Header image credit – Alec Tang

Here’s our wrap-up for the week.


Higher emissions on the Waikato Expressway

Waka Kotahi plan to increase the speed limit on the Waikato expressway between Hampton Downs and Tamahere to 110km/h once the Hamilton bypass is completed in mid-2022. But in a regional transport committee meeting they’ve confirmed they haven’t even bothered to look at what the impacts of that decision are.

O’Leary questioned whether there were any environmental impacts – such as an increase in emissions –on a higher speed road.

Speirs said he would look into the issue.

“I expect it will be far more efficient because cars will just drive straight through without stopping and starting.”

I’m not sure what’s more concerning, that supposedly experienced engineers don’t understand that driving faster results in more emissions or that if they did, they didn’t even bother to take that into account in their decision making. So much for being concerned about a climate emergency.


Where’s the outrage over funding this blowout?

Moving south to another expressway, it seems government ministers ignored officials advice and agreed to fund nearly $700 million extra to build the Otaki to North of Levin expressway.

Project cost estimations for Ō2NL – the Ōtaki to North of Levin expressway – have already ballooned from $817 million to $1.5 billion, a cost increase which the Government has granted, according to letters by Transport Minister Michael Wood, which were among a list of documents released under the Official Information Act at the request of Horowhenua district councillor Sam Jennings.

“From this information it is clear Ō2NL was most certainly on the chopping block and it appears it was only senior ministerial decisions that saved it at the 11th hour. The bureaucrats in Wellington wanted to kill or stall the project,” Jennings said.

“The documents confirm that around 15 April NZTA was recommending that the project only continue to a ‘route protection’ and 50 per cent property purchase state (with a budget of $180m).”

Increases in cost over numerous projects had prompted the Ministry of Transport to recommend a resounding “do not deliver” recommendation for the Horowhenua Expressway.

It’s been interesting to contrast the difference in coverage this project has received compared to the Northern Pathway despite the expressway performing worse in all assessments.

Given the government are apparently looking again at the Northern Pathway, perhaps they should do that for this project too.


Wellington’s moving – underground?

Moving even further south, a newly-surfaced proposal from Let’s Get Wellington Moving the motorway planners always have another or a bigger road project to push.

A “long tunnel” between the Terrace Tunnel and Kilbirnie would be the best way to reduce Wellington’s traffic congestion and open up land for development, according to a report commissioned by Let’s Get Wellington Moving (LGWM).

The long tunnel is part of four transport network optionsbeing considered by LGWM, the $6.4 billion transport and urban development programme focused on the area between Wellington Airport and the Ngauranga Gorge.

The Property Group, a consultancy firm, proposed a “long tunnel” – through Newtown, Mt Cook, and Te Aro – saying it would open up the most new space for housing and urban development. It would give the potential for more than 39,000 new dwellings and almost 1.3 million square-metres of commercial floor space.

It did not give a cost estimate for the proposal.

A leaked report shows a “long tunnel” between the Terrace Tunnel and Kilbirnie is among options being considered to improve Wellington’s transport network.


Record ferry cancellations in July

Auckland’s ferry services continue to be plagued by issues, experiencing a record number of cancellations in July. The problems seem to come from several corners, including the ageing fleet, supply chain issues for spare parts, and in particular, a shortage of skilled workers.

Fullers has apologised for the inconvenience, and said a key challenge it is facing is “the closed borders and the ability to recruit highly skilled workers for the marine industry here in New Zealand”.


Building Consents continue to surge

Last week the building consent numbers for June were released and it was a massive month with 1,910 consents issued, the second highest month ever and biggest this cycle. That brought our total number of consents issued over the last 12-months to over 19,000.

As a comparison, here’s what other parts of New Zealand look like on this metric.


Pedestrian safety in Auckland

Sadly, yesterday saw yet two more crashes in which pedestrians were seriously injured by vehicles in Auckland. Stuff reports that a woman was critically injured after being hit by a car on Abbots Way in Remura. The article quotes a local resident, saying:

the section of Abbotts Way where the incident happened is close to Lunn Ave, where cars often merge at high speed.

The site of the accident is not far from the intersection of Abbotts Way and Grand Drive, where in 2015 and 2016, Bike Auckland  campaigned hard for safety improvements.

Later in the day, two people were injured when they were hit by a bus on Fanshawe St in the Central City. Fanshawe St is currently two bus lanes and six lanes of traffic funneling off the motorway: an immense eight-lane moat separating the rapidly growing Wynyard Quarter from Victoria Park and the nearest supermarket, New World at College Hill. Perhaps the 820 workers moving into the area with the relocation of the 2Degrees headquarters means that it’s time for a re-think of this very unfriendly stretch of road?

Fanshawe Street as seen on Google Street View.

