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
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.
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’.
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):
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.
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?
Don't forget to have your say on the proposed design of the Te Haerenga Roa o Te Aro – Greta Point to Cobham Drive coastal walking and biking route.
Submissions close Tuesday 12 October 2021.https://t.co/ACbr8QTquz pic.twitter.com/7oN0z9YGrn
— Wellington City Council (@WgtnCC) October 6, 2021
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.
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).
New all time 12 hour rainfall record for Europe set yesterday just north of Genoa in Italy.
740mm in 12 hours. That’s nearly 30 inches! pic.twitter.com/eOqhbNMVAE
— Dave Throup (@DaveThroupEA) October 5, 2021
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.
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):
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?
And they’re being used to get help to people in hard-to-reach places in London:
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).