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?

Keep your eyes peeled?

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.

Masterplan of the development planned for the area south of the Drury Central station.

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…”


Bollard Corner

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…

https://twitter.com/nzdodo/status/1488316587245711360



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.”

Cartoon shared by Twitter user Kim Harding

Charting the global rise in emissions

And here’s the graph that shows us the result of that can-kicking.


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.

Brightline’s electric high speed trains could be operating by 2026. Image source: Forbes

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 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

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:


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!

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48 comments

  1. I remember the volte-face on carbon emissions. It was nothing to do with corporate climate denial. It was because successive governments genuinely thought exotic forests were carbon sinks. They didn’t take into account that carbon is released again by the timber as it rots and when it is burned after use.
    NZ even signed the Kyoto agreement believing there would be a surplus and the government was later shocked to discover there would be a massive shortfall.

  2. “turns an entire street into a crosswalk.”

    A “crosswalk” seriously?!!?

    “CROSSWALK”

    Where are you from?
    Even the name of this stupid vandalisation contraption at least used the word Zebra.

    Sigh

    1. (author of the roundup here). I’m from Whangarei. Now living here in Tāmaki. Funny, when I wrote that bit I remember thinking: ‘what are these things called again? Crosswalks? That doesn’t sound right! Oh well, I’ll go with that, got a post to get through.’
      Brains are funny sometimes.

        1. To much watching Americanised Media and programing and our brains are forgetting what we were once taught .

    2. Note for readers: this is an old model of Translex. Later models (the Translex-2000 and newer) simply translate non-localised terms instead of generating strings of semi-randomised characters.

    3. No native mammals here that can’t fly or swim, so we call Zebras “pedestrian crossings” until we get fed up typing that every time. Crosswalk is a horrid american term that we only use for the white lines at traffic signals that are used to make walkers cross while they wait for ages to get over the road.

  3. I have biked the Panmure bikeway a couple of times and bussed past it more often. I have seen only 2 or 3 other bikers. Where are they?
    Some of those young trees are dying alongside the path. Surely the contractors must be caring for them for a few months after planting them.
    At the Otahuhu station yesterday the announcement was that the next train had standing room only. The trains are getting busier.
    There are calls for more tree coverage in Auckland including more natives. Many NZ trees can only be found here and we must support them first. South Auckland has the lowest coverage of all the areas. In the CBD there are several pohutakawa and some Nikau palms but most are exotics such as English Plane trees, Oaks, Elms, Poplars and Fig trees.
    I wonder how much of the rail to the airport will be spent on the roads. After much digging for tunnels most of the 24 km of road will be strengthened and replaced. Waka Kotahi likes to build roads with deep foundations and extra asphalt. The cost of this new road alone would be $billions.
    Surface LR is less cost.

    1. I like the native trees but exotics are good. They provide shade in the summer and then the leaves fall off to let in more light during the winter. For carbon sequestering I think we should look a mixture of both and look and not just pines. Willows, poplars, silver beech and eucalyptus will grow to massive size just as fast as pine especially if the ground around them is keeped free of other vegetation to lessens the fire risk. We should plant more of those in rural areas with more robust trees like plane oaks etc grown in the cities. Fear of falling branches or tree is a major reason why they get the chop. Drains getting blocked with leaves is another problem. Trees provide good firewood with the potential to be used to power electricity generation during periods of low renewable generation. Pohutakawa are my favourite especially during a hot summer like this one.

      1. Can I suggest Titoki, Fuschia, Kowhai, Rewarewa, Karaka, Totara and more.
        These are NZ evergreen natives.
        They are best suited for our conditions. Hardy and with no falling leaves that people complain about. Also we might get some Tuis, Kereru or Koramaka in CBD for people to enjoy.

        1. +1
          No real advantage for exotics. We really need many road corridors to become usable connections for birds as well as people. Our thanks to Ann Hartley QSO and others who have kept Kaipatiki green and show what we need to reclaim for the rest of the city.