Finally, this article at Bloomberg seemed relevant, proposing that car advertisements that glorify dangerous driving are doing exactly that and  creating dangerous drivers in our towns and cities.

As more Americans die in crashes, the government should regulate automobile marketing and end the glorification of speeding and reckless driving as part of a broader federal commitment to reach zero traffic deaths. Americans live on 30 mph streets, not on the set of Fast and Furious.


‘Freedom to Roam’

Perhaps we could borrow from the Dutch to improve those two dangerous Auckland streets (and many others).


Thoughts on the city of the future

Newsroom published a piece this week by Dr Timothy Welch from the University of Auckland (School of Architecture and Planning) that examines the relationship between transport types and the shape of our cities and towns. The piece explains how the proliferation of the private car not only encouraged residential sprawl but created a decline in public transportation as well.

In places around the world, as more and more residents left the city for surrounding suburbs, the use of public transportation systems began to wane. Many public transportation systems, often privately operated, ceased operations. Those that survived suffered dramatic service cutbacks and were increasingly propped up by massive government subsidies.

Welch finishes with a brief summary of different sustainable city movements and concepts from the last Century or so. The concept is not new, and continues to evolve. However, he finishes with this –

one thing remains constant, to be sustainable, cities cannot rely on the personal car.


An interesting campaign

This is an interesting campaign from Pak n Save. I’m not sure what the T&Cs are and why it’s limited to just the OuterLink but it’s positive to see and I hope we see more businesses offering public transport incentives – it would certainly be better than giving fuel discounts.


Are segways the original e-micro-mobility?

This is interesting: a piece on Slate about the rise and fall of the Segway. The Segway came out in 2001, and was going to be transport’s next big thing, a sci-fi transformation of the way people moved around cities. When we look at the proliferation of e-scooters now, what happened to Segways?

The Segway did not change the world. It was not bigger than the PC. It ended up a joke, the province of mall cops and G.O.B. Bluth on Arrested Development. The Segway flopped so badly that one of its first boosters still keeps his in the garage, “to remind me,” he said, “of my own fallibility.”


How much space do 60 cars really take up?

You’ve almost certainly seen the famous images and diagrams this clever video is based on: it takes the classic ’70 people in cars vs. bus vs. bike’ comparison and animates it, asking what happens when those vehicles are moving, and parking.


The E-bike dispatch

Thought we’d finish up with a roundup of e-bike news.

Are you, or do you know one of, the many people who’ve bought an e-bike since the  Covid lockdown last year? E-bike thefts,  and insurance claimes, have jumped dramatically. This article on The Herald includes some useful security tips.


We can’t wait to see more ebike delivery systems in operation:


Alec Tang’s retrofitted e-bike consistently makes Auckland look great:


Have a great weekend, and take a bike on a public transport adventure!

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85 comments

    1. Note also the reporting.
      Whenever there is an article about Light Rail in Wellington the headline makes sure to include something like “LWGM 6 billion dollar proposal” (of which only part is for LR). But for the tunnel the cost is not put up in bold (or exaggerated).

      P.S.
      If you want to tunnel in Wellington then let’s build a metro…

      Obviously this tunnel will not be built. Neither will be LR. The only thing we will get is an additional car tunnel between Miramar and the city center (once National is back in power, until then LGWM is just a consultation machine).

      1. Lgwm was always a delay tactic until it’s politically viable to build their precious expressway thru to the airport. Utterly depressing for the capital.

    2. Well, a consultancy that specializes in land acquisitions for motorway projects recommended it, somewhat conflicted I would have thought in terms of providing independent advice.

    1. Yeah shocking.
      I assume it’s mainly due to the lack of medium and high density zoning?
      Which I guess should be addressed with the NPS-UD / new district plan.
      Wellington has really been asleep at the wheel these past 10-15 years. Appallingly governed.

  1. As banners say, limit is not a target. Most of cars are most efficient at about 80 km/h Assuming there’s no induced demand I doubt that speed limit change will increase emissions, unless they are not going to allow them to go at 150 km/h.

      1. That’s to gain the velocity ie E the kinetic energy, but sitting there at that speed that equation doesn’t really mean much.
        Highway driving it’s the energy losses, by aero drag, rolling resistance, etc that dictate how hard it is to maintain the speed. But aero drag increases with the squared of velocity, so it absolutely does decrease fuel efficiency. Usually the peak efficiency is around 90ish, depends heavily on the vehicle. Some vehicles it’s faster than that.

        1. With my Prius I find open road cruising at around 90 to be much more comfortable and cost effective than trying to maintain the maximum speed limit at all times, (always being aware of the needs of cars behind me, of course).
          On a long journey I need far less braking into corners or accelerating out of them and it makes very little difference to overall average speeds and times.

