Tēnā koutou, hope you’ve all had a great week. While the rest of Aotearoa has gone to level 2, here in Auckland we’re still in one of the world’s strictest lockdowns (but secretly still enjoying the low-traffic bike rides). Here’s our roundup for the week.
In case you missed them – GA’s stories this week
We’re trying something new, and offering you a link to the four stories we’ve published this week:
On Monday, Jolisa wrote about the things we’re experiencing moving around the city in Lockdown, and how important it is for everyone to recognise and remember those feelings.
On Tuesday we had a guest post from Nicolas Reid about opportunities and issues in implementing road pricing.
Wednesday’s story was a hot-of-the-press review by Matt of the National Land Transport Plan for 2021-2024, which was released by the Government on Tuesday.
Yesterday, Matt wrote about branding and naming our rapid transport network.
Waka Kōtahi ‘Travel Choices’ survey
A reader of GA recently took park in a Waka Kōtahi ‘travel choices survey’. What they found in the survey was a worrying bias towards car drivers and the speed of trips. They sent a response to to the survey company nearly four weeks ago, but have not received a reply, so they have shared it with us:
I was selected to take part in your New Zealand travel choices survey. I agreed as I wanted to help shape the future of travel in New Zealand.
As background, I am a retired social scientist and a big user of trains, buses and cycling. I am deeply concerned about climate change and the task ahead to dramatically decarbonise the transport sector.The interviewer was efficient and helpful. However, the survey itself left me deeply troubled. I did finish it, despite my preference to stop.
There was no opportunity to talk about sustainable transport options and how these could be improved. It seemed the survey had been designed primarily for car drivers.
When I went through the train section I felt totally insulted. There were a series of bizarre questions of trade offs between more frequent trains versus slower trains. The pricing options were also confusing. If we are to decarbonise we need trains that are both frequent and fast. They also need to be affordable if we are to attract people out of cars.
The roading section gave no opportunity to say that we should not be building new roads. It was all about roading improvements, which could well have included new road building. The tradeoffs were all about safety – but trading off injuries versus deaths seemed odd. There was no opportunity to add emission reductions into the discussions.
As a regular cyclist – in fact my main transport option – I was not asked how cycling infrastructure could be improved. I found the whole survey badly designed and contemptuous of public transport users. It gives me no faith that Waka Kotahi is up to the job of supporting the shift to a low emissions economy.
If you also took this survey, please let us know your thoughts in the comments.
The thing about parking
Time to eliminate company carparks?
Parking’s been on our minds recently, and it’s been on Simon Wilson’s mind too – his Herald column this week was all about parking, and how the vast amounts of free company parking available in the city is creating both congestion and emissions.
What would be the single most effective way to reduce driving in the inner city and surrounding suburbs? How about eliminating company car parks? Just keep the few where the need is real. My column tomorrow, @nzherald pic.twitter.com/CoFNGys7NN
— Simon Wilson (@simonbwilson) September 6, 2021
The article’s paywalled, but well worth a read if you can get into it. He talks about the example of Genesis Energy, which moved its 485-person head office to Wynyard Quarter, and in the process got rid of staff car parks and company cars, replacing them with an EV car-share membership, subsidised HOP cards, and change facilities for workers who biked, walked or ran to work.
Genesis says it has seen “a 50 per cent increase in people taking public transport or using EVs, a 102 per cent increase in biking, running, walking or e-scootering to work, 81 per cent of staff have signed up to the public transport subsidy and there are 984 less carbon contributing trips each week (petrol, diesel, motorbike), a reduction of 71 per cent”.
AT’s parking strategy
You might remember that in last week’s roundup we wrote about the Planning Committee’s review of advice around removing parking minimums. This analysis from Heidi follows on from that, looking at the missed opportunity of parking levies.
AT are reviewing the Parking Strategy. One major new item they need to include is parking levies. Frankly, there’s no justification for the legislation not being in place by now to allow this. The ARC had recommended parking levies be introduced back before AT was formed, but then I believe AT – undemocratically – made the decision not to pursue the idea because businesses didn’t like it. When they declared a Climate Emergency over two years ago, this should have been first off the rank in Council’s advocacy to government.
