Kia ora koutou kātoa (that’s our best Ashley Bloomfield impression), we’re settling into Level 4 life once more, and hope you’re going OK.

It’s been quite a week all around the motu, with good news and not-so-good news. It was encouraging to hear at the 1pm briefing yesterday that there is a likely link between the current community cases and a recent MIQ case.

However, there are (as of this writing) now over 100 locations of interest all over Tāmaki, including at least three schools. You can check the official list here, and the Spinoff has a handy map version.

Moving on to our weekly roundup…

How will you look back on this time?

Researcher and storytelling-guru Jess Berenston-Shaw had a powerful essay on Newsroom on Wednesday, as we went into our first nationwide day at Level 4 since April last year. Jess is really good at pointing out the problems and missing links in climate-change messaging, and how that messaging is connected to the slow pace of systematic change.

One of the things getting in the way of action at the right level and scale is the framing of who needs to do what and how to make the biggest difference to our climate and biodiversity.

We keep framing individual level change, and it’s causing people to opt out.

Ask any pollster these days about whether they think we will do anything about climate change, and most have a depressingly grim response “Oh people want change, but they are not willing to change themselves”. Ask the public if they want change and they say yes, but many don’t believe we will do what is needed. Fatalism about action is a massive barrier to actually acting.

Systematic change, she reminds us, should not rest on the shoulders of individuals.

It is way past time to stop asking people if they are willing to change. It’s time to focus instead on how those with the power to do so, and especially those responsible for our “public good” people in government, will help us get back the things that have been taken from many of us. That is how future “us” will feel proud.

Telling the wrong stories

Speaking of the power of storytelling, a piece by Hayden Donnell on Radio New Zealand’s Mediawatch programme picked up on the strange imbalance that exists in the reporting of cycling projects versus roading projects. Where are the howls of rage about all the massively overblown, low-BCR roads?

The Ōtaki to north of Levin highway had a BCR of 0.37 in 2018 when it was projected to cost $817m.

In the latest funding round that price tag has blown out to $1.5b and the BCR is now thought to be 0.2 or lower.

Unlike the bike bridge it will encourage more people to drive, leading to more carbon emissions, which the IPCC has identified as a key player in a catastrophic unfurling environmental disaster.

Despite that, outside of a few news reports on potential court challenges to the proposal, the media response has been muted.

Here come the e-police (maybe)

Police recently trialled using ebikes to get around, with positive results. Stuff reported on the trial back when it started, and Twitter user @felixmarwick has helpfully provided a link to the findings report, which can be viewed online here. From further down in this Twitter thread, findings included:

Officers could get around more easily – esp’ in cities

Community engagement was improved

They made a difference to road safety

At this stage, no recommendation has been made around future use of ebikes by the police.

Other things e-bikes are good at

One great thing about getting an e-bike is realising how easy it is to leave your car at home: an e-bike can do most of the things that we usually use cars for. This is backed up by the research –

And this inspirational tweet from Wellington cycling advocate Alex Dyer –

Dr Kirsty Wild is also one of the authors of a new research paper about gender and e-bikes. Based on interviews with riders, retailers, and policy-makers, it looks at how e-bikes can be an “equaliser” – especially for distance commuting and trips involving childcare – although barriers still exist, including economic constraints, and blokey bike shops.

The paper also notes the pluses and minuses of a focus on getting-everywhere-quickly (and getting-everything-done), versus the social and sensory joys of slower travel. Among the verbatim descriptions is this gem from one mum e-cyclist:

“The girls do this thing, so you know there’s two seats, you face forward and they’ve both got handles, but frequently I’ll feel some jiggling and she has done it when we’re moving, but mostly when we’re stopped at the lights or something, [my oldest daughter] will turn around so that she and [the youngest one] can have a meeting. They have a meeting on the back of the bike, which normally involves like a singing contest or something.”

Bridge to Nowhere, for Now

As with last lockdown, the pedestrian bridge in Wynyard Quarter remains in an open position, which is to say, closed to pedestrians – even though surely no boats will be going in and out.

This leaves tens of thousands of city residents – who are looking for daily fresh air at the moment – compelled to take the long way round for the duration of lockdown. Also, to quote one of the many, many flummoxed commenters on this situation: “it’s amazing how much of the RMA — which is supposed to be about protecting the environment — is actually about giving priority to private vehicles over pedestrians.”