        2. And as Roeland points out, at lower speeds drivers are able to drive at a more consistent speed, with less braking and acceleration. So the most fuel efficient speed for real world driving conditions on highways will be around the lower end of that band, not the higher end.

        3. Suggestion: All diesel vehicles be subject to a 90 Km/h speed limit, indicated by 90 decal that must be displayed in the windscreen (so it’s visible to the driver, no excuses for not knowing).

          All the HT diesels already have this restriction, but it will make lifestyle utes instantly less attractive and slightly less polluting at the same time.

        4. Heidi and Gary: on this road I would set cruise control at 119kmh if there was a 110 limit. It will be a long road (~80km), good quality and with very little need to slow down and very little chance of accident.

      2. I misread the text. I thought they increasing from 70 to 100. Yes, assuming it’s the same gear in most cases 110 instead of 100 would mean higher consumption and emissions.

        1. Base load hydro in the middle of the night is a myth. Hydro is throttled back so it is available to meet the morning and afternoon peaks. I suspect river flows in the middle of the night are very low. But not many people around to see it. Why would they use water in the middle of the night when they can get higher prices for using it during the peak. Our fossil fuel plants also run all night and ramp up during the peak as well. Geothermal just run hard out all the time and wind power is generated when the wind blows. All power that is generated is used and the percentage of renewable power generated at night is not a lot higher than the day.

    1. Drag increases with the velocity squared, and power required increases with the velocity cubed. 10 km/hr extra on 100 is much more impactful than 90 to 100.

      The NZTAs own website even says that increasing speed decreases fuel efficiency.
      https://www.google.com/search?q=fuel+effeciency+vs+vehicle+speed&rlz=1CDGOYI_enNZ874NZ874&oq=fuel+effeciency+vs+vehicle+speed&aqs=chrome..69i57.8679j0j4&hl=en-GB&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8

      And more relavant stats
      4. Avoid high speeds
      Keep to the speed limit and save on fuel! Most cars, vans, pickup trucks and SUVs are most fuel-efficient when they’re travelling between 50 and 80 km per hour. Above this speed zone, vehicles use increasingly more fuel the faster they go.

      And more relevant stats, not 100% the same.
      “For example, at 120 km per hour, a vehicle uses about 20% more fuel than at 100 km per hour. On a 25-km trip, this spike in speed – and fuel consumption – would cut just two minutes from your travel time.”
      https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy-efficiency/transportation-alternative-fuels/personal-vehicles/fuel-efficient-driving-techniques/21038

      1. The ideal speed for highway conditions to reduce NOX is around 108kph. Of course GHG reductions depend on what the fuel consumption is, but rule of thumb lower at 80 than 100. So if you want to decrease CO2, then lower the speed, but if you want to reduce the really harmful toxins that are breathed in, increase the speed to 110.
        Interestingly, the worst condition for both NOX and CO2 is slow stop/start driving, such as what you get with speed bumps and traffic calming measures.

        1. “The ideal speed for highway conditions to reduce NOX is around 108kph”

          Not according to the research I’ve got open in front of me. And, of course, with modern vehicles NOx emissions have dropped significantly via other means. An increase in speed leads to higher CO2 emissions and cannot be ignored.

  2. The speed limit on the Waikato expressway (1st paragraph) will in fact be 110km/h, not the 100 km/h stated. You might want to correct this.

    1. opposition to the 110km/h limit was due to the increase in carbon emissions and fuel burn. NZTA no doubt planted some trees.

  3. That Wellington ‘long tunnel’ is absolutely ridiculous. It’s like an April fools joke which is actually somehow real.

      1. Yep , and has the Vic tunnel had any mishapes with any of the earthquakes since it was built ? .

        And the tunnels along the East Coast of the South Island after the Kaikoura Earthquake remained intact and the only major damage was at the entry points where the landslides blocked them off .

        1. Agreed, but my point was the tsunami risk, which in Wellington is very real and ever present. Consider the recent plight of chinese passengers in a tube train – and that was caused relatively slowly by rainfall.

        2. @Gary Young tunnels have a strong track record of safety if designed to local conditions and built properly. They are among the safest places to be in an earthquake. In Zhengzhou a wall that was supposed to keep high waters out of the system collapsed, letting a torrent rush in suddenly with no time to evacuate. This is probably be the first time a subway flooding has killed people.

          The biggest danger with tunnels is fire in a contained space, which of course is why we fill them up with bombs rolling on four wheels.

  4. I guess the great news is that consultations are un-necessary for changing speed limits. Someone should tell the other departments at NZTA they don’t need to do it, then we could get some real safety improvements (rather than almost pointless fuel burning) going.

