What a busy couple of weeks it’s been. We skipped roundup last week, so please enjoy a fortnight’s worth of fun links.

Last week in Greater Auckland

On Monday, Scott wrote about protecting Auckland’s urban character, rather than just a particular type of house.

Tuesday’s post looked at the evolution of the design of the CRL stations, and their beautiful new names.

On Wednesday, Matt asked if the Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) would include a green light for [de]congestion pricing. (Spoiler: kinda?)

On Thursday, Heidi wondered if AT would rethink the Eastern Busway, in the light of, y’know, climate and everything.

And on Friday, Matt leapt on the news about a dangleway, sorry, gondola across the Waitemata harbour.

And this week!

We started with a Monday morning post on what we hoped to see in the ERP for transport…

…followed by Tuesday’s guest post by Tim, laying out what was actually in the ERP for transport.

On Wednesday, Matt looked at the latest sprawl-friendly planning on the northwest fringes and in Warkworth.

And Thursday’s guest post from Roeland discussed why walking to a city centre greenspace should be – but isn’t – a walk in the park.

Greater Auckland (Matt) in the news

What with all the transport and housing news, there’s been hot demand for informed commentary on transport and housing, which Matt’s been working overtime to supply. This is just a sample:

Not for the first time, we find ourselves wondering where the discourse would be without the hours we advocates put in to advancing the conversation – with our readers always a crucial part of airing ideas that matter.

EVs continue to eat away at global demand for oil

A new report notes that thanks to electric vehicles of all kinds, every day 1.5 million barrels of oil are no longer needed. Of course, that’s still just a fraction of global oil demand – about 1.5% –  but by 2030 it could be up to ten times that, which suggests we’ve hit peak oil. This article (see more graphs here) goes into the details.

So, which EVs are doing the lion’s share of liberating the world from fossil fuels? Check out the graph below – those yellow bars especially!

In this case, “2/3 wheelers” doesn’t include bicycles; this is mainly mopeds and scooters. But it does suggest that smaller, more nimble electric vehicles have great appeal. After all, two-wheelers already make up the largest portion of the EV fleet in New Zealand, with six or seven e-bikes sold for every electric car – and fast catching up with sales of all new cars.

One of the most glaring gaps in the ERP was a lack of policy around e-bikes, including making them affordable to more New Zealanders via means-tested subsidies, say. You’ve really got to wonder why our government isn’t pedalling like billy-o towards this obvious silver bullet for climate action, transport equity, and healthier streets.

A need for lighter cars

Meanwhile here in NZ a surprising ally emerged this week with the Vehicle Importers Association suggesting we should be trying to encourage lighter cars to improve safety

All around the world, cars are getting heavier, on average edging up above a tonne and a half or more.

Nowhere around the world is vehicle mass with all its pros and cons – such as bigger cars doing more damage – factored in to safety ratings directly and fully, though they do give a nod to it.

Now Vehicle Importers’ Association (VIA) chief executive David Vinsen has begun asking, what if it was?

“What we’re suggesting is that maybe mass needs to be taken into account as well, when we look at the overall safety of the fleet, not just the individual vehicle,” Vinsen said.

“If every vehicle was lighter, the overall safety of the network and the fleet would increase.

Whither affordable public transport?

A recent piece by Tom James of the Helen Clark Foundation looked at how affordable and reliable public transport, as well as being climate action, helps people with the cost of living. And only a week or so ago, we were all wondering if half-price PT fares were here to stay, especially as they seemed to be driving more uptake.

Yesterday’s budget delivers a bit of a yeah-nah: an extension for two more months, and permanently for people with Community Services Cards – but not so much for everyone else. Of course, service improvements are a huge part of attracting more people to hop on a bus and leave the car at home. But unpredictable and unfair fares don’t help.

The week in good news about Te Huia

Todd Niall writes about the steady shift in perception and usage of the Auckland-Hamilton train, from a weekday train for workaday Hamiltonians, to that plus a regular delight for day-trippers and weekenders from both ends of the route:

Designed to take Hamiltonians to Auckland, it started with two trips north in the morning, with the trains parked up for the day until taking its passengers back to Hamilton.

A step forward has been the decision to run a return service south in the morning and back in the afternoon, opening the day-excursion market to 1.7 million Aucklanders.

It’s also doing its bit for climate. Imagine, what if there was more of this?

Nice comms from Auckland Transport

The Airport Link is all about connections, is the subtext of this cute new video…

We also liked this, telling the ‘why’ of the parking strategy…

Although, a nerd note: 2000 vehicles per hour is about the most a free flowing motorway lane can move, but urban streets with traffic lights, intersections, etc is about half that, so really one traffic lane carries about 1,000 cars per day. The point stands – anything that moves, especially buses and bikes, is a more efficient and effective use of precious street space than something that’s just parked there.