Our CRL essential worker

This has to be the only essential worker doing this particular job in the country: Dame Whina Cooper, the CRL tunnel boring machine. The CRL press release webpage reports that the TBM will keep moving at reduced capacity during Level 4. Says Dr Sean Sweeney, City Rail Link Ltd’s Chief Executive:

“This low-level operation will allow us to remove the risk of pressure from earth settling around a stationary TBM and ‘trapping’ the machine. If that happened here, the costs and time involved in freeing the TBM would be catastrophic and completely derail the project.” Details of the low level operation are being finalised.

The CRL works site at Mt Eden Station, taken yesterday. Photo – Greater Auckland

Welcome to the team, Siren Kings

How did we miss this? These guys have been around, making noise on bikes, since 2016 – and popped up in The Guardian this week  They’ve also been featured in a recent TVNZ documentary series.

The scene is devoted not only to volume, but to the purity and clarity of sound, and choosing the perfect song for the medium. One champion song is Céline Dion’s The Power of Love.“That will smash anyone in a battle – that song is dangerous,” Ci’i says. “It’s an old favourite from when sirens first started.”

More noise on bikes

This won’t be for everyone, but we kind of want to see who in the GA readership is a drum and bass fan. If that’s you, drum and bass on a bike might just be your YouTube happy place.

Dom Whiting is a 25 year old car mechanic who moonlights (daylights?) as a cycling DJ, roaming around UK cities on his modified turntables bike like a kind cycling, thumping pied piper.

I started off with a couple cool static streams in random places but decided that I wanna take it to the next level! I was out for a drink one night with a friend and the suggestion of a biking & DJing came up.

I didn’t really take it seriously at first but by the next morning I was searching high and low for a bike suitable for what was in my head. Lo and behold I found something and the modification build was on!

Here’s Dom drawing out hundreds of local cyclists in Birmingham:

Spring has sprung…

…and promptly been squished again, at least on one small patch of Parnell. What is the opposite of “placemaking”?

A very good question upon which to end the week

From Todd Niall: “Who will lead Auckland emissions reduction if there is no leader?” 

Cutting transport emissions by 64 per cent from where they were in 2016, will require extraordinary leadership, capable of convincing a majority of Aucklanders to change their lives and travel habits.

In short, to use their cars less.

“Leadership” was not mentioned once in the 75-minute debate by the environment and climate change committee, which launched work on a Transport Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP).

Niall points out that the Mayor (whoever it is) must lead the vision, but Councillors “will also need to work on their own courage levels, faced with endorsing perhaps the most radical change to Aucklanders’ lifestyles, while seeking backing from voters.”

Perhaps they can all take courage from the adaptability of Aucklanders at large who, tasked with a well-communicated but sudden move to Level 4 for all the right reasons, have snapped into action and are playing their parts?

Header image this week: sun rising over the city on day 2 of Level 4.

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  1. The Te Wero Bridge should be left closed so ordinary people who live in town can use the area properly for exercise. Aren’t there emergency powers that could be used?

      1. This is the first thing that came to mind. Funny to read the complaint in the post: “people going out for exercise have to take the long way around.” ‍♀️

        1. Hahaha – on the same post some are arguing for ebikes to promote cardiovascular health, but here it’s about the inconvenience of a longer walk for exercise.. doh!
          I assume that these bridges are left open for the emergency or permitted use of marine craft. People need to look at the bigger picture and stop thinking only of themselves.
          Back to ebikes, tax free motorcycles, I would really wonder how much GHG reduction (if any) they provide. The frames are made from Aluminium in China, created from coal powered electricity and Australian bauxite. The expensive frames are made from carbon fibre that is made from oil products. The battery is produced from lithium and cobalt that is mined using a workforce that is not paid a living wage in mines in places like the DRC using heavy diesel equipment.
          All these components are shipped to China from all over the world on ships burning heavy fuel oil.
          After the bike and battery is put together, by a work force that has no employment rights, it’s shipped all the way to NZ on vessels burning oil. Once here, 30% of the electricity that will charge the battery is from fossil fuel, some of it from imported coal.
          It is quite probable that a small car with full occupancy, will have a smaller GHG cost per person 🙁
          As for the health benefits, pedal assistance takes away the effort. Most people riding an ebike would struggle to get their heart into fat burn.
          Not to say I don’t like these. I have an S Works Turbo Levo SL on order right now. If you care to Google it, you will see it costs more than many cars. I am just not kidding myself that I will be saving the planet when I ride it.