    1. Give it 1-2 years it will go back to a normal speed limit as most drivers and their cars down that way will end up on the back of a tow truck , as it’s a deadly area of the country .

      1. Lol.

        If you’ve travelled much you’ll know NZ’s motorway/highway speeds are criminally low compared with most other developed nations.

        Also, our roads are not as bad as they are made out to be, nor is the volumes of traffic they carry particularly high by world standards.

        NZ’s main issue is the poor quality of kiwi driver on these roads.

        1. Our road surface is fine, but the first time me and my European girlfriend drove down south out of Auckland, eventually down to near Taihape she was laughing, what’s this? a 25 recommended turn!! while the limit is 100.
          https://goo.gl/maps/PM7oCApVamjnvff67 .

          Almost all of SH1 would be 90km/hr max back in Czech Republic (and by extension most of Europe) with no median barriers and sharp corners being a big problem, while the Waikato expressway and motorway north of Silverdale would be 130km/hr. There aren’t that many urban motorways, so its less comparable to Auckland, but the couple in Prague seem to be variable with electronic signs.
          It is notable that the Netherlands has (temporarily) limited their motorways to 100km/hr to reduce pollution, so who knows how long these high limits are for the world.

          I was thinking this could be a pretty good incentive for EV’s over ICE’s. Have a lower limit for combustion engine vehicles, and a higher one for Evs. Automated speed camera ticketing has to look up the NZTA database anyway for the plate info etc, wouldn’t be that much a of a stretch to check if the vehicle is an EV or not.

          If you were driving regularly on these motorways then you’d start thinking about it real quick.

  5. The crashes yesterday were in places with known, and extreme dangers.

    Lack of safety visibility means it’ll probably be ages before we know the context. Perhaps the bus driver was running a red light (most bus drivers along Fanshawe St do, if they’re in a position where it’ll help them; just as most coal truck drivers do on Beach Rd) or if the pedestrians were saving time by crossing on the missing pedestrian leg (their choice is that, crossing 16 lanes in 4 separate traffic light phases, or walking along to the crossing that has extremely long wait times, in two phases) or if the crash was caused by another design failure.

    I think it’s time for ACC to get involved with AT and the government’s non delivery of Vision Zero. Systemic ideological problems mean they have rejected Vision Zero’s core tenets.

    1. I walked past the Fanshawe St crash site yesterday as the ambulance doors were being closed, so I can’t speculate on the causes of the crash, but I can confirm that it didn’t look good and I hope the people injured are doing ok.

    2. This blog often talks up the role of transport advocates like Bike Auckland, and on Abbotts Way / Grand Drive it’s fair to note BA’s involvement in reviewing some of the technical details of the solution, but often it’s local groups like Residents Associations who do the long-term heavy lifting in terms of identifying issues and building support for change.

      Abbots Way / Grand Drive is a good example where the local RA advocated on behalf of the community for years with the Local Board and AT for specific outcomes in this area including improved safety for people crossing the road and cycling through the intersection. The solution that AT finally designed and implemented is no doubt not perfect, but has proved effective in delivering those improvements.

      Yesterday’s serious car v pedestrian incident happened further west, closer to Lunn Ave. Needless to say the RA has had this exact issue on their list for years… along with a long list of others that blight many of our urban and suburban streets, often due to their inappropriate car-centric design. Progress is rarely fast enough (evidently not from yesterday’s news) but there have been a dozen or more wins in the area in recent years, without which no doubt there would have been more tragic and avoidable incidents.

      If we all got more actively engaged with your local community organisations and advocate via your Local Boards, we would get more stuff done, one street at a time.

      Or, counter-factually, we leave RAs to the usual suspects, and we get what happened in St Heliers.

      1. Yes. Advocates should really be working at the systems level, using examples as required for illustration. And residents’ associations should be focused on getting good local improvements.

        Of course, the systems designers and managers are the ones who should be leading it all and pushing for systemic change.

        1. I see it differently: everyone can articulate outcomes e.g. “I want to be able to cross the road safely”; that’s where RAs come in because being local can help bring a collective voice. The technical advocates like BA can help the agencies define solutions – but don’t always get the need right. Case in point: their support for prioritising $ 685 m on a walking and cycling bridge when the need for safe cycling is essentially about local trips but it’s not really safe to cycle almost anywhere in Auckland.

        2. I don’t think BA can be criticised for not getting the need right.

          And nor does your example illustrate your point. BA supported the Northern Pathway when it was to be attached to the current bridge foundations, and after that was finally declared a no-go, they have been advocating for Liberating the Lane, not for a separate walking and cycling bridge.

          The people supporting the walking and cycling bridge tend to be those who’ve looked at the pathways for transport decarbonisation, and realise its value in that regard. Like me.

