Kia ora, hope our Auckland readers are hanging in there – halfway through week five!
The week in Greater Auckland
In case you missed it, here’s what we published this week:
Monday’s post was by John Polkinghorne, discussing why urbanism is important and relevant to everyone.
On Tuesday we had a guest post by William Hall that pondered commuter rail from Wellington all the way to Levin.
On Wednesday, Heidi wrote about the increase in deaths and serious injuries on Auckland’s roads this year, and what is (or isn’t) being done about it.
Yesterday, Jolisa delivered a critique of plans for safety upgrades in Mt Roskill which fail to deliver safe outcomes for cyclists.
CRL Mt Eden Station designs
Renders have been released for the Mt Eden Station. What do you think?
Images from Twitter.
Plan Change Declined for the Dome Valley
The Dome Valley is found to be inappropriate as a landfill for Auckland:
Waste Management’s application for a plan change for a landfill precinct in the valley has been declined in a unanimous decision by Auckland Council appointed commissioners.
Fight the Tip executive member Michelle Carmichael said this was only “part of the battle” amid an ongoing appeals process against a resource consent granted for initial landfill proposed…
“The panel states in their decision that the precinct would have given an unacceptable signal that the site is generally appropriate for landfills going forward, and that they think existing Unitary Plan rules are more appropriate for the site.”
Waste-to-Energy Plant Proposed in South Canterbury
A solution to our problem of creating too much waste is being proposed in South Canterbury. This solution doesn’t create the landfill problem, but meets resistance nonetheless:
A consortium of local and international businesses aims to build a waste-to-energy plant in South Canterbury, capable of preventing 350,000 tonnes of rubbish from going to landfill each year…
Spanish recycling services company Urbaser, Chinese environmental management firm Tianying Incorporated and New Zealand’s Renew Energy have established the joint venture called South Island Resource Recovery (SIRRL) to look for possible sites near Waimate in South Canterbury.
SIRRL said the project would cost $350 million to build, would create more than 100 direct and indirect jobs and could generate 30MW (megawatts) of electricity for the local network, which could also be fed into the national grid.
“New Zealand is in the middle of a landfill waste crisis, as was seen with the 2019 Fox River landfill environmental disaster,” SIRRL director Paul Taylor said.
“Waste disposed at municipal landfills grew by 48 per cent between 2009 and 2019.
“The proposed plant can run alongside New Zealand’s essential waste minimisation and recycling efforts and, at the same time, produce renewable energy to benefit the local economy,” he said.
Ryanair on rails
Any train fan in the audience will know about The Man in Seat 61, who’s been studying train routes worldwide for decades. Head over to the website to dream about epic overland travel like Moscow to Beijing or Anchorage to Fairbanks (Alaska). Now, there’s a new low-cost London-Edinburgh train, which has ambitions of competing with Ryanair and Easyjet.
LUMO IS GO! FirstGroup's new lo-cost London-Edinburgh trains will take on easyJet & Ryanair at their own game starting 25 October, 6 times less CO2 than a flight with fares from £14.90 – 60% of fares will be £30 or less. I'm going to enjoy watching this – pass the popcorn… pic.twitter.com/pa8xVLQ0WK
— The Man in Seat 61 (@seatsixtyone) September 7, 2021
Are we approaching ‘peak car’?
This article at Bloomberg highlights the slowdown happening in the global automobile industry, and argues that it’s a necessary and inevitable re-balancing.
Global automakers are slashing production forecasts…
The prospect of fewer cars rolling off production lines may be troubling. However, this is what was supposed to happen, even before the shock of the pandemic. “Peak car” was imminent, if not already realized. In that context, having fewer vehicles isn’t necessarily a bad thing — and, perhaps, should be considered the new normal.
Take a look at what was happening before Covid-19. The market was inundated with vehicles – buyers were being lured into showrooms with incentives, price cuts and techie features. Automakers were facing tough emissions regulations, the threat of technology and trade frictions that were raising the cost of cars.
There’s an encouraging plug for massive industries like the automobile industry to pivot away from business as usual:
The massive production cuts may now paint a stark picture of what could lie ahead for the global economy. But that’s only if companies keep doing what they’ve always done. The coronavirus outbreak — and accompanying supply chain shortages and shutdowns — has now forced automakers into what they had previously been unwilling to do. That’s a good thing. With all the latest clean air goals, who really needs so many cars, anyway?
So what would post- ‘peak car’ mean here?
Those quiet lockdown streets give a hint. If you’re enjoying the freedom, Efeso gets you:
Been having some awesome online chats with local families enjoying minimal traffic on the roads so the kids feel way safer on their bikes, & more confident crossing the roads. This is us whanau – stay safe Tamaki Makaurau.
— Efeso Collins (@efesocollins) September 16, 2021
Perhaps the utes will get smaller, too?
Meanwhile, Europe’s great cities are being liberated from cars more permanently
Published on Wednesday, this interview with Paris’ adjunct mayor for transportation and public space, David Belliard has some fascinating insights into the background of the city’s ambitious plan to reclaim space from cars, for people.
Starting in the ’90s, the negative externalities become more and more obvious, in terms of deaths and injuries on the road, danger for children and older people, and air pollution. The right-wing mayor started creating bike paths. But when I arrived in 2001, 2002, I bought a bike at once, and it was war. It was really difficult to ride in Paris, and I never felt secure. They built bike paths, and we called them “death paths.”
Belliard argues that redistribution of public space is about social justice.
The redistribution of public space is a policy of social redistribution. Fifty percent of public space is occupied by private cars, which are used mostly by the richest, and mostly by men, because it’s mostly men who drive, and so in total, the richest men are using half the public space. So if we give the space to walking, biking, and public transit, you give back public space to the categories of people who today are deprived.