A brickbat on Tamaki Drive

All the good comms (and public confidence) get undermined in a flash by this sort of thing: dangerous placement of roadworks signs, creating a pinch point for people on bikes, in this case on our city’s busiest bike route. AT responds it will look into the specific instance. And then we all wait for the next awful example. How does this keep happening??! 


Update on the Judicial Review of the RLTP

The judgement won’t be in for a while. But astute readers will find much to chew over in the case files on All Aboard’s website.

Look and learn

While our ERP mentioned safer school streets as something definitely worth looking into, other places are cracking on at pace. London, for example, has rolled out a casual 350 School Streets in just one year. Check it out.

Liberate those lanes!

Paris is also ploughing ahead with turning motorways into greenspace – or greener space, at least. In time for the 2024 Olympics, the ring road around the capital will feature a lane dedicated to buses, taxis and car-pooling. The following phase will see 50,000 new trees and a reduction in traffic lanes. C’est bon, non?

Of course, you can do the same sort of right-sizing and greening on any old street. Try it, Auckland – you might like it.

Mexico City’s cycling boom

Paris isn’t the only city getting ready for its close-up. Click through for a great thread about what’s happening in Mexico City.

Pop-up parks and portable street trees

Tactical urbanism fans can take inspiration from some more tools for the toolbox. Who wouldn’t want to see a bikeable swarm of parklets roll up into your neighbourhood…

… or a fleet of twelve hundred street trees, making a stately wheeled progression around the city to show how streets feel when fully forested? Interestingly, the “walking trees” project in Leeuwarden includes a mock trial on behalf of the trees, “inspired, in part, by countries such as New Zealand, Ecuador and Canada where humans can represent nature during a court case.”


The good (shared) life

A nice read about the co-housing development CoHaus, featuring Barbara Grace, who says “I’d always been interested in some other way of living – not one family, one home. And, with climate change issues, the whole idea of shared resources appealed. It makes so much sense to share stuff.”

CoHaus dwellers in the twenty apartments share four hybrid cars and two EVs between them. They also share the laundry, guest suite, garden house, bike shed – and at the heart of the development, what was once “a pile of mud and builders’ rubble” is now a shared courtyard garden, created collectively by the residents.

The courtyard garden at CoHaus in Grey Lynn. Image: Stuff Media.

New London Tube Map

After first starting construction in 2009, the Elizabeth Line, or Crossrail as it was previously known, is finally due to open on Tuesday and that means the Tube map has been officially updated.


Leisurely long reads

A few literary urbanism links for your weekend reading pleasure…

When you open Alexander’s book A Pattern Language and start flicking through, one of the first things that surprises you, is that this is a guide to the elements that are needed to make great places but it has this bizarre and surprising mixture of things. You see things about how to design walkable cities and good roofs, but then there are suggestions like “Old People Everywhere.” It says a good city should have a mix of ages, lots of old people about.

One of the recommendations is “A Carnival.” Or “Dancing In The Street.” My favorite is “Child Caves.” Any good space should have smaller spaces that are only accessible to children, because children love to have a little cave they can go in. All of these things are not elements of design as traditionally conceived. They are taking aspects of human life that make being alive joyful and interesting and then treating those as being important design elements.


Our gorgeous header image this week comes from this tweet by Ian Ray. Catch you on the sunny side!

[ka kite]

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    1. ” “Most of these youths don’t have the money or resources to move around the city at will.

      “By preventing that movement they won’t have the ability to congregate intimidate and offend against those who are legitimately trying to go about their business.

      “We need to prevent their ability to move about the city at will.”

      … oh my God, he admit it. Zero fares allow poor kids to be mobile – and that’s a bad thing and we’re going to stop it. The sheer eugenics of it.

      1. “These youths have been cutting our seats, burning our seats, burning floor coverings, melting window laminate, and graffiting basically all parts of the bus.

        “We are having to fix vandalism on our buses on a daily basis.

        Seems like a good reason to restrict their access to buses to me. There are drivers and other passengers to consider as well.

        1. Seems like a good reason to restrict access to buses for that small number of individuals. Seems like a terrible reason to exclude low income people nationally.

        2. What they could do is like what I saw in San Jose on a bus in “97” was a basic seat that has no padding on it sort of like those cheap seats you see outside eateries on the Footpath’s around town .

        3. This is what happens when you’ve got a government that’s soft on crime.

          No, it’s what happens when people are disenfranchised, disadvantaged, and impoverished.
          It is an extremely studied field and there is little to no evidence that supports the “tough on crime” (tougher punishment) lowering crime rates theory.

