no different to the Wellington cyclists putting in their lane. Yes it was wrong and illegal and not safe for all road users, but people were frustrated that people from one community were making decisions affecting the people of another community and not listening to their concerns. And also not being transparent about the project and finances. Why was this not trialled in Tamaki first, especially since most board members are from that area?

    At this point of time the trial has not worked Onehunga but it may in the future, who knows.
    Not all who opposed are against safer roads and fresher air and want to be less reliant on their cars. They have their reasons. Maybe sorting out the existing congestion on Church, Mt Smart and Nielson and then implementing the ltn in Onehunga may be the way to go, again who knows. Just a thought.

    Apologies if I’ve repeated others

    1. I’m going to ignore the rest of your comment for now (its really long, and I’m lazy tonight).
      But this increase in crime in LTN’s is a very unusual conclusion to draw.
      Firstly it was in place for a relatively short amount of time so the data from that is not so useful for long term trends (not worthless, but still). And I haven’t personally seen the data, and I’m not sure if this policeman was quoting a study, or was it was anecdotal evidence, or they have statisticians in the department producing papers. So I have no idea how accurate their claims were.

      In the UK which is a very similar culture to here and I’m sure as you know they have much more extensively and more stickily rolled out some LTNs and so have provided much of the data required for us.

      https://findingspress.org/article/19414-the-impact-of-introducing-a-low-traffic-neighbourhood-on-street-crime-in-waltham-forest-london

      If you care to skim through the link is above. here is a graph that cuts to the chase

      this paper claims an observed 10% reduction in crime in these areas.

      Next it doesn’t really make any practical sense as to why, perhaps it does in the short term, but certainly not in the longer term.
      As people switch their local trips to active modes. They are vastly more likely to act on preventing a crime, or even just notice a crime taking place if they are on foot or a bike, rather than in a car blowing past, only looking at the road.

    2. Oh and for sorting out congestion and / or traffic, its not nearly as straightforward as one would think. We simply cant keep building out more car infrastructure (most importantly due to cost imo). So that leaves improving PT (which would take space from cars) or active modes (which would also take space from cars), and in the short term (<1 year) increases congestion. But in the end would be better.

      This is a good read:

      https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2020/03/02/reducing-traffic/

    3. Auckland is pretty f***d really. People in Westmere smashing up cycle lanes, people in Taka making AT build carparks instead of housing, people in St Helliers not caring about safety, people in Devonport prefering cars over safety, people around Queen Street stuck in the 60’s and now Onehunga. I keep saying the same thing, if somewhere doesn’t want something take the improvements and money elsewhere…problem is they are doing that and the each board/ suburb doesn’t want the improvement.

      I fear for Auckland and in turn NZ, once the rest of the world gets back up to speed post Covid I fear a massive brain drain.

    4. Born and Bred, I don’t blame you for believing all of that. It’s certainly what you’re told if you follow social media. But there’s a more nuanced and complex story to hear when you’re open to it.

      For now, maybe mull on the reason the trial was requested by some caring local people…

      People have been killed in Onehunga recently because the street network is really unsafe. Children in Onehunga won’t get safe cycling for a couple of generations at least because Onehunga doesn’t feature in AT’s cycling plans (and even those that do aren’t going to get anything for a looong time because AT has lost its capability to provide it.) AT’s safety programme is small, and again, Onehunga might get raised pedestrian crossings here and there but nothing else is planned.

      With this LTN, Onehunga was invited to help experiment with a way to fix it using money from Waka Kotahi, but some of the community threw the opportunity away for everyone.

      There is nothing else on offer. Onehunga has just shot itself in the foot.

  17. Jack, for someone who is feeling lazy you sure took a bit of time to type. What part are you ignoring? The truth about how this board is formed? The truth about when and how long this trial was to last? The truth that Maungakiekie members stood up for their people? Or the truth Tamaki members and the result of the vote? What I said may be longwinded but it gives some people who may not be aware of why Onehunga residents are angry.

    You must not live in Maungakiekie because Don Allan is a well respected community policeman who knows the area as a cop and board member. There may not be a study or data available to but surely the increase in the number of callouts to an area is a giveaway? Why else would he warn people to keep themselves and vehicles safe? https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=117042370508878&id=102231408656641&set=pcb.117042950508820&source=49&refid=13&__tn__=%2B%3E (I think the original article is from Neighbourly). He is only doing his job as a cop looking after the community. It’s not fair to be dismissive of a cop just because he’s on the board. You sound like you might one of the ltn supporters abusing/bullying the cop online. I apologise if you’re not but the way you talk suggests otherwise.

    1. “ Jack, for someone who is feeling lazy you sure took a bit of time to type ”
      And it would have been a lot, lot longer to address all your points. I also dont reply immediately because I do other things, and dont wait on the edge of my seat for your replies.

      Funnily enough I do live in Maungakiekie. (I’m not about to send you my address though)
      I didnt vote in the last board elections however, and have no idea who is and is not in the board, I’ve been more interested in regional politics as the transport projects tend to be more interesting (which is what I am personally into). If he wants to go against science for short term gains / status quo populism, then I cant say I have that much respect for him (in his political career deciding transport solutions that is, I’m sure his police career was very respectable). Although saving face and his seat is how our governance is set up to cater to in this case, and I’m sure he thinks he’s doing the right thing. So I certainly wouldn’t blame him.

      I’m being somewhat dismissive because we don’t have raw data, it hasn’t been checked but independent parties, and this trial clearly wasn’t long enough to bed in and provide real world long term data. Transport patterns are decided over a many months to a year. Especially when its in Auckland with such a low base modal share for cycling, and when it was high, has mostly faded from living memory.

      No I don’t send mean things to people or “abuse / bully” them. Doesn’t seem very productive, I’m more interested in constructive, science driven solutions.

      I will concede the LTN in onehunga was clearly a failure on some level, mostly politically, and the next ones will have to have more pieces of the puzzle in place.

      As for the “truths” about the makeup of the board and where they reside, again not my real interest. You clearly know more than me, not my place to comment, especially about the us vs them Tamaki vs Maungakiekie. I will say that voters clearly sometimes have the wrong opinion, and despite not liking something and voting against it etc, in hindsight it was clearly the best and most practical option. But I do support democracy and its process, and on average it has produced the vastly better results for its people than the alternatives. (Not every decision is great however)

  18. So councils can turn up to remove pop-up bike lanes in a few hours when, last year, the Auckland council managed to install 5 (yes, five) km of cycle lanes. If only they could work as hard being positive as they are as effective at being negative.

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