Kia ora, it’s the end of July and here’s our weekly roundup.
Central Interceptor Progress
Today, a ceremony will launch the new Tunnel Boring Machine for the Central Interceptor. Watercare’s website shows:
On Friday 30 July, our 190-metre Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) Hiwa-i-te-Rangi will be launched at our Māngere site and head north digging a supersized wastewater tunnel that will help prevent wet weather overflows and clean up central Auckland beaches. The engines will be turned on for an official ‘see you later’ ceremony, and the public will be given the chance to wave goodbye on Sunday (1 Aug). Along her 14.7km journey to Grey Lynn, 15 of our crew will be working underground at any one time. Take a listen to our Executive Programme Director Shayne Cunis speaking with Kathryn Ryan on RNZ about this exciting engineering project.
Some important points we’ve learnt about the Central Interceptor:
- It’s not just a pipeline, it’s actually a really long skinny reservoir underground. It’ll have capacity to fill up during storm events. This will smooth out demand on the treatment plant.
- Many other cities around the world have similar issues with legacy combined wastewater/stormwater networks. A very similar project underway at the moment is Tideway in London (they have a great YouTube channel)
- Network separation (creating different wastewater and stormwater networks) is the long term solution to wastewater overflow problems and that is happening in parallel with a series of other projects but they’ll take longer to complete because they involve digging up a lot of residential streets in the older suburbs.
- It’ll also enable a lot more dense urban development on the isthmus, ie exactly where the development should be. Contrast this with Wellington where developers are prevented from building higher by wastewater network restrictions.
New train station and a new transit map
Along with Puhinui Station opening for passengers on Monday (which Matt blogged about earlier this week, in case you missed it) a new AT Rapid Transit Network map’s been added. It’s a lot better than it was, but we have some ideas that would improve it further.
A big improvement but a few issues still e.g.
– NX1/2 should be shown as separate routes
– stop treating buses and trains as separate
– CRL and NW bus should be shown as under construction
– the map is very squished, drop the index & stretch out it vertically https://t.co/azrJp6Y5uu
— Greater Auckland (@GreaterAKL) July 29, 2021
David Slack takes the train (and enjoys it)
In which David Slack takes the train from Tāmaki Makaurau to Palmerston North, and after purging the Mike Hosking from his brain, mulls over Jade Kake’s piece on Stuff this week (What if we crashed the housing market on purpose?), admires the scenery, and thinks about how great catching the train is:
Amtrak viewing cars are very cool and all and they give you a magnificent picture window but the Northern Explorer, man its viewing car is a different and wilder and better beast. It’s an open carriage, with safety bars, no windows, no seats and it is VISCERAL.
This is cool: a comic-book style re-imagining of Barcelona, produced by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health. The purpose of the project is to make Barcelona healthier, greener and more sustainable by sharing information in a fun and accessible way. Creative ways of communicating how to make cities healthy and safe are only going to become more important as we start to understand the big changes ahead of us.
Copenhagen finds that society profits if people ride bikes
And speaking of ways of making cities safer and healthier, we like this piece at Fast Company on Copenhagen’s data-led approach to allocating investment in infrastructure.
When the city decides on a cycling project, it compares the cost to that of a road for cars, and it includes not only the upfront amount, but also things like the cost of road accidents to society, the impact of car pollution on health, and the cost of carbon emitted to the atmosphere. After including these factors, it comes to a rather startling calculation. One kilometer driven by car costs society about 17 cents (15 euro cents), whereas society gains 18 cents (16 euro cents) for each kilometer cycled, the paper finds. That’s because of factors like the health benefits of cycling and the avoided ill-effects of cars.
Auckland cycleways have a better Benefit-Cost-Ratio than pretty much all roads
Thanks to Thomas Coughlan at the NZ Herald, we’ve learned that some of Auckland’s cycleways have a BCR of 6.8 – that means they return $6.80 for every dollar invested. Imagine if we had a comprehensive cycling network. Auckland’s cycleways might reach the giddy returns-on-investment that Copenhagen’s achieve.
The figures were released under OIA along with other transport projects to Act transport spokesperson Simon Court (thanks, Act! Look forward to seeing your support on all future cycling investments.) Auckland’s cycleways really stood out:
The second best value-for-money came from a $2.8m investment in cycling infrastructure throughout the country, which are estimated to deliver $6.20 worth of benefits for every dollar spent.
Other Waka Kotahi investments also delivered a much higher value for money than the walking and cycling bridge. A $7.7m spend on Auckland’s buses was estimated to deliver $4.4 worth of benefits for each dollar spent.
Congratulations to Auckland cycleways which have BCRs of 6.8!!
(Helped, I think, by how affordable they are)
— Thomas Coughlan (@coughlthom) July 26, 2021
Queen Street Network Changes feedback
This week Auckland Transport released their consultation findings on the Proposed Queen Street Network changes, which relate to the closure of the Victoria/Albert intersection for CRL works, and to the Queen Street Pilot project. The report covers two consultation periods in April and May this year.
The final consultation report has been released for the proposed Queen Street network changes, which included more bus priority and the removal of general traffic in certain sections. I feel like the numbers speak for themselves.
— John (@johnage) July 25, 2021
Charts like the one below make a pretty clear case prioritising walking, cycling and public transport over cars. Wonder what AT is going to do with this mandate? Perhaps they won’t believe them, and will seek out other views? That “middle” Aucklander must be out there somewhere… (as if these results aren’t similar to Aucklanders’ clear mandate given in the RLTP feedback, the local election, almost every bit of public sentiment collected by AT…)
Beyond EVs – to EEs
(Electric Excavators, we mean)
Electric cars might be what’s on everyone’s mind in Aotearoa right now, but wait until we get all-electric building sites. In Oslo, a downtown construction site is running almost entirely on electricity.
As well as the obvious benefits of lower emissions and running costs, the electric construction site had social and urban benefits as well:
Using electric equipment in place of traditional diesel engines meant that everyone in the vicinity noticed a reduction in ambient noise and pollution. “We observed shops keeping their doors open towards the street, even when construction work was going on just outside on the pavement,” says Philip Mortensen, a senior adviser at the City of Oslo’s Climate Agency. “The workers also reported much better communication on site due to lower noise levels, and that as a consequence the working environment felt safer.”
And now for the weather
It’s still raining in Europe. Do images like this make you feel a little nervous about a sub-Waitematā tunnel?
Severe thunderstorms over central London throughout much of this afternoon have again caused major flash flooding in parts of the capital.
— James Cosgrove (@MrJamesCosgrove) July 25, 2021
But it’s time someone stood up for the utes!
Just kidding. Just a great comic from the great comic artist Sharon Murdoch.
— Sharon Murdoch (@domesticanimal) July 27, 2021
Good ideas corner
Making changes to transport is key to reducing our emissions. Dr Kirsty Wild has a three strikingly simple suggestions:
Year 2 of our 10 years to 1/2 CO2. Haven’t really done anything – can expect emissions to rise again this year. What if this year we 1) Make all PT free within and between towns 2) Roll out complete bike lane networks, 3) 30km default speeds. Next year we would see a decline
— Dr Kirsty Wild (@KirstyWildNZ) July 25, 2021
Have a lovely weekend everyone!