We’ve arrived at Huitanguru (February) already! Plenty happening in 2022 so far. Hope you’ve enjoyed your short week.
Cover image: still from the Waka Kotahi video on the Brooklyn Hill cycleway, featured below in the post.
The week in Greater Auckland
- On Tuesday, Matt responded to the Auckland Light Rail announcement that was made on Friday last week. There will be more debate to come for sure.
- On Wednesday, we had a post by Heidi looking at the East Tamaki industrial area, and how mode shift could be encouraged there.
- In yesterday’s post, Matt asked about why planned North-West bus improvements haven’t got underway.
New Waihorotiu-Queen Street changes – maybe?
We were going to lead with street changes for the latest developments on the Wai Horotiu Queen Street Valley project. However the tweet announcing the changes, screen-shot below, seems to have been deleted, and there’s nothing on the webpage. Here’s our post about the latest version of the design, published in September 2021.
Will cars be blocked from lower Queen Street in order for the proposed work to be completed?
Could that change be made permanent?
Watch this space?
Drury and Pareata train stations on their way
Along with other improvements, two new southern stations have just received planning consent, and are a step closer to construction. The Drury Central and Pareata stations are due to be completed in 2025.
KiwiRail Acting Chief Executive David Gordon said today’s decision is great news for the people who live or intend to live in Southern Auckland and provides those investing in housing developments confidence on linkages and integration with the rail commuter network.
“With more than 100,000 people expected to move into the area over the next 30 years, the stations and our project to electrify the railway between Papakura and Pukekohe, will provide them with better access to public transport.”
The stations will include bicycle and walking connections, bicycle parking, bus interchanges, accessways and park and ride car parks.
We posted about the design of these stations back in February 2021.
Streets for People and the Brooklyn Hill cycleway
Here’s a fantastic video about the Brooklyn Hill cycleway featuring Wellington City Councillor Tamatha Paul and a really cool kid called Monty. The cycleway was funded and implemented through Waka Kotahi’s Innovating Streets for People program, and demonstrates how powerful simple road reallocation can be for accessibility.
Monty really gets what being able to bike safely around your city means:
“Yeah it gives me a lot more independence to do stuff when I want to do it, not when Mum’s free…”
Brooklyn Road is a popular route for people using all forms of transport—and now those on bikes have a separate lane up the hill, keeping them away from traffic and making for a safer ride. Read more about Streets for People: https://t.co/BE3JzP3BuQ @WgtnCC @TamathaPaul pic.twitter.com/lGBxeTBsaL
— Waka Kotahi NZTA Wellington (@WakaKotahiWgtn) February 2, 2022
We are unabashed fans of a good bollard – check out the World Bollard Federation‘s Twitter feed for some excellent examples of bollards in action around the world, keeping cars out of spaces for people.
So it’s surprising to see a response from Auckland Transport to a request about how to keep cars out of cycleways and off footpaths. Apparently bollards are a hazard, while cars parked on footpaths aren’t?
A Traffic Engineer has looked into the problem you raised.
We won’t be installing bollards at this location. In general we don’t install features such as bollards on footpaths and cycleways as these also act as a barrier to legitimate path users, such as people on bikes, pedestrians with vision or mobility challenges, and families with young children in pushchairs.
While it’s true that too-short or badly placed bollards can be an impediment to all of the above including cargo bikes, those are also exactly the kinds of ‘legitimate path users’ (or shall we call them people?) who are able to navigate around bollards. And you know who can’t, by definition? Illegitimate path users.
Meanwhile, check out these Rotorua bollards. Now you’re talking…
It’s time to get serious about reducing speed
Unsafe speeds have been in the news in the last few weeks. We’ve had a few posts on the topic last week, including this one by Heidi about our vision zero commitments, and a re-published op-ed by the Minister for Transport. In this article on newsroom, researcher Jess Berentson-Shaw writes that it’s time we have a serious, nationwide discussion about speed and its implications on our road – and why it’s proving to be such a prickly issue.
Berentson-Shaw’s intelligent, informed take on tricky issues is always worth a read.
Speed reductions come down to what the collective “us” value most, and in this case that is protecting the lives of all of us who use streets and roads across our communities. Especially more vulnerable members of society like children. Lowering speed has been shown to save people’s lives. It doesn’t mean that other things do not matter. However, for policy makers – the people who we ask to work on society’s behalf with our collective best interests at heart – acting as stewards and protectors and making pragmatic, considered decisions, some things will always matter more.
Protect your bike with a 529 Shield
529 Garage is a community bike resource to help track and recover stolen bikes. Bike Auckland is promoting the system here in Tāmaki, and encouraging us all to sign up: register your bike online and you’ll receive a free 529 sticker with a custom serial number on it. Stick the shield to your bike, and if it gets stolen, it will be easier to track down.