        3. Well the need in Auckland (as it is everywhere) is for safe local cycling, and the bridge proposal takes $ 685 m and a whole load of political capital and throws it on the relatively tiny number of long-distance commuters and recreational riders.

          Meanwhile, the many 100s of thousands of people of all demographics across the isthmus, in West, South and East Auckland and on the shore get nothing. Literally nothing.

          If that’s not a miss I don’t know what is.

          Of course there is a place for systemic change, which in Auckland probably starts with lowering the speed limit on residential streets, and needs the engineers to overhaul the design standards and so on.

        4. I agree that those people getting nothing is the problem. The cause is not the walking and cycling bridge, it’s wasting money (in Auckland) on Penlink and Matakana Link Rd and motorway widening and a whole lot of really badly prioritised programmes (and I can list things similarly regressive around the country).

          I realise the walking and cycling bridge was a delaying tactic by WK at best, or a way of ensuring they get a tunnel, at worst. But this doesn’t mean the W and C bridge itself is a bad idea.

          You see, this W and C bridge is a critical part of a proper network. it’s a year since the Auckland Climate Plan was published, during which time we’ve continued belching out emissions, our transport system hasn’t changed, and the RLTP continued with BAU bullshit. Everyone talks about net zero by 2050, and more recently by a 50% cut by 2030, but our actual aim and commitment is contributing our fair share to keeping global temperatures below 1.5 degrees.

          This requires immediate emissions reductions or we’ll have used up our emissions budget middle of this decade sometime. The idea of a 50% cut for Auckland by 2030!! We’re way past that. None of this is normal.

          We need a full system change, including those safer speeds and local cycling connections you mention. Be bold. Be assertive. Let’s assume they WILL happen because we’re waking up, as a society, to climate action quite quickly. How do we ensure they happen? Well, the UN says we should be spending at least 20% of the transport budget on walking and cycling – that’s $7.4 billion over the next decade for Auckland. So we can afford a really amazing network for both walking and cycling. In that network, we’ll need a quality connection over the harbour.

          We should start by liberating a lane. But we ALSO have to reduce vehicle travel by 55% by 2050, which is best achieved by reallocating 55% of road space on critical connections like the bridge. And however it is achieved, delivers up the same amount of road space. So we won’t need 8 lanes of the bridge for driving. We’ll only need 4. Leaving 4 lanes for other modes.

          We can either try to fit PT and active into those four lanes – 2 for LR and 2 for active – or we can expand ever so slightly.

          If we build anything, it should be the cheapest, least environmentally damaging structure, that provides the best outcome for people walking and cycling, as they are the ones who are travelling the most sustainably. That means the W and C bridge is perfect.

        5. “That means the W and C bridge is perfect.”

          It’s still incredibly poor value when we could, for a tiny bit more, have a fully capable active + PT bridge that does the same thing with the added benefit of PT priority.

          Saying the W+C bridge is good value is like saying the Devonport subsidised taxi service is a good deal as long as we don’t spend as much on running it as a fleet of buses would cost. It’s still bad value compared to what you could have.

        6. It’s excellent value for money because it provides space for everything we need and saves us:
          – $1.2 billion or $14.3 billion on the other AWHC options.
          – further money we’d have to put into schemes to reduce emissions.

          You need to see the C and W bridge as part of a complete package that includes lane reallocation to LR on the current bridge and that improves people moving capacity while reducing vkt. None of the other options provide this emissions reducing benefit.

          The whole thing is so frustrating because it’s clear the whole sector is a LONG way from thinking about climate planning.

        7. Heidi, Matt mentioned to me that light rail on the existing bridge is not looking feasible, due to engineering concerns about space for all the required things, emergency egress for example.

          The debate about excellent value for money is all about what you’re comparing it to. Compared to another road crossing yes it is.
          Compared to the ideal scenario (in my mind), reallocation on the bridge for walking and cycling, and upgrades to arterials for cycleways and other network improvements, its pretty poor. This doesn’t preclude transit or bus lanes on the bridge, many busses will still use it.

        8. Jack, emergency egress requirements for Light Rail (but only LR, notably not for buses??) are considered by many people I’ve spoken with as simply another barrier concocted to keep the decision-making power about an AWHC in WK’s tunnel-biased hands. Even if it is a valid concern, private cars are so very space inefficient that even IF Light Rail required three lanes of space, it’s still a good lane reallocation to do.

          Please read my comment above. Why compare one bit of the cycling network (arterials, LTN’s etc) with another bit (C and W bridge to connect up the major land masses)? We need both. We deserve both. We can afford both.