We can expect to see other cities start to get serious about meeting their climate goals and commitments in the same way.
In Barcelona, municipal authorities are offering all-inclusive, 3-year public transport tickets to residents who trade in their ICE vehicles. The scheme is part of a range of physical and legislative controls that are reducing emissions in the city.
In Barcelona a large effort is underway to encourage drivers to replace car travel with public transit. Since 2017, the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona has provided over 12,000 metropolitan tickets to those that gave up their private vehicle.
Since its creation in 2017, Barcelona has awarded more than 12,000 T-green tickets, precipitating a reduction of 10,613 cars and 1,735 motorcycles across the metropolitan area.
This ticketing system has been supported by the introduction of the Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) Rondas BCN, towards the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020…
As the LEZ came into force, the city saw a rapid rise in request for the public transport ticket. During the month of November 2020, over 729 applications were received.
Auckland committed to plans for a LEZ, too. Four years ago, which is easily enough time to implement them.
Auckland is particularly good at plans and commitments, and trumpets them loudly sometimes.
New Zealand’s Climate Performance
As Tim Jones pointed out on twitter, New Zealand’s climate action is highly insufficient.
Decision-makers need to understand that our response has been “critically insufficient” in terms of taking a fair share. We will thrive as a society if we make the systems change needed to achieve our fair share of the globe’s emissions reductions target. But it requires leadership, starting now. Which is why the Government really should have got organised earlier on an emissions reduction plan…
The Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan
Radio New Zealand interviewed the founder of the 1point5 project, Paul Winton, on why the Government has needed to delay publishing its Emissions Reduction Plan by five months.
A climate campaigner says there’s a bunch of good reasons for the Government to delay its plan to tackle the climate crisis – the main one being what he calls the ‘staggering ineptitude’ of government agencies to get started on the work.
Cyclone Paths on Planet Earth
Four most important charts in science
While we’re in the ‘isn’t that interesting’ section of the weekly roundup, four inspiring charts:
The four most important charts in science & technology
(note: all y-axes are log scale) pic.twitter.com/NDaESgcQuo
— Alec Stapp (@AlecStapp) September 8, 2021
The week in flooding
Let’s head to France this week, where thunderstorms have unleashed nearly a foot of water in some parts of the country.
Parts of France have seen close to eleven inches of rain in six hours and more than 12,000 lightning strikes, as severe thunderstorms continue. pic.twitter.com/B7XC4kLjNP
— BBC Weather (@bbcweather) September 14, 2021
Checking in on Christchurch
This is a good point from Sophie McInnes. Why does cycling consistently get represented in the media as (a) costing a lot of money and (b) taking money away from roads and bridges?
The Press have come up with a seriously misleading headline here, in case you're reading it and thinking OMG MORE CYCLEWAYS (not that I'd be complaining if it were true). In fact, less than 1.2% of Canterbury's $1.2bn share of the NLTP is being spent on cycleways.
— Sophie McInnes (@sophie__mcinnes) September 8, 2021
Wellington’s accelerated cycleway program
Speaking of money spent on cycling, this week Wellington City Council announced a draft plan to roll-out of 147kms of cycleways over the next decade. That’s a 630% increase on the 23kms Wellington has at the moment. That’ll get Wellington moving!
We like the way Mayor Andy Foster is talking about the planned network.
“This updated bike network plan identifies routes that would make it easier for children to ride to school, people to get to work on time, and be safe for older and less confident riders. These routes take people directly to shops, schools, and through major suburbs.
“This is a good move from a transport perspective but also from an economic one as it will be easier for people to shop and do business,” says Mayor Foster.
The plan still needs to be approved by the Environment and Planning Committee next month, and if it is, will go to public consultation in November.
Brooklyn Bridge cycleway opens
Sounds like some of Wellington’s cycling network will be constructed as low-cost, tactical solutions that will be made temporary later on. That’s the approach that’s been taken with the new dedicated bike lane on Brooklyn Bridge. What’s the chance those concrete barriers are moved out by another car lane width, by mid 2022?
Here it is, our old man editor's historic first ride on the new Brooklyn Bridge protected bike lane (he's fourth behind DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman, speeding away on an e-bike). Do not adjust your screens — this is not slow motion (that's just his speed). https://t.co/IBFn3QU9Hp
— Streetsblog New York (@StreetsblogNYC) September 14, 2021
It looks… narrow. But those concrete barriers seem nice and solid, so, compromises?
Might be a good opportunity for NYC to reinstate these nifty police vehicles, to take advantage to the bike lane to get ahead of gridlocked bridge traffic.
The Vibe still Vibin’
An Innovating Streets project, ‘The Vibe’ in Thames, is a top-line selling point for a local cafe. Positioned right next door, the business has clearly benefited from its proximity to the section of closed street. The listing tells would-be buyers –
A very popular, centrally located cafe and arguably in the best position for the exciting “Vibe Hub” providing stimulating opportunities, atmosphere, and increased foot traffic.
Flanked by amazing murals, the Thames War Memorial Civic Centre, and is the first port of call for travellers using the bus terminal on Mary Street.
Increased foot traffic, good for cafe business? Who knew…
What’s your favourite public transport livery?
This compact double-decker tram caught our eye this week.
Гонконг попал книгу рекордов Гиннеса в номинации самый большой парк двухэтажных трамваев в мире pic.twitter.com/qsTRZrn7vy
— Sofa transport | Диванный транспорт (@SofaTransport) September 11, 2021
Kia pai tōu rā whakata, ka kite i a koutou a tērā wiki. Have a great weekend and see you next week.