Back in 2007 there were 40,463 private car parking spaces in the city centre (see chart below). It’s probably similar now. If Council introduced a levy in the city centre at Sydney’s rates (NZD2677 per year), that initially would reap $108.3 million a year. However, we could expect 10% of parking spaces to be quickly taken out of commission to avoid paying the levy, as was recorded in Perth. After this likely drop in spaces, Auckland would still see $97.5 million revenue per year.
This is a significant revenue stream that would help provide sustainable active and public transport options for many more people. Workplace levies city wide (at a lower rate) would also be powerful in encouraging modeshift.
The sounds of the city, driving us mad
Obligatory lockdown mention – hands up if you’ve stopped to listen to the birds singing in your street in the last few weeks?
It turns out that ongoing high-decibel urban noise does have a long-term effect on our health. A study reported on in The Guardian found that transport noise is linked with increased risk of dementia:
Researchers investigated the association between long-term residential exposure to road traffic and railway noise and the risk of dementia among two million adults aged over 60 and living in Denmark between 2004 and 2017. The level of exposure at the most- and least-exposed sides of buildings was estimated for every residential address in the country.
After taking account of potentially influential factors related to residents and their neighbourhoods, the study concluded that as many as 1,216 out of the 8,475 cases of dementia registered in Denmark in 2017 could be attributed to transport noise.
When it floods, bikes help create resilience
Last week’s roundup featured some apocalyptic videos of flooded streets and subways in New York during Hurricane Ida. The entire subway system was shut down, and many streets impassable. So people turned to bikes to get where they needed to go: CitiBike, New York’s public bike share system, set a record for trips taken in a single day.
CRL compensation scheme announced
Transport Minister Michael Wood announced a new compensation scheme for businesses affected by the CRL works. This is encouraging, and sets a precedent for making business owners feeling more comfortable about the disruption from the likes of light rail. As noted in the tweet here, direct financial compensation for businesses experiencing disruption could have cost advantages too.
— scoot! (@ScootFoundation) September 2, 2021
Passive social housing in Mangere
Kainga Ora is quietly building a lot of homes in places like Mangere and Mt Roskill at the moment. Stuff featured one of their latest projects this week. It’s a 3-storey apartment block on Bader Drive in Mangere which also happens to be a pilot project for Kainga Ora to learn how to do passive housing development.
Homes will be airtight and regulate their own temperature through smart design, the use of high performing construction materials, and a ventilation system with heat recovery that not only maintains a steady temperature but also reduces moisture, creating a dry, healthy living environment.
Other special features reduced thermal bridging with thermally broken door and window joinery, which help maintain a constant air temperature of 20 deg C all year round.
Te Ara ō Whakatū – the Pathways of Nelson
Are there any Nelsonians in the GA readership? We’re intrigued to know what you think of your new City Centre Spatial Plan. It includes a strong focus on creating streets for people, making the city centre into a place to stay and spend time, and providing a variety of type of homes in the City Centre.
Low traffic neighbourhoods, actually*
If you need to calm your nerves, or just wind down today, watch this video in full, with the sound on:
Devonshire Road, W4, without cars, is just beautiful. Penny Farthings are still allowed. pic.twitter.com/opZ5p5ewXV
— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) September 4, 2021
*as someone said, after watching this: ‘it’s like a scene from a Richard Curtis movie!’
Is social media awash with temporary street transformation ideas?
After last week’s campaign to add temporary walking and cycling space on Tamaki Drive for lockdown-constrained Aucklanders found whole-hearted support on facebook, we got this smart idea from Councillor Richard Hills:
Hospitality under Delta 2 will be 50 inside but 100 outdoors.
I’ve emailed @AklCouncil @AklTransport @Auckland_NZ @PanukuAKL CEO’s & others to ask them to work on ways to allow businesses to access road space, carparks etc to be used for outdoor dining.