        9. Heide, you are completely wrong about CO2 emissions from the WC Bridge. The modelled patronage would take years to offset the emissions created from making all the steel and cement used in building the thing.
          There is a lot of work being done by many Government agencies and the central and local Governments themselves on meeting our climate commitments. It is disingenuous to suggest that nothing is being done. The reality is you cant see the work being done because you are not working on it.
          And we do not need to reduce vehicle travel by 55% by 2055. Where did you get that from? Road transport creates about 20% of our CO2 emissions, of which heavy freight is around 25% of that. The Central Government is consulting right now on a GHG reduction mandate in NZ fuels and they have introduced the feebate to promote BEV’s. Both of these measures will go a long way towards meeting the targets.
          In 2050 there will be more cars on our roads than there are today, they will just be cleaner in emissions than the ones on our roads today. That is why we will not be giving up road space on the bridge and any lane allocation to active mode shift will only be possible after the AWHC is built. That is the harsh reality of the world we live in.
          In order to promote active mode, experience overseas tells us that we need a fully connected network of safe cycle lanes. While a cycle path over the bridge would connect the lower North shore to the CBD and Ponsonby, the money it costs could create a much more connected network for the rest of the city. It would be wasteful in the extreme to connect Northcote and Birkenhead to the city instead of having safe cycle networks connecting all the suburbs. You are not thinking the big picture.

        10. Daniel, the Ministry of Transport’s “Hīkina te Kohupara” (Pathways to Net Zero) study contains a pathway that meets the CCC’s advice. It involves reducing VKT 39% by 2035 and 58% by 2050. Per capita VKT would have to reduce by a bit more than that. Perhaps there are other ways to meet our emissions reductions targets that are being developed in more detail but it’s hard to see how they could come out being wildly different.

          In addition there will be increasing pressure to incorporate a focus on consumption emissions, including the manufacture of cars – CCC also recommended this – which again points to reducing VKT.

          Meanwhile, transport emissions rose 8% from 2016 to 2019 and will likely be at record highs in 2021.

        11. Daniel, I am not trading the local connections and a full cycling network off against a connection over the harbour. I made this abundantly clear, by finishing my comment with, “We need both. We deserve both. We can afford both.” So I don’t appreciate your false claim that I have called for investment in a W and C bridge “instead of having safe cycle networks.” Extrapolating from your error on this point to a statement that I am “not thinking the big picture” is rude.

          Further, it would be far better if you didn’t try to use WK’s “modelled patronage” as the basis for calling me “completely wrong about the CO2 emissions.” A lot of sustainable transport planners in NZ are having to waste time and effort trying to get WK to improve how it models active modes – academics have written papers and reports on this; consultants are frustrated. With active modes the modelling problems extend beyond the usual lack of accommodating induced demand (which affects modelling of vehicle traffic as well). They also include a lack of monitored data – due to a lack of will to collect it – and lack of an understanding of the network effect. I haven’t even bothered to look at their modelled patronage for the bridge for it depends utterly on what else is rolled out throughout the city.

          In talking about connecting “Northcote and Birkenhead to the city”, you are choosing to perpetuate a myth which indicates you are undervaluing this critical link in the future cycling network and therefore underestimating its effect on network-wide ridership: https://twitter.com/ScootFoundation/status/1424176350550577159

          In “we do not need to reduce vehicle travel by 55% by 2055” you demonstrate you haven’t looked at Hikina Te Kopuhara’s pathways, let alone noticed, presumably, that these are what our Council and RCA have submitted in support of.

          Thanks for your reckons on vehicle fleet numbers, “In 2050 there will be more cars on our roads than there are today” but this reveals more your inability to imagine a change from the status quo. Research shows car ownership drops with good land use and transport planning, and given the enormous benefits of this, it’s clearly what NZ should be doing.

          Your reliance on vehicle improvements alone to reduce emissions indicates that WK, AT and MoT’s Avoid, Shift and Improve approach has escaped your notice.

          “The reality is you cant see the work being done because you are not working on it.” Huge Lols.

          I don’t actually care about building a walking and cycling bridge. We can reallocate more lanes on the existing bridge. But if we build anything at all, this is what it should be.

