Kia ora – May is upon us but it feels like March, which is a little worrying but it’s lovely weather for getting out and about in the city…
The week in Greater Auckland
Monday’s post examined the changes proposed by AT to improve bus priority on Maioro Street – and a reminder, if you want to submit on the design, submissions are open until the 20th of May.
On Tuesday, Matt looked at the cost of cycling infrastructure in Auckland, and how the Cycling and Microbility Programme Business Case (CAM-PBC) could and should make bike lanes cheaper to build.
Wednesday’s post, by urban designer Anna Michels, walked through the apparent (and apparently fairly flawed) method behind Auckland Council’s Special Character Area assessments.
Yesterday, we published a guest post by sustainable transport campaigner Tim Adriaansen, arguing why the CAM-PBC should be endorsed by Council.
Northern Busway opens on Sunday
That’s right, the Northern Busway opens this weekend – Sunday the 8th of May! Here’s our recent blog post about it. Do pop into the comments and tell us about your experience if you find yourself on a bus on the busway on Sunday.
City of Colour event lights up the city centre
A light festival across Karangahape Road and the City Centre starts today, running until the 21 of May. From public installations to store-window displays, there looks to be lots of cool artwork to explore. Jump on a half-price bus or train and check it out.
Submit for housing and climate action
The frustrated and furious tone of the comments on Wednesday’s post, about Council’s attempts to maintain special character protections over large areas of the inner suburbs, suggests that many of Greater Auckland’s readers are sick of heritage protection at the expense of a livable future.
The Coalition for More Homes, of which Greater Auckland is a partner organisation, has created a submission guide for Auckland Council’s preliminary response to central governments housing direction.
The submission guide supports enabling more homes to be built in the right places, close to good public transport, existing centres, jobs and amenities.
Enabling people to live in areas where they can access their daily needs with a short walk or cycle is essential climate action and it also contributes to creating a more affordable, inclusive and vibrant city.
Submissions close on Monday the 9th of May. So, get your submission in this weekend!
Is housing really a generational divide?
Density vs heritage has been such a big topic over the last year, as Councils in Aotearoa’s Tier One cities have had to decide how they will implement the National Policy Statement on Urban Design. Adam Jacobson, writing at Stuff, argues that what we’re seeing is a generational divide when it comes to housing in urban areas.
The article quotes the opinions of heritage protection advocates, as well as those of young activists campaigning for increased density allowances.
Generation Zero spokesperson David Robertson said special character areas were pushing “much-needed housing” out of the central suburbs away from jobs, existing infrastructure and transport links, and forcing Aucklanders into “higher-carbon lifestyles”.
“We need more homes close to where people work, live, and play – it’s a question of liveability, affordability, equity and climate action in Auckland – all interlinked topics that need to be urgently addressed.”
And finally, for a neat summary of why this is all really important, watch this excellent animated graph all the way through to the end:
New Zealand comes in hot at the end. Wait for it. pic.twitter.com/1hx2xkWldX
— Jack Kevorkian (@kevorkian82) May 3, 2022
Council votes on the CAM-PBC
Council today voted to endorse AT’s direction for the planned $300m spend on cycling infrastructure over the next decade. The vote was split 13 for, 3 against… and 7 abstained. Mayor Phil Goff was among the votes in support, and pointed out the naivety of councillors voting for the Climate Action Plan but not in support of this cycling investment.
Goff also questioned those who would not offer even endorsement for something which would help cut carbon emissions as outlined in the city’s unanimously backed Climate Action Plan.
“There’s no point in voting for a 64% per cent cut [in transport emissions in the action plan], needing 7% of journeys to be cycling, and then not do anything about it,” he told the planning committee.