As seen in many cities!
— Richard Hills (@richardhills777) September 6, 2021
It’s been done all over the world, and the response to Councillor Hills’ idea was enthusiastic on Twitter. Summer’s on its way, no-one’s going anywhere for the forseeable future; surely this is the perfect time for some hospo reallocation trials?
No this one’s not about Lorde (who’s just released 5 songs from her latest album in Te Reo, incidentally.) It is actually about solar power – in Vietnam, which has seen a huge growth in rooftop solar panels through:
Well designed and executed supporting regulations and policies such as feed-in-tariffs (FiT), tax incentives and waiver of land lease are considered the underlying factors driving renewable energy (RE) growth, especially solar, in the country.
Vietnam’s next challenge is to electrify the transport sector to tap into that solar growth.
On the train to Sum(n)er
It’s worth remembering that it wasn’t that long ago when our streets and infrastructure served all kinds of modes of transport, and weren’t dominated almost entirely by cars. Here’s a cool look-back into transport infrastructure past in Ōtautahi (Christchurch):
That’s it from GA this week. If you’re in Tāmaki, hope you make the most of those lockdown streets however you can; if you’re anywhere else – have a takeaway coffee for us!
Solar just doesn’t seem to be worth it in NZ unless youre running air con? Unless battery costs come way down quickly
It would be worth it if the energy companies were made to pay for the energy your rooftop created at a decent rate. They have screwed the system to suit themselves – nothing for the good of the country there. They used to pay out the same amount per unit as they were charging the consumer – now it is less than a third as much. Compare that with more enlightened countries, serious about energy use, like Germany, where they are legally obliged to pay out 3 times the cost that they charge you. Obviously, massive uptake by the Germans then.
Why would you expect to be paid more than was the power company can buy power for on the wholesale market at the time you have surplus to export (which is pretty much when they don’t want power – middle of day middle of summer)
Exactly. And why on earth would anyone install too much generating capacity on their roof in the first place. It is hardly an good use of resources.
Yep, people are comparing their buyback price vs the price of their hedged / averaged flat price electricity, when they should be comparing it to the spot + lines price or something like that.
Even with no feeding back into the grid, if say half the country had rooftop solar and the midday grid load was extremely small, the average price for those off peak times would surely rise to make up the difference. Power companies rely on people using some power during the day at prices far above the spot price in order to sell power comparatively cheaply at peak times, and provide a flat price for a good that is extremely volatile.
I can see solar making more sense in time in the hot areas of the country to provide for some AC usage. If I were to build / have a say in the build of a new house / townhouse then this would be my ideal setup. Cheap and guilt free air conditioning.
The solar buyback rates are energy only, whereas buying electricity from the grid includes energy and lines costs. Otherwise, it will cross-subsidise the line costs of people with solar on their holiday homes onto local residents who can’t afford solar.
Also, buyback rates have no GST unless the consumer is GST-registered. The 15% extra on your solar buyback probably doesn’t outweight the compliance costs of being GST-registered.
I am putting solar on the roof of a new build we have put an offer on – with completion due ‘six months after lockdown if supplies allow’
I could share the spreadsheet I did, but batteries don’t make a lot of economic sense yet unless you want/need to go offgrid. Those 24kWh Leaf batteries should come onto the market sooner or later. Once they get down to below 60-70% capacity, then they are not great for a vehicle, but fantastic for solar storage.
The panels themselves seem to stack up economically as installation & wiring is pretty much free as part of the build, so I am only paying for panels and inverter.
Its disappointing to me to see things like ‘The Block’ houses – 200+ sqm houses valued at ~$2m+ and while there is a token EV charger, as far as I know, they didn’t bother throwing a panel on.
Because in 2021, the producers think encouraging giant outside TVs, outdoor heaters and multiple gas fires is better for emissions?
