Another week, and just like that we’re halfway through March! Welcome to our weekly roundup.
The week in Greater Auckland
- Monday’s post covered the recent meeting of Auckland Council’s Environment and Climate Change committee, and the councillor’s responses to the tragic death of Levi James, on his bike in Royal Oak.
- Tuesday’s looked at the Government’s proposal to drop fuel taxes and halve public transport fares for three months.
- On Wednesday, Matt wrote about what we know about the Rapid Transit Plan for Auckland that is being developed at the moment
- Yesterday, Matt wrote about the Coroner’s finding that an unsafe intersection was the primary factor in the death of a man in a wheelchair, and AT’s (lack of) response.
Safety watch: 12
It’s been 12 days since Levi James was killed in Royal Oak and Auckland Transport are yet to remove any carparks.
Where could fare-free public transport take us?
Everyone’s excited about the Government’s decision to cut public transport fares by half for the next three months, and the hints that the fare-drops could be here to stay. Stuff went out and spoke to a range of people to paint a picture of the possible outcomes of the fare price drop, how a complete removal of fares might compare, and the uncertainty that the panemic context creates.
Matt is quoted, as is Kirsty Wild, who:
backs the complete removal of fares for everyone, for about-town and inter-city travel. While this could reduce emissions, Wild also focuses on the social impacts. “There’s decent evidence that it will make a different to transport poverty.”
The current system, which compels people to own a car and even prioritise petrol over food, was a “real source of misery for a lot of New Zealanders”, she said. Even before this month’s skyrocketing fuel prices, transport costs had already doubled for low-income households over the last five years.
Fare-free public transport is “a basic foundation for a just transition”.
Yes, every neighbourhood deserves good bike lanes
It’s great to see columnist Bernard Orsman coming out in support of improved cycling infrastructure in South Auckland. While Orsman’s op-ed starts from the premise of ‘rich suburbs are getting all the cycling investment’ (albeit six years behind schedule), what follows is actually a really comprehensive list of local South Auckland leaders who really want to see safe cycling infrastructure in their communities.
[Manurewa-Papakura councillor Angela] Dalton, who sits on groups reviewing cycleway plans and reducing transport emissions, said emission targets could not be addressed without applying an equity lens and delivering projects that suited the reality of life in South Auckland. […]
The Conifer Grove Residents Association, of which [Kelvin] Hieatt is a committee member, has been urging AT to get rid of the existing cycleway or build a shared, off-road path for cyclists and pedestrians on the existing 3m wide footpath. […]
“AT concedes the painted lines are not adequate but keep telling the Papakura Local Board the shared path is unbudgeted and not planned for implementation. We want innovation in South Auckland”.
That sounds like a mandate!
Simon Wilson on the real cost of cycleways
In response, perhaps, to Bernard Orsman, Simon Wilson (in the Herald, paywalled) does a good job of breaking through the usual misinformation and hysteria about the cost of cycleways. One of his final points is one I hope we’re going to see more of in the near future.
Here’s the sixth thing. Cycleways, whatever they cost, are by far the cheapest transport infrastructure available to us. We should be rolling out as many as we can.A full network for safe cycling and a scheme to subsidise or even give away e-bikes would cost billions of dollars less than all the other transport projects planned and hoped for at the moment.We could get it done within five years. And then measure the impact on congestion and emissions and decide: do we still need to spend hysterically large amounts of money on tunnels, either for road or rail?
For the TL:DR version, this tweet is a reasonable summary of some of Wilson’s main arguments.
Thread: scratch a 'gold-plated' cycle project and you'll often find a lot of money going to repairs that are necessary for cars https://t.co/7PLuHMpmTN
— Christina Robertson (@cjr_robertson) March 14, 2022
Making cycling safe for women
This essay on The Evening Standard considers the author and her friends’ experiences as women cycling in London – and how much more dangerous it seems to be for them than for men.
