Tēnā koutou, hope you’re all keeping warm in this teasingly wintry weather! Weekly Roundup’s a little slow out of the blocks this morning, but still here to provide you with another brain-warming collection of interesting ideas to chew over.

Cover image is of the just-opened section 2 of the Glen Innes to Tāmaki Drive shared path, via AT.

The week in Greater Auckland

On Monday, Matt delved into the 2022 budget and pulled out some transport highlights.

Tuesday’s post discussed Waka Kotahi’s announcement of a camera trial to catch people using their phones while driving.

Wednesday’s post was about a proposed Dominion Rd intersection upgrade at Kāinga Ora’s Mt Roskill Development.

Yesterday, in light of AT’s announcement to scrap cash fares, we asked how accessible HOP cards are.

Last chance to have your say on Quay St and Tangihua pedestrian improvements

Feedback closes today on AT’s pedestrian safety improvements at the Quay St-Tangihua St intersection. Their proposal includes pedestrian crossings at the slip lanes onto Quay, speed bumps, footpath widening, and signage.

The proposed changes to Quay St and Tangihua St.

For a feedback prompt, check out what the Auckland City Centre Residents Group have to say. They’re happy to see the improvements, but in their feedback they question the need to retain the slip lanes at all.

Chlöe Swarbrick on making Queen St a destination

Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick’s recent column in the NZ Herald argues that it’s time to remove cars from Queen Street, to make it a true destination for people. The City Centre Masterplan, she reminds us, was signed off a decade ago. It’s time to realise that vision.

How do you get rid of traffic jams? Remove traffic.

Replace it with easier ways to get around. Despite all that convenience, we imply in talking about cars, when you’re in one, absolutely everything else becomes an obstacle and an inconvenience. As a pedestrian, cyclist, wheelchair user, scooterer, parent with a pram or public transport user, you really do have the convenience of curiosity and the freedom to explore without 1000kg of steel in your hands.

Glen Innes to Tāmaki Drive Section 2 opens!

Super exciting to see people zooming along section 2 of the Glen Innes to Tāmaki Drive path after it opened this week. Have you ridden, walked or scooted it yet? Its te reo māori name, Te Ara ki Uta ki Tai, translates to The Path of Land and Sea.


‘Marvellous isn’t it!’

Watch Peter McGlashan’s video of his first journey along the path, and keep your ears pricked for comments from people he passes, enjoying the views and spaces…

The path can be accessed from a number of streets along the way.

The entire Glen Innes to Tāmaki Drive shared path, with Section 2 in red. Map via Auckland Transport.

Questioning ‘identity’ in the special character area debate

The ongoing conversation about heritage and housing in our cities continues to raise thorny questions about what we value, and what falls out of those values. Writing on Stuff, Environmental Planning teaching fellow Carolyn Hill asks whose identity we’re preserving with our Special Character Housing Areas.

The preservation of our cities’ built form is not a politically neutral remembrance of yesteryear for future generations. Just as history is written by the victors, decisions about what is important to collective identity have always been made by those with the power to decide.

It’s worth remembering that Auckland’s first formal protection of historic places in the 1950s occurred in the same decade as the Crown seized the last papakāinga (Māori housing on ancestral land) of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei at Ōkahu Bay, part of preparations for a visit from the queen.

The article goes into some fascinating history about what has historically been valued in Tāmaki Makaurau – and what hasn’t, and who’s suffered from that. Well worth a read for a wider cultural lens on a debate that has at times been pretty heated here on the ground.

Kupu Māori on road signs

We love this: a new bilingual road sign warns drivers that they are approaching a Kura/School in Rotorua.

Ahead of the unveiling Kane Patena​, director of land transport at Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, said public consultation on the Kura School sign had received 90 per cent backing from respondents.

He said respondents said bilingual signage “would be a positive step forward in normalising the everyday use of te reo Māori”.