          What does make a big difference is increasing the likelihood of being caught and being lightly punished. When the result of doing bad action x is having to show up for community service for a few weekends, or spending a friday and saturday night in a cell almost every time you do that bad action, then the equation is pretty simple and gets real old, real quick. But do something a 100 times and get caught once, with a month in jail, the equation is far harder for people to work out and does not actually lower crime rates.

          Of course decreasing the number of disenfranchised, poor people over the long term to get to the real root of the problem.

        4. Or you could have this sort of setting for all new PT where all you need is a cloth to clean them and this is in Rio de Janeiro ;-

      2. I thing PT should be charged for working people, but make it really cheap and keep it cheap. A dollar a zone on hop tops. This also provides critical data reguarding service use.

        1. I think the fuel prices and congestion charges will get people out of their cars and onto PT anyway. Maybe we can use some of the latter to fund fare reductions eventually.

          Outside of that, its quality of service that will bring people in. That should be the focus.

  1. The failure to grasp the opportunities that micro mobility offers society is a bit of a mystery to me. I guess in part,it is because it can’t be readily commercialized,so big business isn’t intererested. Also ,it is not empire building ,so nothing concrete, left as a reminder,as to how good,said politician/official was. The oil price will eventually achieve mode change, but it would be better if the people in charge were assisting them to get there. The two big budget issues,health and climate change, are dealt with by micro mobility, but politically impalatable at the moment.

  2. “However half price fares must continue I can feel a nationwide campaign coming on”.

    Nationwide petition online by Greater Auckland &/or other Entities to back this?

  3. That “old people everywhere” won’t go down well here. According to this blog “old people” are the cause of all the ills in the world – every single one of them!
    Of course it’s easier to denigrate a cohort of people if one attaches an epithet to them. They then become “the other” and are no longer worthy.
    The amount of times the word “boomer’ is used on these pages as a insult is frankly quite frightening.
    The comment did remind me of an ocassion several years ago in Barcelona whre an elderly man and his dog sat on a bench in a small square.
    About one in 10 people who walked by stopped, patted the dog and had a chat with the elderly man. This went on for the 30 minutes or so I was at a cafe.
    People on this blog would have abused him.

  4. This was also in the Budget yesterday about the Future Light Rail ;- “Auckland Light Rail was given $199m for “detailed planning activities”, plus an unknown additional amount kept secret for commercial reasons. Transport Minister Michael Wood told Parliament on Monday construction would begin next year.”

    And an item from the International Rail Journal earlier in the Week ;-


    And there is also talk of turning the port on the manukau into Aucklands new port ;- “The Government is forging ahead with feasibility studies for the long-awaited shift of Auckland’s port.

    Northport, which had been mooted as a replacement, will have a feasibility study for a new dry dock. The big winner will be Manukau harbour, which will get a feasibility study so that it can one day replace Auckland’s existing port.”

    1. “Light rail can also be extended to the North Shore and North West without having to transfer from one line to the other.”

      Michael Wood’s comments indicate that LR is a done deal for the Shore, even if the following paragraph says a decision on the mode for the harbour crossing has not been made yet (although they probably mean PT only vs PT and cars)

      1. And when they start Boring the Tunnel Start at at the Mt Roskill end and just keep on going through to Akoranga and don’t stop at Wynyard Quarter as this will say a lot of time and expense without having to bring in another TBM and crew .

    2. Auckland Light Rail is the only reason why I’d like to see this govt get another term, it needs to be locked in and started before they are inevitably voted out. I’d also be more inclined to vote for them if they had new leader the current one is nutter than a Cadbury fruit and nut bar.

      Manukau harbour doesn’t need a new feasibility study, that study is only going to confirm what every other study has already confirmed, the Manukau Bar is an insurmountable safety hazard that cannot be eliminated without round the clock dredging.

      Moving the Navy to Northport as mooted will make the service untenable, the vast majority of Naval personal come from the North Shore. The Navy finds it difficult to recruit and retain staff, moving the base north is just going to make that even more difficult.

      1. Getting rid of the government will provide a chance to reset Light Rail back to what it should, instead of the bloated monstrosity it has become.

  5. “if anyone’s wondering how the court action over AT’s climate vandalism is going, its lawyers are currently arguing that AT doesn’t have to comply with the council’s climate plan or its climate emergency declaration because they’re not real legally binding plans.”
    This argument from AT is not surprising given that this has been their view regarding whether the previous Parking Strategy needed to be implemented.

    If that is what they believe then that’s what they believe. But why then would they spend thousands of hours, and probably hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultation on a new strategy that they don’t have to implement. Sadly there is a layer in AT that are intellectually challenged and morally bankrupt.