Sustrans’ 2019 Bike Life survey found that 36 per cent of women who do not cycle would like to start – but most are put off by safety issues. It’s no wonder: studies have found female cyclists in the UK are at greater risk from lorry deaths than male cyclists and twice as likely to face “near misses” or driver harassment.
Making cycling safer for women is, of course, pretty simple: it’s exactly the same as making cycling safer for everyone.
Farrah and her Ebike (and her Pomeranians)
And here’s an awesome woman in London, who cycles to the food bank she founded with her two rescue dogs secured in her ebike’s carriers. Follow the twitter thread to read the full story!
Farrah, Ziggy & Teddie
Credit to my partner for finding this incredible family, striking up conversation with Farrah over her unusual Pomeranian-esque duo while picking up pizza. (1/10) pic.twitter.com/DCuUxOCJUD
— dogsbybike (@dogsbybike) March 11, 2022
All Aboard asks the High Court to rule Auckland’s 10-year Transport Plan unlawful
All Aboard continues its work taking a legal challenge to the Reagional Land Transport Plan, arguing that the plan is unlawful because it will increase transport emissions – when in Auckland’s target is to reduce emissions by 64%.
All Aboard said advice from Auckland Transport before each approval of the RLTP did not properly inform the decision-makers, and contributed to the approvals being unlawful. The other parties deny the claim.
That advice included that investment in infrastructure and services had only a minor impact on total emissions. Blending in other government initiatives such as the Clean Car Discount would turn the plan’s 6 per cent emission rise into a 1 per cent fall.
Safer crossings needed in Pōneke
Just around the corner from the pedestrian crossing that Wellington Airport is fighting tooth and nail to prevent, Evans Bay Parade has few crossings, and is very dangerous to cross, particularly for members of the disabled community. Stuff reports on local woman Catherine Soper’s hair-raising experiences trying to get across:
Catherine Soper lives with cerebral palsy and a vision impairment. She sometimes waits up to 15 minutes to cross the road safely in Roseneath, where she lives.
She had a close call in February when she was crossing the road from the bus stop near her house.
She had crossed halfway and then realised there was a car coming. Instead of stopping, despite Soper holding a red and white cane, the car swerved around her and three other cars followed, with one car beeping at her to get out of the way.
Ebike helps Temel complete his peace pilgrimage
Temel Atacocugu was shot at the Al Noor mosque three years ago, and this month he set out on foot to complete a ‘walk of peace’, retracing the terrorist’s route from Dunedin to Christchurch. Temel has fundraised more than $40,000 for charity along his walk.
However, struck down by injury in Timaru, Temel ended up in hospital. An ebike purchased from the local bike shop got him back on the road, carrying him to Christchurch in time to complete the last few kilometers to the Mosque on foot, on time for the anniversary of the attack.
Petrol price surge creates immediate surge of interest in ebikes and EVs
File this under #predictable? As published this week on Stuff, it seems that the rising price of fuel has prompted many New Zealanders to look at getting an electric vehicle, or an ebike.
Dan Mikkelsen of Wellington’s Bicycle Junction said the impact of the fuel price hikes was “immediate” with their store “slammed” by customers on Saturday morning.
“It’s like people woke up to the news and thought ‘I’m going to the bike shop’.”
But if you’re thinking about ditching the black stuff – think about an ebike first!
An ebike might make a bit more sense than an EV for most, too, as this article suggests.
E-bikes are the most addictive, fun, transformative product on the market right now, which makes them incredibly effective as a car replacement. You only need to try one, and you’ll want to ride it for the most mundane of errands, like picking up stamps from the post office.
Every ebike-purchase is good news for those of us who use our bikes to get around: every new ebike is one more person discovering how great cycling is, and how inhospitable our roads can be to people on bikes.
More ways to get around without using fossil fuels
Jess Berenston-Shaw compiled a list which is a great summary of fossil-fuel-free transport solutions, from infrastructure to policies and subsidies, to simple public realm improvements. She’s got 17 suggestions, grouped under ‘bike related’, ‘public transport’, ‘walking’, ‘urban design’, and finally, ‘who sets the agenda’. Can you think of any other examples?
