Greetings! We’ve made it to the end of another week.

The week in Greater Auckland

  • On Monday Matt wrote about the death of the walking and cycling bridge across the Waitematā.
  • In Tuesday’s post, Matt asked why induced demand, although well understood, continues to be ignored.
  • An excellent guest post on Wednesday by Tatjana Buklijas explained a deliberative democracy process tested by Watercare and University of Auckland researchers.
  • Yesterday’s post by Matt looked at the cost of sprawl and a potential increase to council’s development contributions charge.

Bus Stop removal in Silverdale

An article in Hibiscus Matters discusses how Auckland Transport have removed a bus stop on Hibiscus Coast Highway because of… well, safety concerns:

….“By removing it, Auckland Transport effectively made public transport more difficult.” Lorraine says. “This flies in the face of its goal of encouraging public transport use.”

It has been noted in Hibiscus Matters before that the stop was unsafe – with no footpath, passengers stepped out virtually straight onto the highway. Lorraine is aware of this and has been campaigning for a footpath to make things safer.

However, Auckland Transport spokesperson Mark Hannan says that was not the safety issue that drove the decision.

He says the stop was closed because of safety concerns raised by bus drivers.

“There is no slowing down or accelerating zone for buses,” he says. The speed is currently 70kph on this part of the road. Until such time as the speed through here is lowered and/or Silverdale Street is signalised, this stop will remain closed.”

If only there was an organisation whose job it was to improve safety and had the ability to lower speed limits.


Lake Road project is back on

Auckland Transport have announced the plans to upgrade Lake Rd are back on again after being delayed due to funding constraints.

Lake Road Improvements Overview (Source: https://at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/lake-road-improvements/)

This week, AT updated the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board on the $48m project – which is designed to improve the safety and people-moving productivity of the corridor, while avoiding disruptive and expensive road-widening.

New transit lanes, safer cycle lanes and upgraded intersections feature in the design that has been amended to reflect local board and community feedback.

AT has taken on board the feedback from over 600 submissions received during consultation in early 2020, and made changes to improve many elements of the design.

There was strong community support for safer cycling facilities, but also concerns that traffic congestion would remain. AT is further investigating opportunities such as traffic light phasing at key intersections.

…..

AT’s Manager of Strategic Projects: Central Access, Daniel Newcombe, says AT’s proposal is expected to result in a 20 per cent increase in Lake Road’s people-moving productivity, including a 10 per cent increase in bus patronage, and a 20 per cent saving in travel time for people in high-occupancy vehicles (people in buses, or people carpooling).

“Around half of all Lake Road journeys remain within the peninsula – short local trips that don’t ​all need to be made by car – so this frees up more space for those who need to drive,” he says.

“Safety is ​also a major focus for AT, as there have been at least 28 serious crashes along Lake Road in the last 10 years and 10 deaths were pedestrians or cyclists.”

AT say it will take one to two years for the detailed design work to be completed but “will investigate whether some simpler project elements could be delivered earlier“.


A good question at The Spinoff

Timothy Welch poses the question in a country where the cost of land is so exorbitantly high and the supply of housing so scarce, how could so many surface car parks exist? 

Have a read – not only does the expectation of relatively low-cost car parking have a big influence on people’s travel choices, it also represents a poor value proposition for the productive use of urban land.

Using inner-city land for car parking? In a housing crisis, that doesn’t add up


Sunfield: Low-car development south of Auckland

A ‘radical new approach to living’ is embodied in Sunfield’s proposed development south of Auckland. Relying entirely on solar power and offering mobility that doesn’t rely on private vehicles are two key pillars of the development, which comes with the claim of a ’15-minute neighbourhood’.

Render of Sunfield development (Source: https://www.winton.nz/our-neighbourhoods/sunfield/)

We noticed this funky automated ‘Sunbus’, which is designed to run on a set virtual track loop around the area and to Papakura Station (approx. 2km away):

Sunbus

Take a look at these handy FAQs to get an idea of the thinking behind this proposal:


Commentary on the harbour crossing

We weren’t the only ones who had something to say about the death of the walking and cycling bridge across the Waitematā.