Love to see the Block houses scored on passive greeen house credentials as well. Or in 2022, they put up 8 or more smaller eco-friendly houses
Yes, solar panels themselves are easier to justify economically. One thing that can tip the decision slightly towards getting batteries is asking what value there is, to you, of an uninterrupted power supply? If power is off for a few days, do you value being able to continue to do most things? It might be keeping your medicine cold in the frig, or keeping a freezer full of home produce frozen. Or being able to keep the communications and computer systems running. Or the heat pump or hot water, if electric. For us, this has proven worth the cost. When we are advised in advance that there will be a power outage while work is done, we’ve been able to start the outage with a fully charged battery, too, so even if the weather is dark, we’ve had enough charge to keep the important things going.
That is a really good point. A few weeks ago we got an email saying our power would be off for a day for lines work, afternoon before before I went and hired a generator to keep the fridge and freezers going and my work computer. The night before the work a storm brought trees down across Auckland so no no lines work in our street and the generator returned unused. A battery would avoid that hassle.
This comment is sent to you from a computer that has being charged using a mega power system consisting of two 40 watt solar panels connected up to an almost life expired lead acid car starter battery and a 300 watt inverter. In addition it can provides emergency lighting and can run a radio in the event of a power failure. I thought it prudent to buy a new battery for my car. The old one has being retired to a less critical function. It still holds a little bit of charge after a couple of years.
I’m from Nelson and a regular follower of Greater Auckland. The New Nelson Spatial plan is a bit of a con job really. They are still proposing allowing cars to flow both ways right though the centre of the city and out the other side, just with a few more raised crossing points. We have asked for just allowing cars in from each side and to get to the other side they have to back out to the (very close) ring roads and round to the other side – thus making it faster to walk and bike. But they turned that down in this draft plan out for consultation. Also they are proposing doing very little about the area given over to cars and car parking (presently 44% of land if you include the car sales yards (maybe 40% if you don’t). And while this spatial plan includes more apartments it doesn’t include the “missing middle density”, the townhouse donut surrounding the CBD. It was proposed in the draft new Resource Management Plan but of course opposed by the leafy close-in suburban residents so who knows if that will ever come in. At present on one side of Nile St leading away from the Cathedral is the inner city fringe zone where you can build 12m high up to the boundaries. On the other side of the road is not just a normal density residential zone, but a Low density residential zone (2.5 m at boundaries 35° recession planes to you side neighbours, 25° to. you Southern neighbours, 7.5m max height 30 % site coverage). Thats right half of the land directly adjacent to the Cathedral, and up to 1km away is LOW density residential. The issue here is having more people live in apartments in the CBD in Nelson is something the council can do without ruffling feathers, despite apartment living being a step too far for many people in little old provincial Nelson in 2021. Townhouses though, with everyone getting a bit of dirt and not being pancaked between other families, is something with much more immediate appeal and huge transport congestion reduction potential, but fiercely resisted by the privileged in the inner suburbs.
All spatial plans are a con job. They produce a bunch of pretty maps showing whateverthehell they want to do. The coloured maps are instead of doing any actual analysis of benefits and costs.
Install batteries as I’ve done and keep those valuable amps/volts for yourself!
Give a middle finger to the power companies by living almost off grid.
Re – car parking, just waiting now for Dr Kirsty Wild and all of her activist buddies to comment about FBT (fringe benefit tax exemptions). She’s been told her understanding of FBT is mistaken, but that doesn’t stop her.
The transport sector is characterised by public servants who have had their understanding of transport debunked by analysis repeatedly, but they continue nonetheless, with far reaching negative results. Our approach is to explain the issues and expose the problems, not name names.
Dr Kirsty Wild’s work is important, as it discusses, correctly, that company-provided carparks distort travel. If there’s some detail that needs further explanation, the approach we would welcome here is for you to explain it, without attacking by name.
There’s a lot of misinformation around FBT (particularly utes) etc. Partly caused by urban legend, partly caused by every man and his dog having an opinion which has been circulated as fact, partly caused by lazy enforcement by IRD and also what is kindly described as ‘bush accounting’.