All of our climate predictions were wrong
Stuff reports on powerful lesson we need to learn from: in the mid 1990s, our carbon emissions were judged to be net negative (factoring sequestration from forests) and the government believed we were on track to drop by half by the year 2000.
The then Environment Minister, Simon Upton, told a seminar at the Plimmer Towers in Wellington his government was committed to keeping CO2 emissions at 1990 levels, while maintaining economic growth and minimising environmental impacts.
“In fact, given the extent of carbon absorption by our forest sinks we expect to achieve a reduction in net emissions of over 50 per cent below 1990 levels by 2000,” Upton told the conference, which was attended by about 200 people.
In fact, our emissions climbed dramatically. What happened in the intervening decades?
Climate Change Minister James Shaw remembers the figures being quoted in 1994, and it shows how wrong officials were.
“There was, at the time, a huge push in the corporate world against action on climate change,” Shaw said. “When I said ‘they’, I mean, it’s never a monolithic group. But a number of … leading businesses in the Business Roundtable at the time were arguing sort of a denialist claim, and kind of trying to kick the can down the road. They largely succeeded.”
Charting the global rise in emissions
And here’s the graph that shows us the result of that can-kicking.
40 years of blah blah blah. pic.twitter.com/9QD6OFjaa5
— Timothée Parrique (@timparrique) February 1, 2022
UK city starts a mobility credit scheme
We’ve got our eyes peeled for schemes like this, and hope that something similar could be built into AO/NZ’s feebate system soon. Coventry City Council is offering residents 3,000 pounds to spend on alternative forms of transport if they trade in their car.
Adam Tranter, who was appointed cycling and walking commissioner for the West Midlands in December, told The Independent: “Mobility Credits is an innovative scheme to help people scrap their old polluting vehicles and use cleaner, greener transport instead.
“Since the pilot launched, people have been able to use credits towards public transport, cycle hire, car clubs and taxis.
The purpose of the scheme is to combat pollution in the region, as well as to encourage more sustainable means of transport.
Californian high speed rail on its way?
Head over to the Urbanize website for some lovely, shiny renders of a potential high-speed rail project for California.The 170-mile project is planned to run from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, and could break ground in 2023. The announcement comes after a couple of false starts – 2020 and 2021 were previous potential start dates. Will it finally get going this time? The start of an east-west high speed rail in the USA could be transformative for cross-country travel.
And the demise of a Californian mega-road
The Embarcadero Freeway in San Francisco has to be one of the worst examples of the post-war destruction of cityscapes by motorways. Liveable Cities has a post about the history of the freeway and how it came to an end. The freeway was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1989, and led to years of public debate about what to do with it.
The debate was extensive, and the city’s poet laureate contributed this:
What destroys the poetry of a city?
Automobiles destroy it, and they destroy more than the poetry. All over America, all over Europe in fact, cities and towns are under assault by the automobile, are being literally destroyed by car culture. But cities are gradually learning that they don’t have to let it happen to them. Witness our beautiful new Embarcadero! And in San Francisco right now we have another chance to stop Autogeddon from happening here. Just a few blocks from here, the ugly Central Freeway can be brought down for good if you vote for Proposition E on the November ballot.
In the end, the city and its people decided to tear down the structure and establish a waterfront boulevard in its place.
The Embarcadero Freeway was possibly the worst piece of infrastructure in California history.
It limited access to the bay waters, hid the beautiful Ferry Building, and upset citizens across the peninsula. The San Francisco Chronicle even called it a "hideous monstrosity." pic.twitter.com/fmdFA14HXW
— Gabriel Hamilton (@GabrielsNotes) February 1, 2022
The Zebra Machine creating streets for people
Only in The Netherlands? The Zebra Machine is a bicycle-powered road painting contraption that turns an entire street into a crosswalk.
Street corners as a city’s indicator species
Street corners & People. You can tell a great city by its corners. If the intersection is owned by vehicles, it is a city for cars and traffic. If the community controls the intersections and corners, it is a city of neighborhoods and of people. @Fred_Kent https://t.co/gLdPXZ7WMW pic.twitter.com/uYyutbDFGH
— Penalosa_G (@Penalosa_G) February 1, 2022
And we’ve almost certainly shared it here before, but this animation is a perfect demonstration of how a street corner can become more people friendly:
These deadly, soul-crushing curves are everywhere and were deliberately designed to allow motorists to take corners fast. They can be deliberately undesigned. pic.twitter.com/n8lqbgL0BA HT @pinoyurbanist @fietsprofessor
— Carlton Reid (@carltonreid) February 2, 2022
Have a wonderful Waitangi weekend. If you’re sticking around this weekend, here are some ideas on how to celebrate Waitangi Day from home, courtesy of Leonie Hayden at The Spinoff.
Ā tērā wiki!