        2. Daniel, you have to compare a newly imported and manufactured bike to a newly imported and manufactured car. Hundreds of kilos of aluminium or steel vs a few kilos. It’s essentially all the same resources, except significantly less. Also use average occupancy for vehicles (~1.2 for cars). Lithium is no saint, and neither is the electricity, but wait until you hear about oil production, you’ll be amazed.
          The demand from e bikes is also incredibly low. All the e bikes in the Netherlands consume roughly the same yearly output as one wind turbine. Arguably, if you eat less as a result of expending less energy you are saving emissions over a regular bike (day to day)

        3. The research into the emissions-reducing success of e-bikes is substantial now. Daniel has clearly not tried to keep up. This will be affecting his understanding of how to reduce emissions significantly.

          Yet he says he advises local and central government. I guess they will listen if they want to, but it would be good if they wanted to follow an evidence-based path.

        4. I’m disappointed that Daniel wrote a big thing about ebike and caused distraction from the funny comments about the bridge.

        5. Daniel Burgess, you’ll go straight to hell for that comment on this blog, honest as it is.

          My neighbour is green, uses PT, sold their ICE car and bought a Nissan Leaf, even skate boards between places. Works from home at times. An example to the rest of us mortals.

          And has been burning bloody coal all weekend out their chimney shrouding my place in the smoke!

    1. It’s not the only bridge in this situation. The bridge over the Wairau Stream giving access from Beach Road to Milford Beach is also raised. Lets people come and go in their pleasure craft (not a permitted activity) but prevents walkers from taking their exercise at the beach (a permitted activity under level 4). This bridge is evidently also controlled by the person who operates the Te Wero bridge. It should be down.

      1. Wait, there is remote access to these bridge controls surely?

        So somebody could VPN from anywhere and with credentials (and training to check CCTV) operate the controls.

        If a boaty really needed access (unlikely as that might be), then presumably they could call or dock outside the marina area and request access from some unmanned kiosk

    2. They left it up so the Rich can to escape to the Barrier and to take the virus with them . Like they did with other lockdowns .

      1. As we are in a non-movement lockdown none of those vessel should not be allowed to move anywhere unless they are an emergency craft . So just leave them lockup up until we get to Level 2 .

  2. This is a democracy. Those with the power to affect climate change are elected only by “the people”.

    So either way, we still need individuals to act, both in their daily lives, AND at the voting booth.

    That first piece is an example of more passive climate change denial, through justification of personal inaction. It IS a moral decision you’re making everytime you get behind the wheel or other destructive action, weighing your immediate needs ahead of the inevitable suffering it will cause others later. Just relying on ticking a box every 3 years is a moral abdication, and no different to a “China first” attitude to reducing emissions.
    Must try harder.

    1. It’s a response to the enormous problem that the corporate and government status quo world are avoiding making systems changes, by relying far too much on individual responsibility. I’ll give you an example. Lisa Daniel, of Air New Zealand, at the Climate Change and Business Conference last year. Asked by the facilitator of the session:

      “You are the new Minister of Transport, Michael Wood… You want to promote key initiatives in the transport space to substantially decarbonise by 2030 our transportation sector. Please share…”

      She replied:

      “My first one is around that behaviour change one… It’s incumbent on all of us to do that and it’s completely within our power… It requires more knowledge, education and it requires people to care. Paul, you mentioned it’s up to organisations to change, and I agree with that, but actually, organisations change when their people ask them to change, too. So I think that is something that’s real kind of personal responsibility. Could be driven by a big comms branding piece.”

      This is manipulative bullshit – and well-honed by the industry – from a highly damaging and subsidised organisation that – if people ACTUALLY took responsibility for their behaviour – wouldn’t exist.

      1. …and change that Air NZ opposes with its advertising of air travel.

        Same with the car industry that pushes the most polluting vehicles and suggests that they are only responding to personal preference.

        Corporations actively make our decisions with what they choose to promote.