I’d like to know the issue with carparking though, FBT and bikes, given that the recent tax hike has unintentionally led to a stupidly-high single rate and the system is badly in need of an overhaul – I suspect it’s nothing deliberate but more a reflection of how lazy NZ is when it comes to our tax system (keeping the same personal rates for a decade, not adjusting for inflation, etc).
The idea that you jumped to thinking Heidi was impressing: “the idea that people would peddle a cargo bike from Howick to Albany, or Henerson to Penrose” is laughable and ridiculous.
Or where you got the idea that people on here think that cars aren’t here to stay or everyone wants to cycle or walk.
Wake up and stop hopelessly misinterpreting things.
“There is a congestion problem in Auckland and we do need to spend a lot of money to solve that, but the answer is in taxing every household (not just rate payers), not banning cars or making it harder to use them.”
I am going to take a stab in the dark here and assume you would want significant motorway expansion, and you think this would work in the long term to solve the cities congestion issues.
This would be quite expensive, we could spend the same amount of money on public transport and cycling networks, and get vastly more people carrying capacity. Why would we not do that? Much better use of funds.
Actually, yes, the answer is discouraging driving.
Over a third of car trips in NZ are less than 2km – within a half hour walk or 10 minute bike ride for most people. Two-thirds are within 6km – a half-hour bike ride.
Nobody is suggesting an Albany-Howick or Henderson-Penrose commute by cargo bike. That’s a blatant strawman. Those journeys would better be suited to improving buses & trains.
The Harbour Bridge is not knackered and dies not need replacement, this tired old trope needs to die
There are two important transport-related distortions in NZ’s FBT regime: for parking and for vehicle purchases (e.g. utes). Let’s look at parking here. Unfortunately, NZ like many countries has a Fringe Benefit Tax exemption for employer-provided parking. The perverse effects from this (the ‘deadweight loss’ in economics jargon) is described by American writers as follows:
“Imagine the creation of a new government program in which federal authorities send you a check at the end of the year to reward you for driving to work alone.
But there are a few catches. First, you only get the check if you work in a city—and you get a bigger check if you work downtown. Second, the size of your check depends on how much money you make. If you are a stockbroker or CEO, your check might be twice as big as that of the receptionist or salesperson working down the hall…
Surprisingly, such a program actually exists: the federal tax benefit for commuter parking” (source https://transitcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/TC-Who-Pays-For-Parking-Publication-20170912.pdf).
The exemption is largest for people in higher income brackets (since they would otherwise pay a higher rate of tax) and those who work in places where parking is expensive (i.e. city centres). As such, the exemption is regressive and it is most distortionary in city centres, where the negative externalities of parking and driving are highest.
A Dutch study found that Holland’s exemption increased the number of employer-provided parking spaces there by about a third, and estimated that 10.2% of current parking expenses are a deadweight loss – simply due to the distortionary impact of the FBT exemption and excluding any welfare effects “due to increased energy use, pollution, congestion and reduced agglomeration”.
Once we have a congestion-charging cordon it seems like a pretty logical boundary for FBT to apply to car parks.
The Ute thing is a bit weird though. Further reading if you’re interested – TL:DR – there never was a specific double-cab exemption, most people claiming are taking the piss and the IRD is probably aware of ultra-low compliance but has done little about it.
It is disappointing to see the new form of angry misogyny creeping into this forum. Dr Wild has done excellent work for New Zealnad but unfortunately that has made her a target of the right wing numbskulls.
That penny farthing video is fun! I’ve always wanted to try one of those.
If you need to frazzle your nerves, or just get pumped today, watch this video in full, with the sound on:
https://youtu.be/OyklZrZYFT4 (Bombing Down Broadway | Cycling Race | 2021
Those 3 storey apartments look great. So much better than the townhouse-on-concrete which seems to be the trend at the moment.
That video is awesome and my nerves are sufficiently frazzled. Thanks for sharing!