Safety was very much top of mind, in the wake of a report the previous day on how our streets are more dangerous for people walking, cycling, scooting and motorbiking than previously realised. The recent tragic cycling fatalities on Auckland streets featured in Councillor Jo Bartley’s speech (transcribed):
I don’t see this as something specific to cyclists. I see this as something for all Aucklanders. If I can just say: Ellerslie, Royal Oak, Panmure. Three areas in my ward where we have had people on their bikes killed. And that’s on my watch, as the councillor for Maungakiekie-Tāmaki. So I feel some responsibility. And I know when councillors hear of a death in their community, of someone who rode their bike to work or to school, they feel it as well. We all feel it. I just think we have a responsibility to do something.
Preventable cycling deaths
Earlier this week, Dr Tim Welch, from the school of Architecture and Planning at Auckland University, wrote about the planning choices that have lead to an unacceptable number of entirely preventable deaths of cyclists and pedestrians on our roads.
Many people would be willing to bike to work, school, for shopping and recreation if they felt safe. Without the infrastructure to ensure safety, they are left to drive cars, unfairly becoming one of the many that may one day exact a toll on a pedestrian or cyclist. The only change they need is a bit of cement along some of the thousands of kilometres of road and have fewer cars on the street.
What if, as Dr Welch describes further down in the piece, we could follow in the steps of cities that have truly committed to Vision Zero, and erase pedestrian and cycling deaths from our road toll entirely?
How different things can be
This short video is an evocative illustration of the experience of riding a bike on safe, well-designed cycling infrastructure compared to being forced to share the road with traffic.
Where I cycled last week vs. where I cycled this week. The contrast has really brought home how stressful cycling is at home, especially getting the kids to school and back! pic.twitter.com/FlQEuSrctH
— Sophie Clegg (@sophieclegg) April 29, 2022
Public comes out in support of the Climate Action Targeted Rate
There are some interesting numbers in Todd Niall’s report on the results of Council’s submissons process for the Climate Action Targeted Rate. The overall result was that the majority of submitters support the $57million-a-year targeted rate, with a little more of the generational divide discussed above evident in the results.
In the council’s normal budget consultation, 68% of 9200 Aucklanders who responded supported the proposed climate rate, with 27% against. Highest support of 83% was among those aged 15 to 24, and 65% among 65 to 74-year-olds.
The results of the survey are a clear mandate for council to invest in projects that are going to reduce our emissions, like the CAM-PBC they’ve just endorsed – and its as-yet unfunded $1.7b extension.
All Aboard vs. Auckland Transport
Meanwhile, Niall also reflected on time spent in the courtroom listening to Auckland Transport argue that its transport plan is lawful, despite increasing emissions by 6 percent.
Auckland Transport’s lawyer told the judge the agency did not dispute that climate change – global warming – was the most significant issue facing the world, that urgent measures were needed, and transport emissions were a priority.
But, AT argued, that was not the prime focus of the RLTP. Reducing Auckland’s still-rising transport emissions by 64% from 2016 levels, was the job of something else.
Not here, not now has become a familiar cry as Auckland struggles to get a meaningful programme of climate change under way, as the 2030 deadline for halving emissions edges ever closer.
Movement vs. the NZTA
And there’s another judicial review underway; in this case, Movement, a group advocating for safe active travel, is seeking a Judicial Review of Waka Kotahi for failing ‘to give effect to the Government’s priorities for land transport (GPS 2021) in preparing and approving the National Land Transport Programme for 2021-24’.
The hearing will happen after the 16th of September this year.
The future in flooding
Unless you started the week under a rock, you will have seen the press about the NZ Sea Rise research programme’s finding that because of existing tectonic movement, sea level rise is going to be much more dramatic in many parts of Aotearoa than previously expected.
What does that mean for Tāmaki Makaurau?
The interactive mapping tool, by data platform Takiwā, shows that of the hundreds of points studied around Auckland’s coastline, most of them are subsiding and will experience sea level rise around 50% higher than prior predictions. At Quay St, for example, the predicted sea level rise of 10cm (from 2005 levels) by 2030 will actually be around 14cm, and that could rise to 27cm in 2050.