      2. Haha – yep, classic. Through the BS she’s basically asking us to do our very best to eliminate air travel. And she’s probably right:) So, the solution? Individual responsibility, 5 million times over. Oh no, 7 billion times over. There’s no other way out of this mess. We need to stop kidding ourselves, regardless of how much fun AT bashing might be…

      3. “organisations change when their people ask them to change”

        She needs take personal responsibility, and ask her organisation:

        – to back-pay for damages already made
        – to fix up the CORSIA and bring in carbon taxes – urgent
        – say sorry for underpriced “flight carbon offsets” = disinformation

      4. Air NZ do say that NZ is “uniquely placed to be an early adopter of next generation aircraft (electric, hybrid and/or hydrogen). Air New Zealand is working with several aviation equipment manufacturers to accelerate development and deployment of future aircraft and engine technology.” I’d like to know more details, e.g. how much they are actually investing in this. Even if the short-hop electric plane like the one Sounds Air is backing for the 75 km Blenheim-Wellington route does become a reality, it will not reduce aviation emissions overall.

        1. If the tech existed to do this (it currently does not), like NZ in general, Air NZ would be one of the last businesses to introduce them.

          European airlines will be all over electric airliners when then become reality, long before Air NZ, to the benefit of us all.

      5. It is pointless expecting companies to show ethical or moral leadership. Companies are set up to maximise profit. A few companies will pretend to care if they think there is a dollar in it. Change can only happen if each decision a company or individual makes includes the full costs. Air NZ will continue carrying people extremely long distances until either Air NZ or the potential passenger gets hit with a fee. The UK did it years ago. We could require the same, based on a realistic cost for carbon not some subsidised version that encourages its production in order to prop up the tourism industry. Fees, penalties, taxes or carbon credit purchases that reflect the full impact can and do work. Yet we have an ETS that isn’t allowed to do this.

  3. That Ōtaki to north of Levin would be far far better suited to a project like the dome valley upgrades.
    Most peoples legitimate concerns are about the safety of the road. So fix the safety. Don’t light a pile of money on fire for a highway that has the lower traffic levels as Manukau road.

    The model used in the dome valley is far more appropriate for these situations.
    Massive safety upgrade, the dome valley is much more difficult terrain, so kind of provides a worst case scenario example. Yet its still a far far cheaper project.

    1. Transit NZ’s* dream of the 90s publicly stated that by 2020 there would be an expressway from Warkworth to Cambridge (almost there) and Wellington to Levin (not there yet).
      They need a new dream, instead of a new name.

      *Now Waka Kotahi, they have a new name every decade. What will it be next?

  4. The main difference between Siren Kings, Drum’n’Bass Kings, and Headphone Kings is that Headphone Kings don’t annoy people.

    It’s easy to be a Headphone King — just wear headphones in public.

    1. Are those bike kids the same as the people who drive through the city centre, and some parts of suburbia, play 10 seconds of extremely loud music and then drive off? Usually in a car. Not really to do with any “battle”, or at least there aren’t two groups present at the same time.

      The people I’m talking about apparently have a “circuit” that varies enough to not get caught, or the police just don’t care. One of my friends became pretty sleep deprived (they take a while to go to sleep) and so uncomfortable in their downtown apartment they moved out to somewhere where these people dont go. Seriously negatively impacted their life. Noise pollution in the city is almost as bad as air pollution IMO and should be unflinching crushed. Same goes for loud bikes and cars.

      “Just wanting to be heard” vs actively, indiscriminately, making random peoples lives significantly worse.

    2. I don’t think a subculture which involves cars driving around the central city at 3am playing tinny music at extreme volumes via emergency sirens is the “coolest”. Perhaps you’ve never had them park on the street near your dwelling blasting the distorted noise that comes out of these speakers in the middle of night.

      It makes the central city and anywhere else these cars frequent especially unpleasant in the weekends, where being woken up by your windows rattling is constant.

      1. Sirens can’t reproduce bass frequencies very well at all (hence why they’re playing Celine Dion and stuff). The central city window rattling you’re complaining about is people in cars with big subwoofers. Those people tend to congregate in the desolate expanse of surface-level carparking that is the City Works Depot.

        1. Totally – people respond to the environment we give them. Vast expanses of carparks without people living nearby will attract antisocial behaviour, just as wide, straight, uninterrupted roads are great places to go hooning.