Renounce oil, reclaim the streets
Once you’ve got your ebike, you’re ready to reclaim the streets.
— Jan Kamensky (@jan_kamensky) March 13, 2022
People of Kyiv shelter in their metro
The Kyiv transport app, which used to be used for buying transit tickets and checking timetables, was turned overnight into alife-saving app that directs residents to bomb shelters, warns them when air raids could begin, and when the raids are over.
Meanwhile, amidst the horror unfolding around them, the Kyiv Metro is continuing to provide safe haven for thousands of people.
The people of Kyiv have grown suddenly much more attached to their metro, one of the most beautiful and deepest in the world. The metro is no longer a form of transport – it is a haven, like something from an apocalyptic movie. It is covered with signs of permanent presence of non-travelling “passengers” and there is living space everywhere. The station platforms are being turned into cinemas where films are shown for free – children’s films in the morning and films for a wider audience later in the day.
Jakarta: an unexpected transport success story
Jakarta, home to 31 million people and the most populous city in South East Asia, has been through a transit renaissance in a very short space of time. This blog post explains how Jakarta has transformed from one of the world’s most congested cities to a leader in cycling and public transport. Cycling is up more than 500% from 2019, and the city’s metro system recently surpassed 1m users per day.
One reason for the success seems to be that mode shift is actively championed from the highest levels of local and national government.
It’s telling that Governor Anies Baswedan, the top public official in Jakarta, often makes announcements about mobility policies and public transit improvements himself, rather than outsourcing the task to a less-high ranking official. The message is clear: Jakarta’s highest-ranking leader understands the importance of good transportation.
How’s this for a to-the-point piece of transport policy:
“All road segments are prioritized for pedestrians and bicycle transport users as a means of daily mobility for accessible distances.”
Work has also gone into integrating the many competing transport providers and making strategic, joined-up, network-wide improvements and small and large scales, like making sure MRT stations connect with other modes.
In terms of cycling, Jakarta, like many cities around the world, created pop-up bike lanes as part of their pandemic response, and those are being made permanent. other improvements make cycling more attractive, like bike-friendly train carriages and provision of bike parking.
Beautiful green housing development in Dusseldorf
This design for a dreamy, greenery-laden German housing development caught our eye. It’s the winning proposal for a cooperative housing development, designed around principles of integration and harmony with the surrounding village and landscape. A key design move was preserving as many existing trees as possible, which creates the effect of compact and dense houses that are filtered through a forest setting.
Sweden’s speed camera lottery
Good ideas corner. Sweden has had huge success implementing Vision Zero, too. The country adopted Vision Zero in 1997, and deaths on Sweden’s roads have halved in number since then.
The speed camera lottery in Stockholm, Sweden. Drive at or under the speed limit and you’ll be entered into a lottery where the prize fund comes from the fines that speeders pay. Average speed reduced from 32 km/h to 25 km/h (a reduction of 22%). from interestingasfuck
Relive 90s cool in Wellington
Were you in Pōneke in the 90s? You might recognise some of the scenes in this great Flickr album.
Ride the new Elizabeth Line!
if you love the tube, and you love purple, you’ll love this.
Increasing temperatures, visualised
This is a brilliant animation showing how average yearly temperatures have changed in the last 140 years. Must-watch all the way until the end.
The clever people at @NASA have created this deceptively simple yet highly effective data visualisation showing monthly global temperatures between 1880-2021. Watch until the end…
— Dr Kirstin Ferguson (@kirstinferguson) March 13, 2022
The tiniest superhero on two wheels
Finally, because she is so charming, and because she’s one reason we want safer streets and low-emissions cities, here’s the pint-sized-cyclist and an extreme superhero maneuver:
Ka kite, have a great weekend and we’ll see you next week.