        2. I think you will find that on average the exotics will sequester carbon more quickly than the natives. And not just pine the other exotics I mentioned will be just as fast. It’s important if you believe we need urgent actions to move to net zero by 2050 even if in the very long run natives would be better. And the wood produced may be needed to produce bio fuels to replace fossil fuels. But its not just one or the other there should be a balance or a mixture of trees there is a marvelous Grove of mixed eucalyptus and regenerating manukau surrounding the Awakeri camp and hot pools in the Eastern bay of plenty. And I would be prepared to bet it is sequestering more carbon than if it was just manukau. Already you can see other native species establishing themselves in the understory.

  4. That freeway looks a lot like the double-stacked proposals for the Auckland Waterfront and Viaduct area we’ve seen on here before.

  5. I took a deep dive through the World Bollard Federations posts…….that’s a bunch of time I won’t get back. Thanks for the rabbit hole!

  6. Putting bollards on bike lanes is dangerous, the current Dutch guidance is to avoid it. They still do it sometimes, but only on long separated paths where you can have long line markings ahead of the bollard.

    The problem here is a profound normalisation of deviance, I don’t see how you can solve this with infrastructure. If you try, people will literally tear it down.

    1. I don’t see how we can solve this without infrastructure. Clearly we need authorities with an actual intent to keep people safe – but imagine if we ever achieved that? They’d need infrastructure to assist them to turn this shit show of callous transport culture around.

      1. We need infrastructure but I think it solves a subtly different problem. Keeping people safe under normal operation (including the inevitable mistakes and slips that will happen) is a different problem than dealing with people who just don’t want to cooperate.

        There is a good likelihood that right now someone is unscrewing some of the bollards at project wave. It is not like someone mistakenly assumed those bollards were meant to be unscrewed when you want to park in those spots. (although they should really fill up those parking bays. Bike parking? Parklet?).

        Now follow any Dutch video blog about bike lanes. Look out for barriers to drive your car into a bike lane. Usually there are none. The infrastructure makes it obvious that you are looking at a bike lane, it often provides some separation between cars and bicycles, but it almost never physically prevents you from driving on it. The reason is that such barriers are usually also dangerous / PITA for cyclists. So why are their bike lanes not full of cars?

        A similar argument: what is up with the ‘Clearway’ signs over here? How do they keep cars out during rush hour? Are they imbued with some dark magic? Or maybe people know about some traffic rule that is actually enforced.

        1. Simply: tow trucks. But we do need to get signs and markings right first. Anything in the way of commuter cars, or buses, may get towed. Why not from footpaths or cycle tracks? But there is the need for either complaint or patrol, then time for the truck to get there. “I’m only here for (1,2,5,15) minutes so what’s the problem?”

        2. “But there is the need for either complaint or patrol, then time for the truck to get there. ”

          There is also need for AT to remove their policy of never towing a vehicle blocking a cycle lane or footpath. They only ever tow clearways, driveways, or dashed yellows.
          Their policy should be to tow any vehicle parked on a bike lane or footpath, regardless of whether the cycle lane or footpath is actually blocked. A huge number of drivers do not care about a $40 fine. But $200 for a tow ticket and the inconvenience of going to find your vehicle? That’s gonna deter you.

        3. Yes. And in reply to “we do need to get signs and markings right first” – I don’t believe that is a significant factor. Drivers have a responsibility to know the road code; they must not park inconsiderately. What I see everywhere in Auckland is a lack of enforcement of basic rules, that don’t require signs and markings. Some of the negligence is because AT has guidelines for parking officers that simply don’t align with the road user rule. Some of it’s operational decision-making, in which they choose to “waive” precious revenue – needed for critical safety projects – out of empathy for motorists, with zero equivalent empathy for the vulnerable road users left with a double-banger effect on worsening safety as a result.

        4. “we do need to get signs and markings right first” – I don’t believe that is a significant factor
          Completely agree Heidi. I cannot remember ever seeing a bus lane with a sign -“no cars”, or that every street is marked 50kph. The road code prevails.

        5. We can put a man on the moon 70 years ago but can put camera on bus, red lights and cycle ways. It’s not rocket science.

        6. Maybe it’s time the authorities started ticketing cyclists who fail to obey the road rules as well. There seems to a number of them who think red lights don’t apply to them.

