Nau mau haere mai ki te marama o Pipiri – it’s June and it’s Matariki season! How did that happen?
The week in Greater Auckland
On Monday, Matt critiqued the AA’s recent call for more roads.
Tuesday’s guest post by Tim Adriaansen reflected on a year of inaction on the Harbour Bridge.
On Wednesday, a re-post by Damian Light despaired at ongoing and fatal inaction on safety for people on bikes.
Thursdays guest post was a wonderful dive into the history of declaring Queen Street ‘dying’, ‘rotting’ and ‘dead’.
Celebrating our Pasifika city this weekend
Hosted by Heart of the City, Taste of Pasifika Festival comes to the Cloud this weekend. There’s a non-stop lineup of music and performance, a kai village, art exhibition, and even a fashion show tomorrow evening. The festival runs from Friday evening until Monday afternoon.
Places to see, paths to ride!
The long awaited and much anticipated New Lynn to Avondale shared path finally opens to the public tomorrow, Saturday 4 June at 1pm. See you there?
We’ll also be making our way to Tamaki Drive to Glenn Innes section 2 (those of us who haven’t seen it already anyway), which is looking glorious and generous, a lovely landscape experience for people of Tāmaki Makaurau. (When trains happen to be running – alas, not this weekend – you can take your bike and win the path from either end at Glen Innes or Ōrakei.)
Making streets safer for people on bikes in Kirikiriroa
In this year’s annual budget planning, Hamilton councillors are focusing on unsafe cycling conditions in the city. It’s exciting to see cycling – and giving people safe travel options outside of a car – becoming a central decision-making issue outside of the biggest cities.
Councillor Dave Macpherson raised his frustration at ongoing issues with contractors putting cyclists in danger by obstructing safe cycling routes.
The issue of roading contractors using bike lanes to store equipment has been flagged for the past 10 – 12 years, councillor Dave Macpherson said.
“It’s been raised at least 100 times before in … memory. It might get fixed for one or two [weeks] and then it just reverts back again,” he said.
It’s time the council used roading contracts to stipulate that cycle lanes must be kept clear of obstacles.
Just this week, charges were dropped against roading contractors in Christchurch whose traffic management plan may have caused the death of Fyfa Dawson when she was cycling to work.
Ahead of the budget decision, council officials are looking at ways to better protect people on bikes. Not sure what these ‘cycle wands’ they speak of are, but if Hamilton has found a way to magick cycle lanes into being, please let us know!!
The week in flooding is absolutely soaked
Weekly roundup’s semi-regular week-in-flooding section has been a little quiet in the last few weeks, but some pretty heavy dumps of rain in the past few days have us primed for more drenched content. This story from the Bay of Plenty caught our eye: a deluge in Tauranga earlier this week was made worse for residents by cars speeding down their street, sending floodwaters washing back into front gardens and houses.
Questioning the ethics of car advertising revenue
This is something we’ve been pondering here for a while now, and a topic that Jolisa wrote an excellent blog post on in April. For RNZ’s mediawatch, journalist Hayden Donnell got stuck into the same question last week: how will media organisations deal with the moral condundrum of hosting advertisments for cars in a warming world? In fact, Donnell references the very same ad that Jolisa dissected in her post.
[Light utility vehicles’] popularity also slows our transition to more carbon-efficient vehicles, which the latest IPCC report identifies as an important step for countries wanting to get themselves off what UN secretary-general António Guterres calls a path toward an “unlivable world”.
All that’s before mentioning they kill people at roughly twice the rate of smaller cars in crashes.
This throws up some prickly questions for media organisations that have committed to putting climate change at the forefront of our national conversation.
The Dominion Post’s new urbanist angle
The Dom Post is publishing a series focused on urban issues in Te Whanganui-a-Tara for the month of June. In her editorial last weekend, editor Anna Fifield explained –
Today, the Dominion Post starts a series called “Mode Shift” in which we will support these decisions with facts and clear-eyed analysis, equipping the public to envision a better future, in much the same way we did last year with the Reimagining Wellington series and as we did on Saturday with this story on the evidence that bike lanes actually help local businesses.