Perhaps we’ll start seeing ‘Āta Haere’ and other te reo safety cues on our streets and roads soon.

No other way to say it: cars have got to get smaller

Also on Stuff, this piece spells out the obvious: your next car, if not electric, is going to have to be a lot smaller. Cars have gotten steadily larger in Aotearoa over the last two decades, and it’s time to start reversing that trend. We’ve also got, compared to other wealthy countries, older and dirtier vehicles overall. With transport sitting at 20% of our emissions, cleaning up our fleet is going to be important.

About 150,000 cars are scrapped each year, out of a vehicle fleet of 4.4 million. This means it will take 30 years to turn over the entire fleet. That’s too slow if we want to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

People replace their vehicles on average every six to 11 years. In real terms, this means every time you replace your car it needs to produce 30% less emissions than the one being replaced to meet reductions targets.

Can we make SUVs pay their fair share?

Meanwhile, in the USA (of all places!), D.C. is proposing a fee on supersized SUVs to compensate for the extra damage they do to roads and infrastructure.

“You can’t ban sales of these things,” says Mary Cheh, a D.C. councilmember who developed the new fee structure, “but you can make them pay their own way.”

(You probably can ban sales of these things, though)

Taking charge of our emissions

Many of us feel a mixture of powerlessness and frustration in the face of the looming climate crisis. But it can be empowering to decide to just do what you can within the bounds of your own life – and that’s what journalist Todd Niall wrote about in his column this week, with a DIY guide to reducing your personal emissions.

We really like his last tip: spread the word!

If anything that you try works, tell everyone. The most powerful way to make change is to normalise it.

Remember the shrieking about going smokefree and how drink-driving used to be seen as a lark? Cruising around unnecessarily in a fossil-fuelled vehicle might one day be the same.

Test your climate smarts with The Climate Game

On the other end of the decision-making spectrum, what’s it like to be a national or global policy writer and decision maker? Several of us at GA did this cool online climate game recently. Created by The Financial Times, in the game you’re tasked with getting an imaginary country’s emissions down over the next 20 years, making decisions about energy, agriculture, and transport. Choose your own climate-action adventure, see if you can beat your friends at getting to zero or close enough!

Step One of The Climate Game. Which would you choose?

Tauranga holds its ground on Links Avenue trial

You’ve almost certainly heard about the bus lane trial on Links Ave in Tauranga that’s generated 16,000 fines of $150 so far. In a recent public meeting, residents confronted Tauranga City Council Commissioner Anne Tolley about the trial. Tolley resisted the angry crowd, instead closing the meeting and reiterating the reasons for the trial.

“The safety of children going to and from school is our top priority and we have to act.

“We do understand it is causing significant disruption to people’s lives and we understand the enormity of that.

“I just encourage everyone to follow the rules whilst we see if we can find a sensible solution for everyone.”

Drivers in Tauranga have racked up more than $1.4m in fines from driving down this street, which is being trialled as a bus-only connection.

Council is considering a Citizens’ Assembly for the final two months of the trial, which would involve bringing together a group of local residents to work as a group on the ultimate outcome. CItizens’ Assemblies are a participatory decision-making structure, and have been used successfully in many cities, states and countries overseas to work through important issues.

Prominent examples include the Citizens’ Convention for Climate in France, and the Citizen’s Assembly considering constitutional issues in Ireland. Last year, we shared a guest post about a participatory democracy process undertaken by Watercare and University of Auckland academics.

Wellington’s bike lanes are shaping up

Expect regular updates in weekly roundup on Wellington’s pop-up bike lane network – we’re watching closely!

But… local business owners are taking WCC to court

Retailers on Adelaide Road are still feeling anxious about the effects of the cycle lane on their businesses, and filed proceedings in the High Court this week, claiming that WCC didn’t adequately consult them.

Patrick Morgan, from Cycle Wellington, said he had a lot of sympathy for businesses. Construction of the Newtown cycleway was part of the engagement process and they would be given a chance to raise their concerns, he said.