      2. Yes infrastructure is desperately needed all over the show. In my ongoing war with AT about Rata Ash, I have had AT tell me that the Standard safety intervention toolkit (SSIT) can not be used to fund separated bike infrastructure (apparently). Another get out of building bike infrastructure card from AT.

        1. The remark about the bollards in the OP is about a bike lane that already exists.

          A big barrier to a proper bike network is the policy that after large roadworks the road is usually reinstated as is, instead of with an improved design to the latest standards. A few years back Mokoia Road in Birkenhead was in various state of being dug up for a long time (I think more than an entire year), and after all that they… just put it back exactly as it was before. That is why we can’t have nice things.

        2. Who knows if this is true! My experiences with AT suggest that they make things up if they don’t want to do something.

        3. Wayne. If a project costs more than ten million, they will now build bike lanes…? AT logic.

        4. Roeland. I get that, just more making a comment about the ever moving goal post. Why is being safe something that need to be caught for.

    1. Thanks, taka-ite. I agree, it truly is the most wicked problem we face. Every transport/urbanism project, from large to small, is an opportunity to ask ‘How many ways can this help reduce emissions? And how quickly?’

  7. I have a Question as the Beecard have killed the 2 cutoff times for those witht the Gold Card when will AT be doing the same ? .

    1. The Beecard site says, “When you tag on your Bee Card the readers will recognise you’re a SuperGold customer and you’ll travel free between 9am and 3pm and after 6.30pm on weekdays and all day weekends and public holidays. This timeframe may vary across regions, contact your local customer service point for more information.”

      Has something changed recently, David?

        1. Thanks. Meanwhile they don’t even have children’s concessions apart from for wee tots:

          “Currently there are no separate child and adult fares. Children under 5 years travel free.”

          The inequity is astonishing.

  8. Many people are aware in Auckland, that the cost of living is going up, inflation isn’t keeping up with wages and accessibility to transport or affording transport becoming harder than ever. What else we got? We also got the ALR project (Auckland Light Rail project) which intends to connect communities and making housing more affordable by placing Kainga Ora housing in Mangere. We know that the $14.6 Billion Hybrid Light Rail line that Minister of Transport is trying impose here is more expensive than ever while Heavy Rail $6 Billion project as of now would be cheaper option and more effective option, it would provide Aucklander’s with more benefits compared to Light Rail. Mangere will be deeply be affected by the change by causing displacement from community and creating homelessness, since the the Light Rail line will be going through streets of Bader Dr, Mckenzie Rd (Route 14) and Orly Ave while the Heavy Rail would be going along the SH20, along David Lange Park and have a trenched station in Mangere Town Centre and would cause minimal harmful impact compared to Light Rail.

    Once they decide to start construction on the line, ‘Value Capture’ get enacted and the Property Owners/Landlord will get greedy and will want profit, so what will they do? They’ll decide to kick out the lowest paying tenant out the curb so they can get the high paying renter who’ll be able to pay the Landlord/Property Owners more cash and satisfy them by ensuring them they’ll be able to pay higher rent. What does that mean for the low paying renter? Well they’ll have to find another accommodation or property to live in nearby, that is if they can find or afford to relocate further away from their area. If Tenant can’t find another property within a specific timeframe, they end on the streets and hope they’ll be able to get Kainga Ora assistance, that is if theirs enough accommodations to put a roof over their heads. Also means that those people will suffer highest amounts of stress because of displacement of their communities and will suffer the most.

    With people owning a home, well they can expect to their live savings to not grow or even be forced to move out their community due to the Kainga Ora’s ’Land Acquisition’ act which forces people out of no circumstances. Mangere as people know, it’s not a wealthy community, in fact it’s well known for being a poor community in whole of New Zealand. People’s properties values in that community is not high either would likely not be able to afford to live in another suburb nearby due to growing house values across Auckland which also provides them with enough bedrooms. Also with the ‘Value Capture’ enacted, means that they’ll be forced into rental homes or even into Kainga Ora to have a roof over their heads since their properties values aren’t growing while everyone else’s property values are growing at a significant rate in Auckland which means their only option is moving out of Auckland and into places like Tauranga, Hamilton, or such other places and hope their cost of living is better there, which also means their displaced out their original community.

