Tēnā koutou all – thanks for sticking with us through week… @%^ or whatever, I believe it’s day 66 of lockdown in Tāmaki. Time is meaningless, and yet – it was an eventful week! Hope you’re all doing OK.
The week in Greater Auckland
We had some fantastic posts this week. If you missed them, you’ve got extra time this weekend to catch up (it’s Labour Day on Monday! I keep forgetting.)
- On Monday, Heidi wrote about the upcoming Entrust election and what it might mean for our streets.
- Tuesday’s post, by Matt, examines a number of ways to improve the efficiency of and access to our trains.
- On Wednesday Scott wrote about Central Government’s surprise new housing density rules.
- Yesterday we posted the job ad for the new Chair of the Waka Kōtahi Board! JK, we posted Jolisa’s wonderful vision of what the ad really should look like.
Wai Horotiu Queen Street consultation closes today
If you’re a fast walker and you want to support the latest proposed design for the Queen Street Valley upgrade, get in with your feedback today! Likewise if you’re a person on a bike and you’re a bit freaked out at the idea of having to share space with ‘fast walkers’, whatever they may be. Vague Game of Thrones images are surfacing…
And if you want a refresh on the project and our take on it, have a read of Matt’s post published in September when the design came out.
And also – city centre buses
Another consultation closes this weekend. You’ve got until Sunday to provide feedback on the proposed City Centre Bus Plan.
The proposed City Centre Bus Plan sets out the approach Auckland Transport aims to take in planning for buses in Auckland’s city centre to help deliver the outcomes of the City Centre Masterplan (CCMP).
Again, we recommend re-reading Matt’s post on this, published back in July.
Rail network closure this weekend
FYI for those of you planning on getting around the city by public transport this weekend:
There will be a planned full rail network closure this Labour Weekend (Satuday 23 – Monday 25 October) so KiwiRail can carry out important repair work.
Buses will replace trains across the network.
— Auckland Transport (@AklTransport) October 21, 2021
Dame Whina Cooper arrives at Karangahape Rd
She made it! The. CRL Tunnel Boring Machine broke through to the Karangahape Station construction site this week. The facebook post has a cute little FAQ:
How far is the TBM cutter head poking out of the opening?
How much of the TBM is on the other side of the wall?
What will it do next?
Transfer from the concrete block onto rails to continue sliding from one side of the cavern to the other. Full inspection of the cutterhead will take place as we transfer and replacement of cutting tools will be carried out as necessary.
At least someone’s going somewhere?
New South Island Locomotives
Last week Kiwirail announced they were buying 57 brand new locomotives from Swiss manufacturer Stadler to replace their locomotive fleet in the South Island which have an average age of 47 years, 17 years longer than their economic life.
Kiwirail should see if they can add to the order a few of Stadler’s FLIRT trains. As well as being able to operate under wires, these can also come in configurations with batteries and/or diesel generators. They would be great for some of our longer distance routes like Te Huia from Hamilton to Auckland, the Northern Express from Auckland to Wellington, the Capital Connection from Palmerston North to Wellington and the Wairarapa Line from Masterton to Wellington
Invercargill – Aotearoa’s next medium density paradise?
The Government’s announcement of a new nationwide medium-density housing provision had media heads, local government planners and NIMBYs alike reeling all over the motu this week. But we suspect one anti-sprawl Invercargill Councillor will be celebrating. As someone who doesn’t want a section, I’m cheering Cr Pottinger on from my apartment balcony!
“We don’t want to be sprawling, the city doesn’t want to be expanding. Yet the plan is quite restrictive in the size of the section. Are we going to look at that? Are we going to allow for more dwellings for people who don’t want sections?”
AT comes right on Mission Bay
Now they just need to continue that design all along Tamaki Dr.
Start planning to cash in your clunker
Heck, my car’s become so useless since I got an ebike that I’d cash it in just for the convenience of not having to pay rego! An article on Driven (not a site we’d usually link to) flags a potential ‘cash for clunkers’ scheme could be coming to NZ to encourage the shift to EVs.