    3. Putting my hand up as the person who put both ‘siren kings’ and ‘drum n bass on a bike’ in roundup this week. I think that being a person in a lively city means being open to the weird and wonderful subcultures that exist around you, even if they’re not *your* subculture. From the guardian article, this is the siren kings in their own words: “It’s us having fun at the park, keeping away from selling drugs, from getting into gangs, following the wrong path. It keeps our mind off the struggles that we go through.”
      And as for drum n bass on a bike, well there’s lots of ways to do placemaking and community building. The bike DJ dude is able to get dozens – hundreds – of people out on bikes; what he’s doing is making a different kind space for people to experience their city, together.

      1. Notwithstanding the torture that late-night hooning can bring for insomniacs in particular! I know the pain well. But that seems more like a car (and roads) issue than a young-people-on-bikes issue.

      2. I love me a subversive, technically clever, music-based youth culture.

        I’m someone with a strong dislike of noise, but the noise that bothers me comes from the constant motorway and road noise. Something I can’t escape at any time.

        I imagine almost anything that makes bikes cool is a good thing.

        1. Motorway noise is annoying, but just try to live in the city centre for a while — with the constant noise of loud car and motorcycle exhausts, engine braking on trucks, and people hooning around with those loudspeakers.

          You’ll be very happy if the constant drone of a motorway is the worst you have to endure.

          Let’s put industrial speakers on cars or bike? Squash that subculture with the biggest proverbial sledgehammer money can buy.

      3. I’m not into *mime* subculture either, but I’m open to that as a weird and wonderful subculture because it doesn’t dominate and prioritise personal choices over those of everyone else who wants to share the space.

        I think anyone who has been on a bus near someone using a Bluetooth speaker can understand.

  5. Phil Goff was quite animated in asking Aucklanders to adhere to the requirements needed to bring Covid under control. In direct contrast ,to his one line statements on climate change.
    Both have the capacity to cause health issues and loss of life,Covid,much more immediate, but Climate Change more deadly. There is this irrational,to me anyway,response to have things to return to “normal”. The planet doesn’t do normal anymore, and reminds us of that everyday.
    Goff should recognize the political vacuum,he’s creating right now, and declare his hand,one way or the other, having said all that , there’s a very uninspiring potential list of replacements

  6. Interesting point about how individuals should “just try harder”. So we shouldn’t wait three years for an election or even one year for another climate weather disaster, we should get cracking on the infrastructure that’s needed right now, like the Wellington pop-up crew did recently?

    Maybe this also explains something I’ve been wondering about – why local kids have never built a protected bike path to their school. They just needed firmer moral encouragement all along and maybe some adults to supply the plan and the budget and the tools.

    You know, this “try hard” advice could have real merit, if everyone gets on board with it 😉

    1. Yeah, I think wheelchair users should try harder to get crossings that don’t tip their wheelchairs over. You’d think they’d care. And elderly people who can’t cross the pedestrian crossings in time should be trying harder to get the traffic light phasing changed. Clearly incumbent on them.

    2. Facetious, spurious crap. We do need to try harder, at all levels, all the time, everywhere.

      If you’re looking for a reason people don’t engage with this, its partly because of the facile, not-me bollocks that is widely accepted in the face of the biggest environmental catastrophe since the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 65 million years ago, and we are making it worse every single day. We can only try to imagine what future generations will think of us.

      Of course we need cycling infrastructure etc, but its an absolute pittance compared to what can be gained by genuine behavioral change.

      Please don’t dismiss the difference you can make on a personal level, its huge.

      1. “Facetious, spurious crap.” No, it’s the central issue. People can’t make good choices if we don’t have good systems.

        “If you’re looking for a reason people don’t engage with this” – With what? Are you sure they don’t? And who says Curious Cat is looking for a reason?

        “the facile, not-me bollocks” – most egregiously witnessed at Cabinet, Board and executive level.

        “Of course we need cycling infrastructure etc, but its an absolute pittance compared to what can be gained by genuine behavioral change” – The evidence shows that providing the infrastructure to enable behavioural change means people do make significant behaviour change. So does systems change to balance the fiscal incentives and disincentives by removing subsidies for parking, driving, polluting and car ownership.

        I’ve made changes on a personal level for decades; even set up an organisation for co-support of same, and to help others see and value the changes they could make. My home has been visited by community, education and climate action groups over many years, as inspiration, and I’ve been interviewed by researchers.

        I regret that wasted time. We didn’t make progress, because the low-carbon systems weren’t in place. I should have spent that time, instead, fully devoted to campaigning for systems change.

        Pushing the need for personal responsibility in a vacuum of functioning low-carbon systems is a known, overplayed and destructive climate denial mechanism.