    The Capital Gains, tax on investors and stricter market regulation solutions would not help people on low income, also for those who are renting and who own one properties. For renter, all these interventions would push Property Owner/Landlord seek ways of trying to earn a profit and look towards intimidating and manipulative ways of forcing their tenants to pay more. If the tenant choose’s to not pay more, their forced with no choice but to leave the property and hope they can find suitable accommodation. For every property owners who owns one property and is living nearby or living where the line will be erected, in-event they are asked to leave their properties, they must comply and search for a another property when property values are surging while their property value isn’t increasing along with other properties.

    Worse thing about this is that there targeting people who are already financially struggling and not going for unoccupied properties which aren’t being used by anyone. If the government keep planning on taxing more people on the lower income, they’ll be struggling with the cost of living, won’t be able to keep up with the rising cost, those people are highly likely to be displaced and suffer from miserable outcomes. There’s also COVID-19 still to contend with, the risk of displacement can also lead to negative health outcomes such as infectious disease, chronic disease, stress, and impeded child development due to lack of sense of belonging and association to a particular community. These health implications have been studied by WHO (World Health Organisation) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) USA based federal health agency.

    The same exact thing has happened to vulnerable communities in Los Angeles, USA and countless other places across the country, also Los Angeles happens to be sister cities with so its a perfect example for us! Studies from UCLA(University of Los Angeles) found that “neighborhoods near [light-rail and subway stations] are more associated with increases in white, college-educated, higher-income households and greater increases in the cost of rents.” This is because many apartment owners push out low-income tenants so they can charge higher rents to new tenants or build a new building and most new housing developments near transit (sometimes known as transit-oriented developments (TODs)) include only luxury apartments with new retail and dining options that attract people who can afford this lifestyle. This means that TODs give landlords incentive to displace low-income residents from their homes in order to attract higher earners who now find these transit-rich areas desirable. It also happened around many African American neighbourhoods where all over the USA and completely went ahead, left vulnerable people homeless as a result, with no financial backing or assistance services backing.

    Perfect example of this would be Crenshaw line, a Light rail line, which goes through big African/American community just like with Mangere where its a big Maori/Pasifika community, now being turned into a luxury neighbourhood for rich high economic background folks which are people likely European Americans displacing their communities. There even looking to construct a gold plated mall in the community too so they can get rid of the dirty and ugly looking properties to keep it gold standard, pretty good right? You can find multiple news sources on this issue, all you have to do is type ‘Crenshaw line displacement’ and there you’ll find heaps of articles about how the project is being used to displace people out of their neighbourhoods. Already given one source down below, better check it out! It’s also happening to Native Canadian’s in Canada and Indigenous Australians.

    Solution to our problem is obvious, we should extending the Heavy Rail line at Onehunga towards the Airport, cheaper and faster to construct. Only a $6 Billion project as of right now vs Light Hybrid Rail $14.6 Billion, also Heavy Rail would benefit everyone as a whole since it would be convenient for everyone as a whole. Inflation is likely going to exacerbate and go past our record rate at 17.15% in 1980, a rate that a lot of New Zealand under 40’s have never seen before due to no inflationary pressures over the years, already expecting 7.4% inflation. As a result, if Light Rail was to go ahead, a lot of people would suffer from the impacts it would create cause of the excessive inflated cost, which also means Maori/Pasifika and next generations will suffer by the enormous tax cost each year. That is why we need to place road tolls on Auckland main roads which heading towards the CBD to cover for other transport projects across the region instead of going for over priced projects which make no real difference or benefits people across the communities particularly Mangere which is affected by the change and across Auckland who want mode of transport which is fast, convenient to getting from point A to B.

    https://www.urbandisplacement.org/maps/los-angeles-gentrification-and-displacement/

    https://www.saje.net/measure-m-lacks-anti-displacement-investments-will-push-low-income-communities-la-county-unless-metro-acts-now/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_impact_of_light_rail_systems

    https://www.laweekly.com/l-a-s-highest-increasing-home-values-are-along-metros-crenshaw-line/

    https://nextcity.org/urbanist-news/looking-back-at-the-racial-dynamics-around-controversial-zoning

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