Oh wow. I’m feeling very old. Because all I want to say is how stupid the cyclists were with such dangerous riding with a complete disregard for anyone they cut off, any paint they scratched, any read light they ran, or center line they crossed and if you are a pedestrian legally crossing at a pedestrian crossing well you can just jump out off the way because entitled arsehats who want to give everyone a reason to hate cyclists are out filming a Youtube video. My nerves aren’t frazzled – but my righteous indignation is. So very very old. sigh
Yeah the way those deaths and all that horrific maiming just piles up from cycling, everyday, every single day (on average) a kiwi is killed because of our terrible cycleway engineering and thoughtless dangerous bike riding, and weak enforcement… just shocking when you look at the actual evidence and not the reckons of self-important blowhards and the all powerful ‘big bike’ lobby…
Is this sarc? Cos of course it’s motor vehicle crashes that kill a kiwi a day.
Lots of these stories are about the bias of the Transport Ministry. How can it be replaced with a new organisation committed to sustainability, or can it just be reformed?
The photo caption should be Kitson not Kelston. Kitson was a tram and locomotive builder in Hunslet, Leeds. Kelston is next to New Lynn.
Thanks for catching that Kitson/Kelston error, John. It’s been fixed now!
The survey is by Waka Kotahi. The parking levies – yes, maybe that should’ve been led by the Ministry. I think the Ministry is on a path of reform, but like so many of our organisations, it’s too little and too slow. I suspect the Minister needs to have very clear reform expectations, but also, this is a wider issue. Government organisations have a lot of inertia slowing down the rate of change possible. The country won’t even make changes that allow us to adapt to climate change if this isn’t tackled, let alone take action to reduce emissions.
I think this is where we’re letting our kids down the most. We’re not even trimming the bureaucratic organisations into something more nimble nor adopting better democratic decision-making processes. The kids are going to face the geopolitical instability that’s on its way without us having improved anything in our institutions to allow them to navigate it well.
And as the NLTP announcement shows, we’ll also have loaded them with debt for our high-carbon regressive ‘investment’, too.
Meanwhile, whenever a market could influence business to cut its pollution, the government ensure the incumbent industries can continue their merry way: https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/126300406/how-big-polluters-profit-off-the-governments-outdated-maths
I probably travelled on trams in Christchurch however I was just to young to remember it. I do however remember the Riccarton Sumner via the Square bus route that replaced the trams. It provided a popular day out for a day at the beach for our family in the late 1950 or early 1960’s. Playing in the cave or a walk over the hill to Taylors mistake. By that time most buses were modern for then diesels but in peak times the transport board used to bring out ancient half cabbed petrol buses I think they were either Leyland or maybe Bedford’s. In the July issue of the Railway Observer there is a photo of an electric tram towing two trailers over the old lifting bridge that spanned the Heathcote river at Ferrymead. Talking of lifting bridges I recently came across this video of a small ship making its way through the Dutch canals and rivers. There are a number of different types of lifting bridges displayed. Which one do you think would be suitable to provide a tram and cycling bridge across the Waitemata.
The third video down shows the lifting bridges. The other video explains the battery powered barges which are being brought into service.
It’s pretty cool to see the time lapse as they approach the bridges and the left hand (port?) side lifts to allow the ship to sail underneath. I was thinking it would be the centre span, but I guess the water is deep enough across the canal.
Meanwhile in Auckland we have at least two lifting bridges for pedestrians and they are both fixed into the upright position for 4 weeks, so not so much pedestrian bridges but a big ugly block to illustrate exactly what AT thinks of people daring to walk rather than drive
Almost $100m forecast to be raised from parking levies. And $100m required to transform public transport frequency.
Join the dots!
This would be an extremely sensible idea. A principal aim of public policy is to allocate resources efficiently to deliver the greatest good for the greatest number. What’s not to like?
Once change: Parking levies should apply everywhere, not just the city centre.
Still going to run into the issue with maximum 50% subsidy I assume?