        12. OK, I am not looking for a fight over this. As a Milford resident and keen cyclists, I want to be able to cycle the bridge.
          That said, some of what you wrote Heide is just wrong.
          The link you gave from the ‘Scoot Foundation’ which I assume is just some guy in his Moms basement, is a joke. I ride a lot, I am at the upper level of fitness and Devonport is not 30 mins ride from the bridge for most people. Sure if we are building a cycle path for the NZ olympic cycle team, you could use those times, but most people, even on an ebike, would struggle to ride from Devonport to the bridge in less than about 50 mins. Also, why would you do that when you can catch the ferry?? Talk about a Straw man argument!
          If you don’t believe me, lets meet next weekend and see if you can do that in 30 minutes!
          I am not sure where you imagine we can ‘afford both’ when apparently we cannot afford to pay our nurses. Even when money does grow on trees (QE), NZ has more pressing problems than spending 780M on a single cycle project. We continue to have child poverty and homeless people and you are saying we can afford to build fully connected cycle ways across Auckland and a Billion dollar bridge. I suggest you are wrong and I suggest every politician knows that, including the excellent JAG.
          If you don’t want to use NZTA’s patronage figures who’s do you propose we use? If you use the patronage submitted by Skypath Trust and endorsed by Bike Auckland it still doesnt make sense. I bet you don’t even know what the CO2 construction costs are for the Northern Pathway.
          I admit I have not looked at ‘Hikina Te Kopuhara’s pathways’ mostly because I could not even find it on google. What I do know is that our councils made bold (I respect this) targets on emissions reduction targets. What I also know is that they are really going to struggle to meet these. I am one of the people working directly with these councils and the central Government to help so I know the challenge. No one in local or central Government is suggesting that the solution is to reduce vehicle travel by 55% – NO ONE!
          I am not aware of what your direct involvement is. I have been in some meetings where you were present, but it seemed your position was as an ‘interested group’ rather than a solution provider or part of the leadership teams. If I read that wrong then I apologize.
          As I said at the start, I am not looking for a fight. Climate change is a real problem and will require a lot of solutions to address. It’s good to involve as many people as possible in the discussion, but at the end of the day we need workable solutions and just saying everyone can stop driving and flying is not a credible policy to pursue.
          To end on a high note, I believe there are plenty of opportunities for NZ to become an energy self sufficient country in the future and then we just need to sort out congestion.

    1. Yes but driving without stopping at 110kph creates higher emissions than driving without stopping at 100, or lower.

      The expressway is built, this is just about the speed limit. Also while it’s a safer road than most, barriers, separation etc. there will be more crashes and they will be more severe at the higher speed. So….

  6. The Waikato expressway speed limit is for car only? I hope not for the trucks/heavy vehicle. I hate to see trucks doing 110km/hr. The NZ road code speed limit for the heavy vehicle is 90km/hr but I have seen most doing over 100km/hr. It is a problem.

  7. The difference between O2NL and Northern Pathway is that O2NL doesn’t have an 82% against rate. People are not too fussy about the figures, they just don’t like the idea! The best solution will be to 1. build the tunnel 2. free one lane on the existing harbour bridge for peds and cyclists.

        1. It is important though to have shovel ready projects for an industry that does not have the capacity to do them because supposedly there is a shortage of labour.

        2. Can we not get that by spending 15% of what is proposed for a tunnel cost on a PT bridge and then farm the rest of the savings (which if you’re committing to spend on a tunnel anyway is already dead money for the porpoises of this exercise) into a literal decade of work rolling out light rail for the entire region for the same money?

          Because I know which one is a better and more equitable use of $15b dollars.

        3. The Transport agency advised against building Otaki-to-North-Levin. It’s the government (and, I’m guessing a large section of the public) that wants to build it whatever the cost. This is about politics and vision, not bureaucracy in this case.

  8. There is no doubt that both of those accidents could have been prevented by better design. Whether bus prioritization at traffic lights,holding the green ,till bus passes, better choices for the pedestrians, basically ,like trying to swim a river in flood at the moment. Vehicles merging at speed ,with pedestrians in the mix,really.Several more New Zealanders have had their quality of life ,severely impacted,but heh,wasn’t traffic flowing beautifully up until that point. Vision Zero,only if it doesn’t impede traffic.

      1. Heidi,not really sure what the answer is, First thought is compulsion/conviction, testing the relevant authorities in court for their failures, but that seldom works long term. In a couple of my transport related jobs, both family owned businesses, safety of the employees was taken very seriously, by the actual owners of the companies. Any one new coming on board, soon got the message, safety first, at the expense of operational efficiency, and cost.
        So l guess my answer is you have to want Vision Zero,and not look on it as an impediment to efficiency, it needs to be constantly reinforced and it starts at the top.

        1. It might be worth pointing out to said agencies that traffic flows better on a road that isn’t closed to emergency vehicles at the time and for the next 8 hours by the Serious Crash Unit.

  9. The cars/bus/bikes animation is really excellent. It shows clearly that a car-based transport system very quickly result in sprawl because of the space required for all the cars.

    This applies even more to new developments; bleak emptiness is amplified by the future provision for the necessary car parking. Even more reason to get the PT and active modes in early.

    1. I’d love to have seen time on that video as in; after 2mins what %age of the travellers would have passed GO? Any of you numerates out can tell us??

  10. Fullers must be shown the door.

    The most certain thing a commuter can rely on with our ferry system is they will not show up.