Let’s charge the true cost of parking
So much money is lost subsidising the storage of private vehicles on public land. Peter McGlashan aptly demonstrates the flawed maths of our existing parking solutions here:
Ōrākei Park n Ride at Ōrākei Train Station full for the first time this year, people returning to Offices. Ridic u can park 1 stop away ($1 fare) from Britomart all day 4 FREE, when parking at Britomart is $20-30 per day. Faster we can hit sweet spot th better @AklTransport pic.twitter.com/b0SaNJJRsN
— Peter McGlashan (@PeterMcGlashan) May 1, 2022
The improper use of bollards
We love a bollard, and are avid followers of the World Bollard Association. But this week we’ve seen a few of our favourite street soldiers deployed in less honourable ways than we’d like.
Telling how a sign has more protection from vehicles than the cycleway that runs alongside it. Remind me, what are our values? pic.twitter.com/PzmcxitHwi
— Ben van Bruggen (@vburbandesign) May 3, 2022
And we’re sure the prospect of a midnight ram-raid keeps some shop owners awake at night (although you can’t help but wonder if there’s an element of moral panic in the rash of headlines), but is this really the right solution? Something looks a little awry in this picture.
While we generally doesn’t install bollards outside businesses, due to the high cost of ongoing maintenance at the expense of the public, AT is looking at a simplified process to support the business community, amid a spate of city ram raids https://t.co/J2cp9RhcSM pic.twitter.com/A18dlIxihy
— Auckland Transport (@AklTransport) May 4, 2022
CRL tunnel progress
Those CRL tunnels at the Karangahape Station are getting smoother, with the tunnel lining pour underway this week in the northbound tunnel. Can we keep the blue?
Te Huia’s numbers tracking up
Despite being rather unfairly scapegoated by Christopher Luxon and Simeon Brown this week Te Huia’s patronage has been increasing since the line was extended to the Strand. It seems like it’s been popular in the school holidays too.
te huia looking pretty full sailing past the flattie's window! pic.twitter.com/3Ar8KQ8wxx
— ✨sahil✨ (@its_sahilio) April 30, 2022
The multi-modal joys of urban life
Biked to the train station, half price fare (& free to take bike on train!), will bike between station & destination on the other side ( @AklTransport needs to build this leg into bike & ride in app). Faster than driving – this is urban living! pic.twitter.com/6SFGguOqx5
— City Chick (@lifelovingwoman) May 1, 2022
Who drives the least?
A couple of interesting graphs about the relationship between CO2 emissions, income and density caught our eye. American household data shows that people living in the densest places drive 70% less than the average, as mapped by Twitter user Zack Subin.
Denser zip codes have lower emissions per household than less dense – and people on higher incomes have higher emissions than people with less money.
People who live in denser areas have lower emissions in large part because they drive much less.
Connectivity is the key to the success of Paris’s Coronapistes
In neat little piece of research, Marcel Moran, a PHD student at UC Berkeley, mapped all of Paris’ coronapistes (temporary and interim bike lanes set up as a Covid-response strategy) to find out how they’d contributed to the network. Moran had watched pop-up bike lanes appear in cities worldwide in 2020, often in haphazard and disconnected ways. So what was different about the success of Paris’s Covid bike lanes?
For the study, Moran mapped Coronapistes by type – and and also by number of connections to other bike lanes. The strategy allowed him to track the network connectivity of Paris’ cycle infrastructure over time. The study found that the coronapistes, more than older parts of the network, served to plug gaps and increase connections between disconnected infrastructure over time.
Listen to Moran explain the project on the Spokesmen podcast.
Dreaming of arctic bike-packing
Find us a low-emissions way to get to the north of Norway, and we’ll be there, bikes in hand. If imaginary escapes are what you’re after this weekend, head over to The Guardian to read a travel account of a week on ebikes in the Helgeland Archipelago that includes ferries, kayaks and cod cheek.
Closer to home, ride the mighty Waikato
65kms of much more accessible new cycling trail will open soon: the Te Awa trail from Ngāruawāhia to Lake Karāpiro. Now, how far away are we from being able to catch Te Huia from Tāmaki to the start of the trail? That’d be a dream come true.
Ka kite – thanks for following along and enjoy your weekend!