Take a look at Sarah Mohawk’s piece here which dissects the user perspective on the need for an adequate link across the harbour and questions the what drives decision making (no pun intended, plot twist: it might not be mode shift).

Here, Jack Tame slates ‘good riddance’ to the Auckland harbour bridge cycleway while holding out hope for the day that he can finally take his bike out to explore the North Shore.

RIP Auckland harbour walking and cycling bridge (Source: NZHerald)

Have your say on Wellington’s Te Haerenga Roa o Te Aro – Greta Point to Cobham Drive cycleway

Get over to Wellington City Council here to have your say on the Te Haerenga Roa o Te Aro – Greta Point to Cobham Drive cycleway (closes 12 October 2021).

How good would this look on Tamaki Drive?


The cost of working in the road corridor?

On Te Ore Ore Road in Masterton a new roundabout has been valued at twice the price of an average house by a local resident. A contract of $750,000 for the roundabout has been placed alongside rating provider Canstar’s estimation of $378,000 to build a 155m2 house in 2021.

Would you opt for this modestly sized roundabout or two houses (land not included)?

The week in flooding

This week saw new rainfall records set in Italy while flash floods wreaked havoc in London, disrupting shops and transport (closing two tube lines and sections of the overground).

(Source: Stuff.co.nz)


50,000 Berliners back plan to ban private cars from vast area of the city

A people’s referendum opting for a mostly car-free area of Berlin has attracted more than 50,000 signatures within three months, marking a major milestone.

(Source: https://volksentscheid-berlin-autofrei.de/)

The initiative is lead by Berlin Autofrei with core basis of the campaign centered on improving life quality, better health outcomes, more space for all, safer streets and climate change readiness. The proposed catchment is not insignificant – it covers the area within Berlin’s ringbahn (approx. 88km2):

(Source: https://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/umfangreiche-fahrplanaenderungen-in-berlin-aufgepasst-es-war-fahrplanwechsel/12607386.html)

E-bikes at use by… military and emergency services

The latest e-bike converts appear to be the Australian army. Could this be the modern version of the cavalry?

https://twitter.com/gnievchenko/status/1445495227968524288?t=02-phTgZRzk-4PQQ22kLkw&s=19


And they’re being used to get help to people in hard-to-reach places in London:

https://twitter.com/LAS_CycleTeam/status/1445060670593110026?s=09


The hidden costs of ride hail

Ride hail has more in externalities than driving yourself, according to this Bloomberg article. Based on a simulation replacing 100,000 would-be private vehicle trips with ride hail, researchers found an increase in net external costs from 30% to 35% (or about $0.35 per trip). These costs are estimated to triple when swapping out a trip by public transport to one by ride hail.

While ride hail trips arguably help to reduce air pollution by minimising the number of combustion engines switched on (compared to already warm), this was found to be offset by ‘deadheading’ – or the time spent in between trips. Both Uber and Lyft have promised a fully electrified fleet by 2030, but researchers purport that this would not be sufficient to offset congestion and safety externalities.


The weather excuse

Take a look at this comparative study looking at the role the weather plays based on the experience of 40 bike sharing schemes around the world, totalling over 100 million trips across eight years of collected data. It turns out that the weather can be a bigger deterrent in some places than others, and the differences may depend on broader factors (such as infrastructure provision).


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38 comments

  1. How good would this look on Tamaki Drive?

    It’s exactly what Tamaki Drive needs. There’s long sections between Kohi and Mission Bay; and again from the other side of Mission Bay to Kelly Ts that offer no utility and realistically can’t because of the car-parking on the seaward side.

    Keys for unlocking Tamaki Drive are:
    1) Remove seaward parking.
    2) Large boardwalk (think 5m+) to add pedestrian space so existing parking + narrow footpath can be redeployed as part of road space allocation.
    3) Finding a way to do this that enhances the natural features (e.g. lava flows and the views) while adding to the connection to the sea (e.g. better access to fishing etc).

    I know the general consensus is encroaching into the harbour is bad but large stretches of Tamaki Drive basically exist as just a thoroughfare with car parking and offers little connection to the actual environment it exists in.

    Anyone know when the Tamaki Drive Master Blan is due a refresh? I would be keen to get involved in a proposal that allowed us to make the most of this fantastic part of our city.