“The responsibility is on the council to manage the costs and benefits of the cycleway, but the evidence shows that cycleways and bus lanes are good news for business.”

As the article points out, the construction of the cycleway itself is part of the consultation process. Built in a temporary way, it’s already being adapted in response to findings from the trial.

And, it’s worth remembering that not all businesses feel threatened by bike lanes.

Pōneke parklets popping up

Staying with Wellington, you might remember us writing about the city’s new parklet license policy. This one, on upper Cuba St, looks super slick, and very much like somewhere we’d enjoy hanging out.

Exuberance on the Elizabeth Line

Here’s a whole section on the latest addition to London’s underground network: the Elizabeth Line opened this week, resplendent in royal purple.

The Guardian has a photo essay of the stunning stations, trains and tunnels, from first excavations through to completion. Photos also show the vast wetland and bird sanctuary on the Essex coast that was built out of excavated material, and the remains of plague victims found by archaeologists working on the project.

For a bit more detail on the construction and engineering, check out this article on building.co.uk (free registration required).

The project was marred by political changes of heart, complications and overspend – but the mood this week was one of optimism all around.

On Twitter and YouTube, Geoff Marshall is an extreme Elizabeth Line enthusiast…


(That’ll be us, when CRL opens…)

This group of enthusiasts is not us, but we think we’d get along:

Karkhiv metro back in action

In stories of metro stations as loyal civic servants, the Kharkiv metro station has been operating as a shelter for the city’s residents for three months – and now it’s returned to its usual function.

Bikes on BART

Multi-modal transport trips are key to unlocking accessibility in the city. BART trains (in San Francisco Bay Area) are welcoming people with bikes on board, recognizing the role they are playing in public transport’s post-covid recovery.

The 9-Euro U-Bahn ticket

The cost of public transport – and getting it down – is something many cities and countries worldwide are looking at at the moment. In response to rising energy costs due to the war in Ukraine, Germany is offering its residents nationwide unlimited travel for an entire month for just 9 Euros (that’s about $15 in NZD, can you image??).

The special captures summer travellers, and people can choose to buy the ticket for June, July or August.

Happen to be in Germany this summer? Here are some of the most beautiful train trips you could spend your 9 Euro on.

From Gera to Cheb over the Göltzschtal Viaduct. Image via dw.com

Montreal’s summer streets

While Germany is helping its people see the country this summer, in Montreal they’re keeping it local and turning 10 streets into places for people over the summer months. The plan is part of the city’s ongoing pandemic recovery efforts.

The idea, at the time, was to give people an easy way to enjoy the city while maintaining social distancing. It also allowed restaurants to expand their terrasses, so they could welcome patrons outdoors when dining room capacity was limited due to pandemic restrictions.

Jump-cut to today, the mayor hails the initiative as a way to increase economic activity, quality of life, and tourism in the city.

Avenue Mont-Royal has been closed to cars and turned into a pedestrianised street.

A Spanish mayor not mincing words

How’s this for blunt comms?

Weekend long read: the evolution of the bicycle is outpacing our cities

A lovely ode to the utility of the bicycle in the New Yorker, this essay traces the author’s life on bikes alongside the role bikes have played in cities, and how they get treated by planning systems.

Bicycles are the workhorses of the world’s transportation system. More people get places by bicycle than by any other means, unless you count walking, which is also good for you, and for the planet, but you can travel four times faster on a bicycle than on foot, using only a fifth the exertion.

Bike booms throughout history have seen people on bikes fight back, again and again, against the dominance of private motor vehicles on streets and roads.

Bike sales rose from nine million in 1971 to fourteen million in 1972, and more than half of those sales were to adults. Time announced a national bicycle shortage. “Look Ma, No Cars” was the motto of the New York-based group Action Against Automobiles in 1972. “Give Mom a Bike Lane,” a placard read at a bike-in rally in San Francisco that year.