The “vehicle scrappage scheme” proposes the introduction of income-tiered EV rebates for New Zealanders who decide to give up their ICE car, coupled with financial support for the installation of home EV charging.
And this is tantalising – sounds like the much hoped for Ebike rebate could be coming our way.
It could also offer financial incentives for people to opt for low-emission alternatives, such as bicycles, rather than replacing their vehicles, the NZ government said in the long-awaited draft of its Emissions Reduction Plan.
How can EVs be better for people on streets?
While we know electric vehicles are by no means the full answer to decarbonising our transport, they definitely do have a part to play. This article at Nature explores how EVs can be designed to maximise their benefit and help make our streets safer for all. Making EVs smaller and lighter will reduce the energy they consume, and make them less dangerous to other road users. Proposals include taxing EVs by weight –
Setting registration charges on the basis of vehicle weight can discourage heavy vehicles and encourage light ones. Collecting weight-based charges also addresses another looming problem for governments — lost revenue from forgone petrol and diesel taxes as more electric vehicles hit the roads.
And compelling arguments for shrinking batteries –
Most consumers buy cars on the basis of reach because they worry about losing power or being unable to recharge on a long trip. Yet, most car journeys are short — to the shops or school. In the United States, for example, on average, drivers travel 56 kilometres per day, far short of the maximum range for electric vehicles.
But ultimately, it’s becoming increasingly obvious to everyone that the answer to safety in streets is simple: fewer cars.
Reducing the distance driven can help in meeting climate targets as electric and, eventually, automated vehicles become widely available10. Policies should ensure that alternatives such as walking, biking and public transport are safer, more convenient, accessible, affordable and reliable.
The rise of the gadgetbahn
This piece on Medium is a deep-in-the-details analysis of many of the issues we have with ‘innovations’ like autonomous vehicles and trackless trams (AKA long, bendy buses). In Cambridgeshire in the UK, they’re looking at building a tunnelled bus system called the Cambridge Autonomous Metro.
As I’ve heard it neatly put, “nodes before modes” — in other words, understand what a transport system needs to do and then pick an appropriate type of system that fits. Not the other way around.
Unfortunately, the CAM proposals typify the opposite approach.
Even the name itself is all about the technological whizzgiggery rather than describing the transport network independent of how it moves people about. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.
The week in flooding
We optimistically thought we might be able to do without this section for a while, but unfortunately last week was just a brief hiatus. While it’s shocking to see flash floods rip through picturesque European holiday destinations and world-famous megacities, it’s all the more horrifying and tragic to see climate change’s effects unleashed on poverty-stricken communities without the resilience or wealth to bounce back.
The New York Times reports on deadly and out-of-season flooding in India and Nepal this week, where the monsoon season is refusing to end well into the Northern Hemisphere autumn. It’s a stark reminder of the effects of climate change on the places where people are far more vulnerable than us.
Low traffic neighbourhoods are reviving neighbourhood shopping centres in London
We’re loving all the LTN news out of certain boroughs of London this year. With simple traffic filters and low-cost bike lanes, huge progress has been made to make streets and local centres more people-friendly, and residents are seeing the benefits.
4 years ago half of these retail units on Francis road were shuttered. Now it's a thriving street because of the removal of through traffic pic.twitter.com/pCfspjh0sg
— London Cycling Campaign (@London_Cycling) October 15, 2021
Let’s go red
Should we start a petition? Maybe scoria-red bike lanes would send them flowing like lava all over Auckland…
There’s a train, in fact a ‘cog railway’ in Stuttgart, that has a bicycle wheelbarrow attached to the front of it. Head to twitter to watch a video of it shunting a barrow-load of bikes uphill.
No need to answer, just something to think about.
— New York Lonely Boy (@StahlTactics) October 20, 2021
From the Queen Street Archives
I covet this kid’s stylish bike. And check out the leather satchel casually perched on the rear carrier.
How would these rangatahi fare in the fast walker lane? Remember to submit, today!
Have a lovely long weekend, and see you next week!