They will be focusing in particular on how to get around in a low-carbon way. We’re super excited, will be watching the series closely, and would love to see a similar constructive focus on urban issues in the media in Tāmaku Makaurau. This week’s stories in the series include …
Fifield, again, explained that roads need to be for all people, not just cars, using the airport’s opposition to the new pedestrian crossing on Cobham Drive as an example.
Never mind the inconvenience to the legions of Wellingtonians on foot, bike, or scooter, pushing a pram or using a wheelchair who are trying to make their way to schools in Kilbirnie, to sport at the ASB centre, to the shops or to the Evans Bay shared cycling and walking path.
To listen to the airport executives and some city councillors, one would think their journeys counted for nothing.
Erin Gournley revealed that a collection of car companies are behind a legal case against the new Newtown cycleway.
Six businesses are seeking judicial review of the Wellington City Council project to build a cycleway between Newtown to Courtenay Place, which is already under construction. Their case is scheduled to be heard on Thursday morning.
Four of them are car dealerships or repairers, prompting criticism that they are trying to keep Wellington beholden to cars.
Simon Louisson recalls experiences of quiet Covid-lockdown-streets and makes a case for LTN trials in Wellington to reclaim the peace and freedom those quiet streets brought.
The lockdown experience of quieter streets led many to ask: now that we have experienced low-traffic streets and neighbourhoods, and found that we like them, what can we do to keep them, without the need for lockdown conditions?
And The Dom Post’s transport angle got a nod of approval from the top.
Great leadership from @NZStuff on the need for real and safe transport choices for our communities. For decades we have underinvested in the PT, walking & cycling options needed for a safe, integrated, low carbon… https://t.co/J3RWOplT2l
— Michael Wood (@michaelwoodnz) June 2, 2022
Low-emission zones in Scotland’s cities
The Dom Post authors have been clear that their focus on transport and urban issues is about reducing emissions from transport. Something we’re still tentatively talking around here is the concept of a low-emission zone, which many other cities have been putting in place. In Scotland, low-emission zones are now formally in place in its largest cities: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee.
Diesel-powered cars and vans will need to be at the “Euro 6” standard, mainly applying to vehicles registered after September 2015.
And petrol cars will have to meet the “Euro 4” emissions standard – generally those registered after January 2006.
Blue badge holders, emergency service vehicles, motorbikes and mopeds will be exempt.
Low-emission zones are one more lever we can pull to take action on climate change and make cities safer, healthier, better places for everyone. (Did you know: Auckland Council has given the nod to a transforming the Waihorotiu/ Queen Street Valley into a Zero Emissions Area , as part of the City Centre Master Plan, to be delivered as part of Tāmaki Makaurau’s commitment as a global C40 city?)
Let’s talk about trains!
Because we know you love them 🙂
The intercity rail network we wish we had
Andre Brett, author of last year’s Can’t get there from here, has compiled an extremely long thread on Twitter documenting his imaginary Aotearoa Railway Network – what we’d have, if rail had been prioritised over roads.
Click on the tweet below to see Brett’s region-by-region plan, featuring detail such as a diversion up to Rawene in the Hokianga, and light rail on the Kāpiti Coast. Lots to study and debate!
Niche thread incoming
I'm using Google Maps to sketch a counterfactual for New Zealand: a railway network on the premise that the past century's road-vs-rail funding imbalance was totally reversed and cars are unpopular, only used where essential
This thread is for those maps pic.twitter.com/di80rkd38Q
— André Brett (@DrDreHistorian) May 29, 2022
The slickest interior you’ve ever seen
– and this week we’re not talking about Crossrail/The Elizabeth Line (although we’ll forever be charmed by its purple theme.) No, this is a new generation tram in Brussels, designed by Axel Enthoven. Check out these lush details…
14.5kms of lightrail opens in Odense
Residents of the Danish city of Odense (population 180,000) welcomed their first light rail train this week. This is the first line of a planned network that will be delivered in stages over the coming years.
Japan’s cheapest sleeper
Futons and a tatami-esque cabin? To be honest, this looks pretty fantastic.