        1. Humankind has never faced a crisis anything like this, Heidi. We’re going to need good systems, but we need to shoot way, way further than that.

          If we all genuinely cared, we would take the effects of climate change in 200 years time and act like they were affecting our own children, today. Imagine the response we’d get. Imagine the immediate societal change. And politicians and business leaders would have to respond to that change, because that’s what they do.

          I totally admire your commitment to better government policy, its great. But climate change will still happen anyway unless the seriousness and urgency weaves its way into the general moral fabric. And that needs individuals to accept it.

        2. So what do you want people to do then?

          Ride a bicycle for their local trips? That is fair enough (it is both much cheaper and much more effective than switching to an electric car), but now let’s see how this interacts with government policy.

          Most streets are designed for cars. There’s still a footpath but that is more or less vestigial. If you’re not in a car, it will be extremely awkward and often dangerous to use our streets.

          Do we have road rules for bicyclists? No. We just ask them to somehow follow the same rules as car drivers. This doesn’t work. These rules are written with the assumption that you’re usually able to go at the speed limit — 50 — and that a little fender bender is no big deal. Trying to follow these rules with a bicycle is suicidally dangerous.

          What if someone in a car decides he doesn’t like you today, and intentionally gives you a nudge with his car? You can have him on video with both his face and license plate in clear view, and the Police will often still just shrug it off.

          And you want people to ride a bicycle in these conditions?

          This is the main criticism of government policy, it spends a lot of time and money to actively block people from making those choices.

        3. Roeland,

          Riding a bike is hardly ideal, ay! The experience could be greatly improved nearly everywhere, with some localised exceptions. Often kinda freaky and inconvenient, at worst downright dangerous. Its totally reasonable that potential riders feel put off. Action is urgently needed to address it, and I’ll keep doing my small part pestering the right people and support the work of GA and BA etc.

          But as it stands, climate change will eventually mean enormous loss of life (around 2 billion by 2250 according to current vague estimates) recurrent and worsening famines, foreign conquests, and a mass extinction, among other treats. Covid is barely a stone in the shoe by comparison.

          What I’d like people to do is to weigh these things up through a single lens, and unselfishly make the best choices they can, based on what exists now. How can you justify driving at all in this climate and cause so much grief in the future, if you’re capable of riding a bike? Even with the roads as they currently are?

          Of course its going to be different for everyone, and hard at times to make the right call. But vilifying politicians and letting everyone else off the hook is the easy option. We need everyone to make the big changes if we’re going to stave this beast off for our descendants.

        4. “What I’d like people to do is to weigh these things up through a single lens, and unselfishly make the best choices they can, based on what exists now”

          You’ll be waiting a long time then.

      1. Yes this shows the strange disconnect between health and safety rules on the road, vs. at work.

        We’re lucky that commuting to work is not covered by H&S rules or walking and cycling to work would be outright illegal.

  7. I came across a couple of youtube videos from someone whose had a look at a gondola across Auckland Harbour. Not a full-on analysis but something to get people thinking.

    Quick summary of the route:

    Longer video covering some of the technology and possible route to Devonport:

    He’s estimating 3000 people/hour each way with a big system, which is perhaps 20% of what a light rail will do but still equivalent of over a car lane each way. But I’m still not sure if it is worth expanding the effort for a system that won’t been seen as useful by 95% of people.

    1. Got as far as his criticism of the walking and cycling bridge “It just wouldn’t be a very enjoyable activity… won’t be very much fun”

      Excuse me? Clearly he hasn’t walked or cycled over our existing bridge. It’s very enjoyable. It’s fun.

      1. 100% Heidi, so much fun that if we had a lane on the bridge/a walking and cycling bridge, I think I’d head up there most days.

  8. “This has to be the only essential worker doing this particular job in the country: Dame Whina Cooper, the CRL tunnel boring machine.” – Except for the two TBMs working on the Central Interceptor project, which will be doing the same thing.

    1. It’s good to see them moving as I wouldn’t want to be the one trying to dig it out after the pressure of the earth compresses around it , and hopefully Watercare does the same as where they are under the Manukau would make it slightly harder .