I assume you’re talking about farebox recovery? If so then is it really an issue, pretty much no council in NZ has achieved 50 % recovery and it hasn’t resulted in any intervention by the government.
Meanwhile in Hawke’s Bay Today the front page story is on how commuters are challenged to kick their ‘car addiction’. The coverage of this on p. 5 (see Press Reader) where a regional councillor encourages people to walk more.
Below this story is a story titled ‘Hastings drug-deal alley to be closed off’. A Hastings District councillor has also called for all other similar alleys to be closed. There doesn’t seem to be any consideration of how the alleyways could be made safer, e.g. by making them wider or trimming back vegetation, better lighting, or installing cameras. However, the story does note “these types of laneways were initially designed to help children walk to school”, and that the alleyway is near two primary schools. I also wonder if the council has considered closing roads and selling them to local residents.
My local experience of alleys/access ways in South Auckland is that barriers intended to exclude motorbikes and other vehicles reduce their utility to everyone else.
If you can’t get a pram, shopping cart, mobility aid or bike through it, you exclude legitimate users whose presence would discourage antisocial activity like dealing and tagging.
Definitely need to reduce/remove private car parking. It not only increases congestion but it has made the city scape unattractive and dangerous. So many footpaths in the CBD are crossed by driveways to underground or aboveground parking, almost every spare space is used for this. The streets between Albert and Hobson are just full of old run down buildings which all seem to have car parking.
No wonder there are no useful amenities at ground level – cafes, retail shops, etc because there is no where for these types of business to go. That area of the CBD is a wasteland and bordered by mini-motorways.
Only just recently has my own company finally given in and allowed those with a car park (which is a large amount for a CBD based professional services firm with no need for a car) to cash that out.
I was thinking about walkability on a walk yesterday and in particular it would like if it was only about two dimensions. When I got home I drew it up using “density of stuff” and “friendliness of the built form to walking”. Then I attempted to map where a typical main street in Auckland would end up:
I’m of two minds about the hardship funds.
Overall its a very difficult situation to traverse and the long term implications are difficult.
On one hand the losses to those small businesses is large and ruthless. The public is essentially externalizing the costs of the project. And the amount of money needed to solve this in relation to this project is tiny.
On the other hand, over the long term the businesses and in particular property owners around the new CRL stations are set to gain a lot from the project. Especially around Aotea station, the increase in foot traffic in the next 10 years will be phenomenal and so to will the value of those spaces / businesses.
The hardship funds are in danger of creating a zero loose situation for private interests, a kind of privatize the profits, and socialize the losses model. Next time for light rail, property owners might not reduce rents or do anything like that, and just let the public pay them for massively improving the value of the property.
This kind of thing could explode if it was applied to every public works project in the country. Think paying local road or motorway users for the disruption due to construction or maintenance. We could end up with an American situation where it becomes extremely expensive to do any public works due to people suing for damages. Obviously there has to be line somewhere.
The value capture around the Mt Eden station is a way around this, but cant be applied everywhere.
Interesting that you mentioned travelling to Sumner – as well as the trams, a cycle path to there was under construction back in 1899. The Star newspaper covers it here: https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/TS18991019.2.50
Ride to Sumner on your bike and back home in the afternoon with the easterly sea breeze behind you. All good until you hit a southerly change. Never go anywhere in Christchurch without a Jersey no matter what the season that’s the golden rule.
They are lucky to get some nice modern looking kainga ora places in Mangere. The ones they are building in Mt roskill are getting worse and worse. The latest batch are square boxes painted brown and yellow. Maybe we have a paint colouring shortage too?
Regarding Solar Power, you should know that the previous Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment suggested it is a really poor investment if you want to do something about climate change in NZ’s unique situation. Much much better to stop using fossil fuels. https://www.pce.parliament.nz/our-work/news-insights/media-release-electric-cars-not-solar-panels-says-environment-commissioner
There’s an element here with solar that no one talks about, and that’s local resilience in the face of extreme weather events that effect line loads and capacity – see: extreme cold snap that saw power demand managed, the Tasman Tempest where large parts of Auckland were without power for 3 days.