High speed rail could be coming to … Egypt?
A deal’s been signed to give Egypt the world’s sixth-largest rail network: 2000kms of high-speed rail across the country.
The contract includes, besides the rail lines, 41 high-speed trains, 94 regional trains, 41 freight trains, and eight depots and freight stations. It also stipulates that Siemens will be responsible for maintenance for 15 years.
The mega-project aims to connect 60 cities by train, at speeds of up to 230 kilometers per hour, providing rail access to around 90% of the population, according to Siemens.
That sounds like a spectacular way to visit the pyramids.
Greater Auckland’s favourite YIMBY tweets straight to the point. Just kidding, we don’t have favourites – we love all YIMBYs (YIMBIES?), but we are fans of what occasional GA author Scott Caldwell shares online, for his clarity and brevity:
The cycle of NIMBYism. The easiest way to break it is to press every lever at once pic.twitter.com/8MHFNyCtz8
— scoot! (@ScootFoundation) June 2, 2022
Greater Auckland’s favourite musician/PT advocate wins the Taite Music Prize
Yes we genuinely do have one of these; we are unabashed fans of Anthonie Tonnon’s music, his elevator, and his enthusiasm for public transport. You can catch his acceptance speech on Youtube, which concluded with a rousing appeal to culture-makers to become engaged in making change…
It feels like my work in public transport comes from the same toolkit, the same heart that this album comes from.
To make albums like the albums we celebrate tonight, it takes someone to see something great that needs to exist, to build a team, to use whatever resources are available to make that thing exist, without really a thought for who or how many people will value that thing once it does exist.
We’re in a time where as a society we need to build some stuff. But we’re not starting – and I think part of the reason we haven’t started is that we’re waiting for assurance. We want to be totally sure that the world is demanding the world that we’re going to build. But nobody knew that we needed a great album until somebody made that album without thinking about the reception until later.
The old way for us artists is that we’d hold up a mirror to society. Show people what it looked like, and ask those people in different, more practical paths to go and fix it. I think there’s an opening now, for everyone in this room, for not just musicians, for artists, for writers, for journalists. Something’s broken, the pipes are clogged. I think there’s an opportunity for us to help unclog those pipes.
The prize also caught the eye of the New Zealand Taxpayer’s Union, who promptly dug themselves into a bit of a social media hole.
Winning the Taite Music Prize is one thing, but you know you've really made it when the Taxpayers Union starts kvetching about you on Twitter.
— Nicolas Reid (@Nicolas_Reid) May 30, 2022
Once you see it, you can’t unsee it
Not Just Bikes, with a weird little matrix homage that accurately captures the experience of having one’s eyes opened to… watch and find out.
A new one for the bookshelf
Two Wheels Good, by American writer Jody Rosen has just been published. Per the publisher’s description, the book is ‘A panoramic revisionist portrait of the nineteenth-century invention that is transforming the twenty-first-century world.’
The book sounds like a fascinating history of the bicycle and how it’s interacted with culture and society that is both wide and deep. A review on the New York Times notes that the relatively short history of the bicycle – which was only invented in 1817 – makes it an excellent vehicle (ahem) for exploring the last 200 years of history.
The narrow subject and relatively brief time frame of “Two Wheels Good” make it a crystalline portrait of modernity, the vexed, exhilarating, murderous, mechanized world left to us by the 19th century. The bicycle has touched nearly every element of life on earth since then, it turns out. The Vietcong used bikes in their counterraids; Susan B. Anthony once commented that the bicycle had “done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world”; it was a Parisian bicycle maker who patented the ball bearing, the so-called atom of the machine age. We even rode it into the age of flight, in a sense: The Wright brothers were bike mechanics.
And something for your ears this weekend: the most recent episode of The War on Cars podcast is an interview with Rosen about the book and his research.
In the jaws of…
— MH Transport (@MathewHounsell) May 31, 2022
Ka kite! Enjoy the long weekend, and see you on Tuesday.
The day that was foretold has arrived! pic.twitter.com/uWEwckgHDJ
— John Riecke (@JCRiecke) June 2, 2022