The week in flooding <> World Bollard Association crossover

Signing off with this. Maybe the bollards really will come to save us?

Have a lovely weekend!

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  1. I’ve walked the new section of the shared path. It’s a wonderful amenity; on the other hand, it cost at least $55 million for 2.65 kilometres.

    1. Yep these paths are great, but tiny and cost a bomb. At least they are doing something towards building a feeder network for it unlike out west.

      How many KM of simple on road bike infrastructure could have been built for the cost of these over engineered paths?

      1. It’s a new connection where none existed. It’s a beautiful ride but then it dumps you onto Orakei Road, which has no cycling provision whatsoever.

        Te Ara ki Uta ki Tai is an important link in the walking cycling network. Now we need to reassign space from driving to cycling on the main roads with which it intersects. A joined-up network is better value than individual links.

        1. The reallocation of Car space is somehow the far more difficult bit. Projects like this, avoid that issue, the don’t solve it.

          Building bike infrastructure along arterial roads, is far cheaper and more impactful for meaningful bike transport.

        2. We need both types of paths. Children *require* a dense cycling network, and completely off-road paths a critical part of it. They also help build the ridership and pressure for road reallocation.

          We’re all looking for savings in the transport budget, but knocking out these off-road cycling paths is not it. There are *plenty* of ill-directed programmes to cull first.

        3. Heidi. Case by case. Some of them maybe make sense where the truly no alternative exists, or along side an asset as it is being built.

          But AT have literally used one of these paths existing as reason to not build planned on road bike infrastructure on a key arterial road. In the same area, tens of millions is being spent (probably needs 100 million more be completed), not to conect hubs or start work on ATs bike network, but to meander up The Whau river. Apparently this will be great for me in Glen Eden once I navigate few km of zero bike infrastructure on terrifying roads. On of those roads is home seven schools, guess how much bike infrastructure it has? None.

          You can’t bike far until you need to bike on an arterial road. ATs bike plan, shows this.

        4. Jak, AT using the path on the Whau River, or in any other place, as a reason not to build on-road bike infrastructure, is anti-cycling belligerence from the organisation. It is not a problem with building off-road paths. It will probably take a legal case to get AT investing in cycling in a reasonable and responsible way.

          Remember that the UN’s guideline for walking and cycling investment is that it should be a minimum of 20% of the transport budget, ie $7.4 billion over the decade. That is plenty to include both off-road and on-road paths.

      2. Oh, and we have nothing on the north shore. I presume because people won’t bike if there are hills.

        1. The moderators should try and find a way to auto-block comments whinging about a specific part of Auckland having no cycle investment. There have been comments this year from South, East, West, North, and the isthmus all claiming that they are the neglected child.

          In reality, nowhere has enough cycling investment.

        2. There is zero cycling infra in the Waitemata Harbour itself. Zero km. Absolute travesty that so much of Auckland’s area is inaccessible to cyclists, and yet the most sensitive to rising sea levels. And scandalously, no plans for any either. Are we not learning?

        3. No where get enough.

          West Auckland has not had a meter of bike infrastructure built in years. There is nothing even close to being built in West Auckland.

        4. ” But isn’t this typical of the Left? ”

          Tough question to answer. You would have to define “the Left” and the non-Left, define “typical” then randomly select a statistically significant sample of each and somehow analyse and quantify the behaviour of each group to ascertain whether the said behaviour was typical of the “Left” (and presumably not typical of the non left).

          Perhaps this important analysis has already been undertaken and one of our dedicated readers can provide a link to a statistical paper.

        5. The root problem is, if we are only willing to build 5km of bike lanes per year, everyone will have to manage expectations.

          On the North Shore there is the Northcote cycle route which was built in the last few years so we claimed at least some of those kilometres.