Yes, solar is a bad deal if you look purely to make money on it or solely through an emissions lens, but if you’re prepared to consider all the benefits it could offer than there’s it’s worth giving serious thought.
That 2016 report is a bit dated now, the cost of solar continues to go down, as working from home due to Covid has changed the game. Those working from home are likely to spend more on heating/cooling during the day, so the use has changed a lot. Plus now many people can afford electric transport options and charge electric cycles/scooters/cars at home.
2016 report, but my first impression is ‘why not do both?’
(and why did it take until 2021 for them to then put in place a system to encourage low emission vehicles and discourage the worst vehicles?)
Over the last year, we as a family have significantly reduced our VKT by working from home more. But we have also increased our daily power consumption as when at home during the day I am running more computers, boiling the jug, heating food and keeping the heat pump(s) on more.
This is at a time when lakes are running a bit lower than usual and we are importing and burning coal.
We have also reduced vehicle emissions via a Hybrid car over the last few years and next car will probably be a BEV. If we had a BEV, it would be charging right at the moment
But still seems to me that given the huge amount of new building being put up over the next couple of years, I think we are going to regret not having put in place a few incentives to encourage solar and water conservation. Get enough buildings with PV and day time consumption in northern cities can be reduced, hydro throttled back a bit for night time and infrastructure in place for more widespread addition of batteries.
School are open during the daytime most some days the sun shines. A couple or 5 kilowatts of solar panels on school rooves wouldn’t be the worst thing the Govt could spend money on.
“AT are reviewing the Parking Strategy.”
You have to wonder whether this is just another exercise in futility – a complete waste of time and resources? The status of the current document is that it is a policy, and therefore it seems is completely legally unenforceable. The consequence is that AT can pay scant attention to it and they do. It is obviously a useless exercise if they produce a similarly unenforceable document.
But there is an even worse layer. Despite anything that the Parking Strategy says about managing parking by demand pricing, the AT Board have done what they wanted. Here’s an example
at page 3 paragraph 2
“The AT Board is seeking Panuku to replace the existing 400 car spaces on the Anzac Street and Gasometer car park sites and future-proof its ability to provide a further 350-500 car parks over the next 30 years.
The recommended strategy is to construct a standalone car park building on the Gasometer site that provides 400+car parks. ”
So despite anything in the AT Parking Strategy, which supposedly the Board signed off on, they have had a better idea. (I am being kind. It’s a $30 million investment that has the cheapest parking rates in Auckland at $1 per hour. Just like its forerunner in Ronwood Avenue its a dog.) Remember this is against a Low Carbon Plan that was in place at that time.
Heidi, please let us know when the consultation happens as I have some useful feedback.
Will do. Thanks, taka-ite.
I also took part in the Waka Kotahi survey. Despite me cycling most days, the survey took me down the path of train questions because I had taken the train once, and they didn’t have enough train users in the survey. It was also written as if the train was my single mode of transport, and there was no option to indicate it was bus/train multi modal. Once we went down the train path, I felt the questions were written to achieve a predetermined outcome.
Thanks Steve. I think this is quite serious partly because it’s probably quite innocent; just simple car dependence spoiling the information they could be collecting. If you had the time to send feedback in, who knows, it might spur Waka Kotahi to put the survey questions through a quality filter.
If you are bit cynical like myself, then you might think the survey is exactly the quality Waka Kotahi wants;
“Most people use statistics like a drunk man uses a lamppost; more for support than illumination”
They want the survey to collect stats that supports there existing position on roads, and some information about trains/bus; but active modes, not so much
I am going slightly off key here , for those that complain about what’s left of the Diesel units and our platforms . here is a compilation of the ADK/ADB’s in Mozambique and it seems they are doing there what they did here , by increasing passenger numbers on this private service . ;-
Those are some well travelled and used units.
And they kept them in blue & yellow?
And the age they are now they are in a better condition than I was at that age .