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.
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…
Th future of transport needs 2 b low carbon 2 avoid climate crisis… th opening of Te Ara ki Uta ki Tai this morning shows it’s here right now if we want it. Electric trains, e-scooters & people walking, talking along the beautiful Pourewa Valley… the serenity! @WakaKotahiAkNth pic.twitter.com/2LKMBxEZPB
— Peter McGlashan (@PeterMcGlashan) May 24, 2022
The path can be accessed from a number of streets along the way.
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
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)
Double cab utes … ridiculously monstrous in size pic.twitter.com/GOMNzoBBhP
— Su Yin Khoo (@ksuyin) May 24, 2022
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!
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.”
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!
— Patrick Morgan (@patrickmorgan) May 24, 2022
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.
A cafe owner on Adelaide road just told me he can't wait for the new cycle lane to open and he's ordered 10 new bike stands in anticipation of the new customers
— Joel MacManus (@JoelMacManus) May 25, 2022
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.
— Isabella Cawthorn (@fixiebelle) May 23, 2022
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.
Kharkiv metro resumes operations after months of serving as a shelter – Mayor Ihor Terekhov
For the first time after 89 days of the full-scale war, the subway of Kharkiv resumed operations today as Russian troops had been pushed back from the city. https://t.co/jfKr0vmNW6 pic.twitter.com/PPhxrGeN6F
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) May 24, 2022
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.
We love big bikes and cannot lie. With Bike to Wherever Day this Friday, we have some bike news we can't deny.
BART has seen increasing number of cargo bikes and e-bikes in the system. Bicyclists have been playing a key part of our ridership recovery.
Here's a bike-friendly 🧵 pic.twitter.com/aeYvz7uVst
— BART (@SFBART) May 18, 2022
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.
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.
A Spanish mayor not mincing words
How’s this for blunt comms?
"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."
– Miguel Anxo, Mayor of Pontevedra, Spainhttps://t.co/fWNX7a6hra
— David Zipper (@DavidZipper) May 23, 2022
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?
— World Bollard Association™ (@WorldBollard) May 24, 2022
Have a lovely weekend!