  2. For a feedback prompt, check out what the Auckland City Centre Residents Group have to say. They’re happy to see the improvements, but in their feedback they question the need to retain the slip lanes at all.

    The above link is not working

      1. I went to give feedback – 10:30 on 27/05 – the link on the AT site says “this survey is not currently active”.

  3. Love the bollard video – but even more, I love the Mayor’s quote:
    “It’s not my duty as Mayor to make sure you have a parking spot. For me it’s the same as if you bought a cow, or a refrigerator, and then asked me where you’re going to put them.”

    Such a refreshingly blunt and yet surprisingly accurate outlook on the problem.

    Your bit about cars needing to get smaller – you’re not wrong at all. There’s some complete dork in Wellington who has just bought himself a big black American pickup truck – a Dodge Ram I think, with extended wheelbase and extended width rear axle – the sort of thing that may make sense in Waco Texas, but makes absolutely no sense in Wellington. It has room for six on board, but he just drives it by himself, and there is no deck, so he cannot take any load on board. Its all just male ego. Short of making rude signs at him to imply that he is a habitual onanist, what can be done to make him bugger off?

    1. “what can be done to make him bugger off”

      I think we should genuinely advocate for lower standard carpark sizes and turning radius’. Make any the majority of any new parking lot that is built (after the removal of minimums) absolutely terrible in anything with a long wheelbase.

  4. I’ve been cycle commuting on the new Pourewa Valley path this week and can confirm we once again have a Rolls Royce solution that looks well earthquake-proofed and should last decades.

    Loads of local walkers but very few cyclists so far. Big enough to get a fire engine and the ambos down in the event of any calamity in the bush so that’s a win.

    I can see a few wee Johnny and Jane’s coming croppers down the 6% grade from St Heliers Bay Rd on their bikes…for the rest of us, 10/10 would recommend for getting the hell away from Kohi & Kepa Rds.
    For the ratepayers, 3/10 return on investment for the shortsighted out there.

  5. The slip lane out of Tangihua St is a lethal and unnecessary assault on people and place. It is simply unbelievable that in any review of that intersection it would be still there after about a second of consideration. It should never have been built but now with the calming of Quay St in that direction it is literally impossible to understand any case for this traffic accelerating feature, especially given its terrible effect of the pedestrian amenity there.

    We can only conclude that AT is an unserious organisation with terrible processes that make it incapable of fixing our streets and saving lives. It’s safety ‘priorities’ need a full review, why do obvious and urgent safety fixes, especially for people outside of vehicles, constantly get overruled? What is the process? Looks like a deep system fail.

    Urgent task for new CE.

    1. +1, left turn slip lane and three traffic lanes is obscene:
      -The left lane and the slip lane should be closed to traffic,
      -The middle lane should be made for left turns only, and
      -The right lane should be made for through and right movements.

      The signal phasing would need to change slightly to accommodate this; however, traffic volumes there are so low that the impact on travel times is still likely to be minimal. Closing the slip lane would also make the entrance to the countdown car park much safer by providing some separation to the signalised intersection.

    2. Agree. I cycle through here frequently, and while waiting at the lights in the morning you can watch the vehicle moving trucks, usually stacked with enormous double cab utes, crossing out of the port from Tinley through to Tangihua. It’s an incredibly depressing sight.

      While we’re at it, the *North* side of the intersection has an eastbound slip lane (left from Quay into Tinley) that stuffs up the connection to the cycleway if you’re heading west.

      tldr: no need for any slip lanes around here, at all.

    3. Why do large trucks still go down Tangihua and Beach road? Shouldn’t they be diverted along The Strand and Quay St? Having such heavy traffic is incongruent with this relatively pedestrianised area. Beach Road could be a much nicer place.