    A lot of hard work has gone into better wharf facilities and connections only to be undone by this idiot company who cover all failure bases by having insufficient staff and worn out ferries.

    Can AT buy a fleet, as per the EMU’s and invite operators to tender? Everyone but Fullers that is. It’s the only way around it I can see.

  11. I wonder why the Outer Link was chosen by Pak ‘n’ Save? The route doesn’t go near enough to any of their stores…

  12. Well done to Pak n Save for their public transport promotion.

    But surely this is only the start? I wrote to Foodstuffs a couple of months ago expressing my disappointment that one of NZ’s most respected brands have a constant promotion to make petrol cheaper. In a climate emergency why would an organisation be facilitating customers driving more? I can understand that an organisation would want to reward their customers who spend more, but couldn’t they pick a more worthwhile product? Maybe even groceries?

    Taking a wider view, hasn’t the time come for the government to legislate against all loyalty schemes that promote greater vehicle use, and flying?

    1. Yeah agreed. It would be better if we could get a HOP card top up instead of a fuel discount voucher with our groceries. If one of the supermarket chains offered this, I would definitely make a point of shopping there more often.

      At the moment a 6c/litre fuel voucher gets you a $2.40 discount on a fairly typical 40 litre refuel. Imagine being able to get a code which you could use to top up your HOP card for $2.40. It would make PT cheaper than driving for me, at least one day a week.

      1. I like the idea. But I suspect a large proportion of so called $2.40 discount is from the fuel companies where the price is just increased to take it into account.
        AT (so us ratepayers) would be the ones paying to support the supermarkets!

        1. AT generally aren’t interested in that sort of thing, I thought? I believe with events, the free PT is paid for by the event organiser. I would’ve thought Pak n Save is paying for this promotion…?

          Of course, the Council carparks like the shoppers’ carpark next to Countdown at Pt Chev are currently funded by us ratepayers, so by your logic ratepayers really should be balancing that subsidy.

          Oh for just one of those carparks to park our bikes in, though! (And we’ve certainly tried. But at some point in time, the effort residents put in to try to improve our local centres – with no results whatsoever to show – dries up. There’s been a squandering of local goodwill that is quite depressing.)

  13. I get the feeling that Wood is being overruled at the top by GR and JA due to public backlash (cycle bridge, ute tax, Levin motorway, etc). Did we vote for change or for more of the same? Vote Green next time…

    1. I’ve voted Green last two elections. Labour are only marginally to the left of National, and most of their somewhat leftish rhetoric is simply that – rhetoric (or hot air).
      At heart Jacinda is a conservative, provincial gal.
      Bit of a phoney if you ask me.
      Maybe harsh.

      1. Amen to that. The only difference between Jacinda and Collins is one specialises and spin and the other does not.

        Both Labour and National are closer to centre right then the Greens or historic Labour. Modern NZ Labour is more Lib Dem then socialist.

        Spin only gets you so far.

  14. Imagine replacing cars in that video with the utes that dominate our roads, probably 3 times the space required. If buses are the most space economical of all in this comparison, I imagine that trains are twice as spatially economic.
    The double cab ute would appear to be evil in every respect, not to mention that their back seats can’t fit a car seat and the trays can’t fit a bed. Utterly useless!

  15. I wonder if route 1B will continue once the bypass is finished. I use it occasionally when I visit my son in Wairoa. Always enjoy the drive for a bit of diiferent scenary. The expressway is real boring only cars and the native plants they like to line new roads with to see. There is no same day Intercity bus between Auckland and Wairoa although the return is possible but you get into Manukau pretty late. Still it is a long day no matter how you travel.

  16. Do e bikes have a steering lock that might help if the only way to ride them is round in circles. I seem to remember locks that ran through the spokes. I am beginning to think e scooters especially small ones are a better option than e bikes. You can take them where you go such as into a shop or onto a bus. I see the Waikato buses have bike racks but haven’t seen one being used yet. More innovation is needed.

    1. I’m of the opinion that e bikes are for going all the way to your destination, work for example, where you have private secure storage. You can go longer distances so this is more viable.
      Whereas normal push bikes are for the bike bus or train integration, or just shorter distances in general. Leaving them at the station parking.
      Bikes on public transport (especially land transport) tend to scale very poorly. The space required is just too much. But the intended density of the rapid transit network means that you will be able to reach a station within 10 minutes so its not such an issue to not have an e bike.

      The stolen market for e bikes is really strong, they’re too great of a target to leave it vulnerable for most of the day.

  17. The bus accident on Fanshaw Street was entirely predictable. Buses drive very aggressively along that stretch of road frequently anticipating the lights and changing lanes without warning. I have seen so many near misses which have been reported to Auckland Transport in recent weeks it was only a matter of time.

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