    1. Just get rid of the parking, the median and make the speed limit 30 km. Then you have loads of room seaward side to build a proper cycleway and footpath.

      A quick google maps seems to show a lot of the road already looks like this. https://www.google.co.nz/maps/@-36.8507386,174.8173329,3a,75y,70.03h,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1spxz7QIwKDlf3yx5PZH9dlQ!2e0!6shttps:%2F%2Fstreetviewpixels-pa.googleapis.com%2Fv1%2Fthumbnail%3Fpanoid%3Dpxz7QIwKDlf3yx5PZH9dlQ%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D131.94098%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i16384!8i8192?hl=en-GB

      1. The bits with the beaches and the reserves immediately next to them are fine.

        It’s how we make use of the bits that don’t have those areas that I’m interested in. And there simply isn’t room for general traffic, footpath AND a rapid transit lane heading East even if you remove the parking.

        There will have to be some sort of extension – pushing the seawall out is one option but building a decent boardwalk would be cheaper and more effective.

        How you do that without damaging (ideally you’d be enhancing) the geological features along the waterfront is the real trick.

        1. I totally disagree about the need to widen the carriageway between the very wide lanes, the parking and the median there is easily enough room for a nice bi directional cycleway and footpath on the seaward side.

        2. A bi-directional cycle-lane won’t cut it. There needs to be some form of bus priority east-bound on Tamaki Drive. There currently isn’t any at all. It would make far more sense to have an extended promenade and reallocate road space for a bus priority lane.

  2. Very impressed with the promotion for Sunfield – love the video with Oscar asking the questions of the actual people on the job. That’s a radical new direction and i’m looking forward to them succeeding and prospering. I think it is the first time in NZ that houses have been offered that are cheaper, due to no roads or parking being offered. Absolutely brilliant move by the developers and architects.

    It also explains why I’ve been seeing a boy on his bicycle riding around a suburb on TV for the last few weeks.

    1. Of course the pretty graphics don’t show the busy and noisy Ardmore Airport, the primary runway of which is ‘off-screen’ to the northeast and directed at the development. Perhaps the developers intend to build, then get the Airport closed on the basis of noise and danger of aircraft overhead while taking off and landing.
      I very much wish that this had been built in the location of any of the several other (car-dependent) developments in the area in the last few years.

    2. A similar concept could be applied to the Unitec Oakley site which is almost as big. Has that project stalled?

  3. It’s a long exposed walk from that bus stop to the park and ride, which is the next stop on that side of the road. How many people were using stop 4789?

  4. Sunfield is just the worst of sprawl tarted up to pull the wool over your eyes.
    Right solution, wrong location.

    1. Hi Andrew – I’m genuinely interested to know more about why you feel that way. I’ve never been there, so I can only judge it from the advertising at present. Sounds good – what’s not good?

      1. Developments so far out of a sprawled city, even if close to a train station, will generate lots of vkt. Even if a good proportion of the residents do manage a car-lite or car-free lifestyle and live/work/play locally, those who don’t, and visitors, will rack up high vehicle travel.

        BUT this offers a place, at least, that isn’t dominated by cars, so it does offer an alternative that is hard to find. And it will be far less car dependent than conventional sprawl in the same location. Basically, any sprawl we do should be like this.

        And I like the communications. They illustrate perfectly the kind of place and lifestyle that many people are wanting. I think the video is a really useful piece of the communications about the process we’re going through, and can show Kainga Ora that they need to step up with their developments within Auckland, which can and should be designed around children, accessibility and the environment, too.

        1. Also, while we wait to see prices, it promises much in terms of ‘relative’ affordability.

      2. Location at the normally upwind/takeoff end of Ardmore Airport runway, which was the busiest in NZ by aircraft movements. Its noisy and there are many examples of aircraft ending up in paddocks and fences. This is helicopters, light aircraft and warbirds which are more of a risk than large passenger aircraft. IMO the land at the ends of runways should stay zoned as rural farmland by the council.
        Location is either drained peat swamp, or adjacent.
        Low rise sprawl. A multiple highrise apartment building complex with surrounding facilities and open space is also a low car environment, even more walkable and far more land efficient.