    1. Its idiotic, but there is a part of me that thinks they may well win that argument because technically its correct.

      1. What about the peak carbon emissions for Auckland by 2020 – the Auckland Council commitment in terms of being a C40 city? Did AT ever sign up to that, or did they think Auckland would achieve it by the diminishing number of cows as more and more rural land is swallowed for roads and housing?
        AT may win this argument, but their WDGaF attitude to emissions reduction is not going to hold them in good stead with this government.

        1. “their WDGaF attitude to emissions reduction is not going to hold them in good stead with this government“

          I think they’re quite happy to run down the clock on this government (which will get the lion’s share of the blame for not “fixing Auckland” after six years) and trundle along under less demanding masters.

  6. Pile of interesting things.
    Watched this today, powered underground and in lots of rain, nicely filmed Light rail in Rio de Janeiro.
    Surface would of been the best choice for Auckland I’m sure.
    Also be interesting what the May patronage is for Te Huia, because it was looking very healthy by the end of April. The last weeks figures were Tue-Sat: 525, 437, 410, 568, 460.

  7. Perhaps services could remain half price if people are willing to give up free park and ride. So Wellington rail and Auckland busway passengers could potentially be offered an extension of half price services in exchange for park and ride services being charged for. The total cost of journeys would return to old levels (or perhaps slightly below) for those who used park and ride, but would remain lower for those who did not require a carpark. This would enable charging for park and ride, without increasing the cost of travel, and might be more politically palatable than increasing the total cost of travel. Over time park and ride costs could then be increased.

    1. Yimby If you check this out at the 21:50min mark and the end at Silverdale it shows the size of the P’nP and those are huge car parks mainly at Silverdale ;-

    2. Yimby ;- Or a side view from the Left of the Bus as it heads South of the Car park at Albany at 16:15min ;-

    3. I wish AT would do some simple data gathering, where have the people using park n ride come from and at what times do they arrive and leave. The data may show some gaps in connecting services and or highlight possibilites to provide some other transport options.

    4. haha, free park and rides. At a starting price of $10k to provide them they are anything but free. And not only do they not have a return on investment they have a cost. That cost comes from cleaning, lighting, resurfacing and the unseen costs of emissions as people drive rather there rather than walk, bike, or bus.
      It would be interesting to see the figures for the Devonport ferry now that the park and ride is charged. Or is other parking in Devonport just clogged?
      And something that we often don’t think of as the cost of park and rides. Every dollar spent on park and rides is potentially money not spent on bike lanes or active modes.

  8. Not for the first time, we find ourselves wondering where the discourse would be without the hours we advocates put in to advancing the conversation – with our readers always a crucial part of airing ideas that matter.

    Yes, GA undoubtedly has a significant influence on the conversation. The links make it to a lot of places, and having someone literate in transit for the news to call up is invaluable. AT seemingly wont do it.

  9. David needs a new job. For a motor vehicle industry spokesperson he’s lacking knowledge.

    “Now Vehicle Importers’ Association (VIA) chief executive David Vinsen has begun asking, what if it was?

    “What we’re suggesting is that maybe mass needs to be taken into account as well, when we look at the overall safety of the fleet, not just the individual vehicle,” Vinsen said.

    “If every vehicle was lighter, the overall safety of the network and the fleet would increase.”

    Vehicles have increased in weight mainly due to increasing safety standards, remove the safety standards and vehicles would be lighter. BEV’s are naturally going to be heavier than any equivalent ICE vehicle due to the weight of the battery.

  10. From the Kiwirail website on this weeks budget.
    “The $349.2 million completes KiwiRail’s like-for-like rolling stock replacement programme. It will fund:

    Up to 29 light-duty locomotives to replace KiwiRail’s existing DF and remaining DC locomotives. The new locomotives will be low emissions and will primarily be used for freight on branch lines. Some will be used to pull KiwiRail’s Scenic tourism services and for Te Huia and Capital Connection inter-regional passenger trains.
    140 replacement hopper wagons (for transporting a range of raw materials, such as grain, lime, woodchip, biomass or coal). This investment will replace about 40 per cent of KiwiRail’s existing end-of-life hopper wagon fleet.
    Replacement cassettes and bolsters (used to convert standard flat top wagons for use transporting logs) to allow about 60 per cent of our end-of life forestry wagon fleet to be retired.
    Box wagon side curtain containers (used for moving non-containerised freight, such as paper, food stuffs and general freight), which will replace the majority of our existing box wagons. ”

    When they say low emission locomotives I expect they mean less soot and nitrous oxides not lower carbon dioxide (still diesel powered) however may be they will be more efficient so maybe there will be a slight reduction. The hopper wagons are mainly for coal with only a small number for lime and grain. I can’t think of any being used to cart wood chips or biomass. Maybe they plan to however who pays for the loading and discharging infrastructure which is why there is a trend to use containers which can be transferred onto trucks for loading and discharge. So our railway becomes simpler with most freight travelling on standard wagons even logs.

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