  9. There were a couple of articles in the Herald earlier this week that I thought would make it on to the weekly roundup, discussing Dominion Rd:
    Business owners fear the construction period in light of the the Albert St experience. Proposing GPS positioned trackless trams based on existing Chinese tech, used there an in Europe and being considered by Perth for a line to Scarborough Beach.
    Opinion piece on the same
    Opinion piece noting the business association have shown dedicated lanes for cycling on their illustration

    1. The business owners concerns are valid but they’re not being provided with good quality information. The current light rail “consultation” hasn’t helped by providing information lacking in detail and then asking the community what they think. This includes concept art for light rail running grade separated (in a trench) and light rail running at grade (on the surface).

      Albert St was dug up for so long because a trench was being dug something like 15m deep and tunnels constructed using the cut and cover method. A process that took years. Building grade separated light rail down Dominion Rd wouldn’t be quite so slow (because it wouldn’t be as deep) but it’d be just as disruptive for the duration.

      Trackless trams won’t run on NZ roads without fully rebuilding the road (due to their weight). This will involve a similar level of disruption for a similar length of time as just laying light rail tracks. This is still likely weeks to months of disruption but a lot better than the years needed for a grade separated system.

      These sort of “whatabout [emerging technology]” ideas are the product of a consultation process that doesn’t properly explain to people the problems that it is trying to solve or the trade-offs involved. At grade light rail solves a slightly different set of problems than grade separated light rail, light metro, trackless trams or bus rapid transit. They each have different strengths and weaknesses.

  10. With regards to the comments on Air NZ’s advertising, and considering advertising in general, I think a climate crisis should bring a few changes:

    No cheap fuel promotions.
    No ICE-powered vehicle prizes in competition promotions.
    A climate warning on all adverts fossil fuels and fossil-fueled transport.
    A requirement to display the emissions profile of vehicles being advertised, in a standard size and for a standard time, as part of the advertisement.
    And while we’re at it, perhaps display the energy-star ratings of all appliances being advertised.

    The continued promotion of big diesel utes as lifestyle extensions makes me sick. Sure, it’s a personal choice what vehicle you buy. But one not without global consequences.

    1. Andy, well said. And every time we are asked to submit about reducing transport emissions we should say this. I would add to this list air points.

      Or we should be saying this to our MPs.

      None of this stuff will destabilise the economy and so should be an easy fix. What possible argument can Foodstuffs and Countdown have that their economic success is reliant on cheap petrol promotions? Couldn’t they offer cheap groceries?

      Like wise what is the rational for Mitre 10 and others being able to offer air points. Or airlines being able to offer points for domestic travel?

      This is the low hanging fruit that a government that is serious about climate change should already have underway.

  11. The glass is half full vs. half empty.

    They’re actually maintaining the footpath on Parnell Road.

    I’m guessing it is easier to pour asphalt than to rebuild the substrate under the pavers. But yeah, it is not exactly pretty.

    1. They could get some of the graduates from AT’s art glasses and have them with a can of white and tan coloured paint , to paint new bricks on the asphalt ? .

  12. I don’t think employers have caught up the popularity of e-bikes yet. I asked at several job interviews recently about secure bike parking, and the interviewers generally don’t have an answer.

    My current workplace is moving into a brand new Greenstar building on Fanshawe Street, and the first tranche of us moved in last Tuesday. It has a dedicated cycle entry path and bike access door to a bike park which I think can hold 120 bikes. There is only one tenant in the building so far, but about a 3rd of the 20 horizontal parks for electric bikes were already full (and they were electric bikes in the spaces). The remaining vertical bike storage was near empty.

    I’m moving to another, very large, employer in two weeks time, whose Britomart located building is about 10 years old. I asked about bike parking in one interview, and after hiring. Haven’t got a definitive answer, but it sounds like there isn’t enough space and I’ll have to go on a waiting list. And the underlying theme was “good luck with trying to secure a space”.

    There is paid secure parking in Britomart, but the pictures online indicate it is all vertical, which is not suitable for electric bikes. I’ll inquire further after lockdown ends.

    So that leaves parking it in the public space, with a high risk of theft, or leaving it at home.

    At a time it is hard to find employees, ironically the lack of something so simple as secure bike parking may be the trigger for me moving on again after a short time.

    1. And instead of a free car parking space, employers should offer to reimburse an e-bike as an an alternative. This would be where employers are renting space from a third party, so you could tie the value to that.

  13. SUGGESTION, Ask again, Then at any team meeting, or at any meeting where the “leadership team” presents their latest vision for the organisation, ask again.

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