        The “sunbus” appears to be an Ohimo vehicle https://ohmio.com/ This does look like a good initiative, their next step after airport transfers and retirement villages.

      3. Hi Guy M – I think as a few others have mentioned in here that the site has reverse sensitivity issues with the airport, is on peat soils and is in effect a gated community. Yes there are some great elements to the proposal but too often we only see this kind of sales job when there is a fundamental underlying issue – in this case the urban boundary. Hence why I describe it as sprawl.
        Whilst is may not always feel like it there are strategic plans for Auckland that consider things like a town center hierarchy, transport capacity, how much poo we can pump through the pipes etc. This development sits beyond the city boundary; it is not zoned for any of the proposed uses. There are just so many red flags.
        As I said, right solution, wrong location.

    2. Looks good on paper. I would be interested to see how people living in Takaini would fight for the shared car with 9 other families during the weekend visit to friend’s birthday in other suburbs.

      Yes some keen families may buy into the idea of just using the shuttle to train station, as soon as they can accept the poor weekend pt service. May be they can pay for $50 taxi everyday, maybe try to cycle on the hostile south Auckland roads and hope the can make it back home in one piece.

      I will be keen to see how many families will buy those houses.

      They are selling a utopia that ends up to be a slum.

      1. There is nothing in NZ that could compare to the ‘slum’ concept that you are suggesting and to claim we are at risk of creating one shows a shameful prejudice towards people who just want an affordable and healthy place to live. Instead of dismissing this project because you can’t imagine how people could live happily in it, perhaps you could hope that it starts a transformation of the wider area when people see how things could be different.

  5. We could have Sunbuses buzzing around South Auckland during off peak times and just bring out the diesels at busy times. Probably school morning and afternoon peaks is the only time bigger buses would be needed. Love the large doors on those sun buses. I can’t imagine vans being good for public transport but this shuttle vehicles would be great if covid ever goes away.

  6. From the weather excuse link. “This may suggest a greater risk aversion among women, often the product of socialisation in patriarchal cultures where women are taught from childhood to take fewer risks.”

    Or just maybe women have more common sense.

    1. Generally speaking women are more risk adverse than compare to men. Whether it is “socialization in patriarchal cultures” I have to doubt. However, it is one reason why women live longer than men.

      1. These are Australian authors so their comment is probably just misogyny baked in. They see fewer women riding a bike in nasty weather and assume it is a problem with the women making that choice. They then blame the patriarchy for making the women victims like that.
        Rather than assuming the men are correct and the women are wrong perhaps they should be asking why men are unable to change to meet the circumstances.

  7. I watched the Al Jazeera programme “Renewables and the Dark side” last night.
    The huge copper mine in northern Peru 5km wide and nearly 1km deep with many issues and running out. The world demand for copper is rising fast as as cars, solar and windmills need to be connected.
    The many strip mines, eg graphite mines, in China where the top layers are taken and illegally dumped. There is dust everywhere. The refining processes always use vast amounts of water that becomes black and full of toxins poured into rivers and lakes.
    Making wind turbines requires 2 tonnes of rare earth elements including molybdenum for the electromagnet.
    Recycling of used batteries, computers, phones, cars, windmill bades and separating out the elements is not done and is sent to land fills.

    1. Damn, better build a whole bunch of new oil refineries and coal burning power plants because they don’t have any environmental footprint at all.

    2. Switching to renewable energy does need resources, but it saves far, far more than it uses. In addition, minerals (unlike burnt fossil fuel) can be recycled. I am surprised that they focussed on copper which is one of the least resource-constrained metals. Current copper production is 20 million tonnes a year compared to 20 billion tonnes of coal and oil.

      We should focus on reducing fossil fuel use as quickly as possible AND ALSO on ways to reduce resource use overall.

  8. Sunfield may look great on paper and on promotional videos, and the idea might be great – somewhere else. It will be built on a bed of peat and butt up to a busy airport with the planes taking off into the prevailing wind flying directly over the houses, at little above rooftop level. Last time I worked out there a Spitfire was undergoing testing and buzzing around the area all day. At about 3 pm it went away and was replaced by a Harvard – neat. So if you like the idea, go out, park up in the strawberry field carpark and see for yourself. Oh and by the way, don’t forget your ear muffs or sea sick pills, because the land is pretty bouncy.