  6. How can Tauranga drivers really be stupid enough to drive down that road?

    Instead of getting a fine, they should just have their licences taken off them because theya re clearly legally blind

  7. Consultation is also closing soon on this (rather unadvertised) AT proposal to introduce a pedestrian crossing to Pakuranga Rd with a raised table. It also involves relocating a currently recessed bus stop. I see people running across this part of the road every day to get the bus: these changes are desperately needed.

    Not surprisingly, Simeon Brown does not support the changes, saying that it will frustrate drivers and increase travel times.

    Here’s the link: https://at.govt.nz/about-us/have-your-say/east-auckland-consultations/pakuranga-road-pakuranga-pedestrian-improvements/?fbclid=IwAR1IluVl4J4FHgB40FbB8hF7Mr7Df_JLpEkvAucKEQOSrTpJ17FKngg43i4

    1. It’s madness that’s not happening right now.

      Imagine if roads were built like how we get bike infrastructure.

      One dodgy bit of road can make can make bike trips un doable for all be the die hards.

  8. “When was this? 1960’s. What else was different then?”

    The 6pm swill, obviously. Bring it back and pedestrians will return! Oh, and miniskirts. And beating the wife and kids if they stepped out of line. Righto.

    1. I believe you couldn’t shop online back then either…
      At a guess I would say Queen Street was at its busiest before cars were really even a thing.

  9. What changed? The surrounding area. Why would you still go shopping on Queen Street if you can just as well go to Commercial Bay or behind Britomart station?

    And, in case you didn’t hear about it yet, there was a pandemic and many people now work from home at least part-time.

  10. How to fix Queen Street?
    I remember the days when you had to jostle your way up and down Queen Street so thick was the pedestrian traffic. There was a line down the middle of the sidewalks and pedestrians were encouraged to keep left. The shops were bustling. 1ZB used to title their Friday night radio show QSFN, Queen Street Friday Night,
    When was this? 1950’s.
    What else was different then? trams, trams, trams. Traffic was allowed on Queen Street. 2 lanes each way, often just cruising.
    With the discouragement and demise of trams from Queen Street so too have we seen the demise of pedestrians. Suburban Malls are now the go to place.
    Why? Because you can tram there with their huge tram parks.
    Elsewhere, on Quay Street and other favourite spots, the young bucks and buckess’s gather in their trams and cruise up and down. Many hundreds of spectators are there encouraging them on. And yet there is not a shop in sight.
    Let trams back onto Queen Street and just as moths follow light pedestrians will return.

  11. Been a good week. Rode the new cycle path and watched a lot of videos on the Elizabeth Line opening. They were $4B over budge, about same as our whole CRL cost in total.

  12. Love the new trails. Thanks AT and co. BUT you need to deliver them 10x faster at a price 10x lower, and started 10 years earlier.

  13. You can say all you like about needing to change to little cars, but until they are a lot easier to get in and out of, I for one won’t be buying one. I hired a new Corolla rental while in Christchurch recently, and just couldn’t get in and out of the damn thing. That’s why my current vehicle is a Nissan van – I just wriggle my bum and I am in and swing my legs and I am out of it. No having to contort my body in any way, which I can’t after an active lifetime of outdoors activities including cycling and tramping.

    1. Small doesn’t necessarily mean low. There are plenty of examples, the old rav 4 for instance. Compared to todays models it’s practically a mini. Or 2000’s suzuki jimny.

  14. There are plenty of other externalities that need to be priced too. I think the death / damage rate of people not in your car when you hit them is one of the primary ones. Right now the mum in your example pays nothing for the privilege of increasing risk for those not in her vehicle.

    As it stands we’re incentivising an arms race.

  15. I rode the new Tamaki cycle way on the weekend. It was supurb.

    A nice addition would be a connection between the point england reserve cycleway and the Glen Innes train station tunnel. This could be built though the under utilized Maybury Reserve.

    With the building of Stage 4. You would effectively be able to cycle from the sururbs of Wai O taiki Bay, Glen Innes, Panmure and Point England on cyclelane’s. Without having to go on dangerous roads.

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