    1. With recreational flying now allowed, there will be many pilots wanting to get current again from this weekend. Should be lots of activity, but limited by only having so many people in each hangar.

  9. Auckland Transport’s decision to remove the bus stop in Silverdale is negligent. It’s neither Vision Zero nor would fit with any vaguely responsible safety strategy.

    It pushes people to have to walk along a 70 km/hr road without a footpath to get to the next bus stop. The bus drivers have raised the issue of no slowing down or accelerating zones. The solution to that is not to remove access to public transport for those who can’t walk far and to force those that can into an egregious safety situation. It is to reduce the speed limits immediately, with emergency speed limits until the permanent ones are in place.

    Clearly, no one is overseeing these fools. It really doesn’t take a lot to open up almost any AT plan or strategy to see why this doesn’t comply. Will the CEO, Board or Councillors get a grip, please. Stop allowing AT to worship traffic flow at the expense of Aucklanders’ safety.

    It’s not OK.

    1. Removal of a bus stop should go through a safety audit. It’s hard to see how this wouldn’t be flagged as quite a high risk concern. You are essentially asking any passengers to or from Titan Pl or the nearby homes to walk 500m up a road with a 70km/h speed limit, which you have already decided is too dangerous for vehicles to stop on. I completely agree that a temporary speed limit and urgent speed review is the appropriate response here

    2. “Will the CEO, Board or Councillors get a grip, please. Stop allowing AT to worship traffic flow at the expense of Aucklanders’ safety.”

      At the risk of it being called bullying, the people who make these decisions need to be outed. I’m sure that can be done without defamation issues; highlight the decision, the person who made it and ask the question why (and offer alternatives). Let social media do the rest. The board then can hardly say they aren’t aware. And it will certainly let the decision makers know there every move is being watched and critiqued, publicly.

      It could be a weekly post/tweet, copying in the relevant stakeholders as to what their organisation is up to.

      1. KLK, factually supported criticism is never bullying unless the same point is repeated over and over. And with AT what would be too much? See the article above that they have allowed 10 deaths in 10 years on Lake Road. They have an extreme tolerance for allowing poor behaviour and outcomes.

    3. Why does the Hibiscus Coast Highway still have a 70km/h anyway? It’s basically a suburban arterial now with dozens of traffic lights so it can be reduced to 60km/h or 50km/h surely? Then they can also put in a set of traffic lights at Silverdale Street to enable better connectivity there for pedestrians and cyclists.

  10. This is only the first step in the referendum pathway – i.e. the application to initiate a referendum (Antrag eines Volksbegehrens). In Berlin there must be 20,000 signatures to do this so here they have exceeded the requirement which is really positive. The next steps require a proportional number of signatures based on total population so let’s see how this plays out.

    Info on direct democracy instruments or referenda in Berlin: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volksgesetzgebung_in_Berlin

  11. “AT’s Manager of Strategic Projects: Central Access, Daniel Newcombe, says AT’s proposal is expected to result in a 20 per cent increase in Lake Road’s people-moving productivity, including a 10 per cent increase in bus patronage, and a 20 per cent saving in travel time for people in high-occupancy vehicles (people in buses, or people carpooling).”
    What an absolute and complete joke that AT is aiming for only a 10% increase in bus patronage. And over what timeframe? This route has a number of significant things that should be drivers for growth: a metropolitan centre at one end, and a town centre and a ferry at the other. Little wonder that the emissions reductions target is 1%.

  12. We need to think in terms of rapid reduction in VKT’s and the drastic reduction in the Vehicle numbers per person.
    I’m sure this can be achieved if we really incentivize the change and not just think in terms of replacing our existing vehicles with electric propulsion.
    We need to ensure that the new subdivisions are served well with PT from the time the first houses are sold and that will mean we need to change the fare recovery ratio’s so that it can be much lower to allow the passenger numbers to grow and reduce it naturally. The PT needs to not only be better in terms of journey time but also in terms of cost. Also it needs to take account of being able to get to work dry n inclement weather so the provision of the bus shelters and covered ways for the PT travelers needs to be considered.
    Takanini railway station it a good example of the lack of consideration given to those who arrive by bus to change to train.

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