Kia ora! Hope you’ve had a good week, and welcome to our Weekly Roundup.
Header image by Jessica Rose, from Twitter
The week in Greater Auckland
On Monday, Matt wrote about improving and electrifying regional rail.
Tuesday’s post looked at Mayoral candidate Viv Beck’s quite sensible transport policy.
Wednesday’s post pondered the new block-long Essential Vehicle Area on Queen Street.
Yesterday, a guest post by Tim Adriaansen asked what recent findings on air pollution means for our Vision Zero transport policy.
Signing off on the Dominion Post’s mode shift series
The ‘Mode Shift’ series, from which we featured a number of stories through the month of June (new stories came out every day so there’s quite an archive to explore now), came to an end last week. Editor Anna Fifield penned a final opinion piece this week. The series looked at mode shift from all angles – all sorts of different ‘modes’ and a wide variety of people who are getting around without a car. It’s encouraging to read that the newspaper’s feedback was postive:
The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, with many readers saying how happy they are to be reading a series that is optimistic about change and making our region a better place to live. Of course, there are people who don’t like this discussion and we’ve had a lively range of views on our letters page.
But this series encapsulates how I see our role in the Wellington region: We should be acting as a town hall for the region, provoking and facilitating discussion about how to do better.
A Hamilton bike rider on another cyclist lost
Hamilton resident Louise Hutt wrote about the death of Jessica Moser at a notoriously dangerous intersection which occured last week. For Hutt and her community of people who bike in Hamilton, Jessica’s death was awful and confronting. They all knew that intersection – and many others which haven’t had safety upgrades.
I got messages asking if I was okay from people hoping it wasn’t my bike that wasn’t “all crunched up around the wheel … [looking] as if the truck dragged the bike” – as described in the Waikato Times. The article, and its subsequent updates confirming the person had died, were shared several times in our local cycling Facebook group – a tight-knit group of over 1,100 people (with a smaller group of very active members).
And in Hamilton, even though it’s the most car-dominated city, there’s actually very high positivity for cycling as a way to get around. More and more people are getting on bikes in Hamilton – many who, like Hutt, are able to access some of the city’s shared paths – and particularly people who can’t afford to use a car as transport. Harnessing that existing enthusiasm will require getting safe infrastructure on the ground.
Improving cycing in New Plymouth
And on the same theme but a different tone, journalism student Frederico Magrin writes about how terrifying he’s found getting around by bike in New Plymouth.
As a committed cyclist I have biked all over the world, but my cycling commute in New Plymouth has been one of the hardest.
That’s saying something because I have biked through Italian summer rain, Dutch winter snow and the scorching hot hairdryer-like winds of suburban Melbourne.
So when I say New Plymouth was tough, it is not the torrential rain and mighty southeasterlies that worry me.
New Plymouth markets itself as a cycling city, and it’s stunning coastal walkway is a wonderful walking and cycling asset. But its urban bike network has a long way to go yet.
Not back to ‘normal’ in Sydney yet either
We enjoyed this thoughtful piece by Todd Niall, written after a recent trip to Sydney. Niall noticed that Sydney is grappling with many of the same post-pandemic challenges and urban growing pains that we are here.
Still bustling, but without the usual level of tourism, and with stay-at-home office workers, street life is far short of our previous visit exactly three years ago. Like Auckland.
While there are still things we can learn from the much-larger metropolis –
Just one train station stop away from the international airport, a high-rise master planned community has been created at Wolli Creek embracing former industrial land. High-rises cluster around the intersection of rail lines, and the population in the precinct has nearly trebled in a decade to 11,000.
Bringing Toi Māori into the urban realm
Here’s a wonderful piece about the value of Māori cultural expression being embedded in the design of our urban places. Elisapeta Heta, a principle at Jasmax, and Graham Tipene, an artist who’s worked on many civic projects you see around Tāmaki Makaurau, talk about their experiences in the industry, and how different it feels for rangatahi Māori when they can see themselves in the city around them.
Graham Tipene (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Haua, Ngāti Manu) whose work is on display in the CBD, says that he never “saw himself” while growing up in Auckland. Aiming to change this through large-scale art, the Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrakei matua says, “I don’t want my moko [grandchildren] walking around without seeing themselves.”
Tipene says he likes to make his work interactive and educational and aspires to normalise indigenous contributions to the cityscape.
Ngai Tahu’s inspirational climate vision
Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu has released a bold plan for action on climate change, called Te Kounga Paparangi. The plan has 88 actions within 8 themes to mitigate climate change. It’s really exciting to see such bold and transformative vision translated into dozens of direct and specific actions.
The environmental challenges facing Papatūānuku (mother earth) are abundantly clear in the takiwā.
Many of our marae are in low-lying coastal areas, exposed to the elements and to the threat of rising sea levels. Our mahinga kai practices are under threat.
Aotearoa is changing, and we need to take innovative solutions across industries to remove waste, clear waterways, improve bio-diversity and educate our whānau
– Te Kounga Paparangi starts this journey.
Getting climate on the ballot at this year’s local elections
A new organisation that’s just launched, Vote Climate is a coalition that’s trying to get candidates to talk about what they plan to do to combat climate change.
Our focus is the upcoming local body elections because local body politicians can make a real impact on the country’s transport emissions. Their decisions about investing in public transport, walking and cycling greatly determine whether we meet our carbon emission reduction targets or not.
Transport is one of Aotearoa’s biggest emissions sources. We drive more than almost any other country. If more of us used public transport, we’d see reduced emissions, inequality and costs from congestion and pollution.
The Environment and Climate Change Committee is thinking about behaviour change
From the minutes of Thursday’s Environment and Climate Change committee meeting, it’s excellent to see acknowledgement by Council and AT that changing the physical environment is the strongest behaviour change spanner in the toolbox.
The most effective behaviour change approaches rely on re-designing the
environment in which people make decisions, to reduce friction associated with desirable behavior and add friction to undesirable behaviour. Relying on information sharing or communication campaigns only is insufficient.
Transport behaviour – like most habits – is ‘sticky’ and will be resistant to change, untila certain threshold is met.
Change in transport behaviour is best achieved by simultaneously reducing friction associated with public transport, cycling and walking, and adding friction to driving.
Status quo bias is a powerful psychological force and resistance is likely during the period of change. This resistance or reluctance should be expected and embraced by decision-makers, in the knowledge it will be temporary, and Aucklanders will adapt.
Creating a new, less-driving status quo provides an opportunity to address existing transport inequities and to promote Aucklanders’ well-being.
Targeted behavioral science-based interventions that focus on changing individuals’ behaviour are valuable and should be applied to complement the broader approaches to altering friction.
Life without a car
… is eminently doable, and Hamilton man Lance McGaughan has quite literally had a lifetime without a car. In fact, he’s never owned one, and has instead spent his life cycling around the city.
The 57-year-old has been shouted countless coffees over his lifetime by friends who have made the mistake of wagering on who would be faster – him on his bike or his friend in a car.
“They used to say ‘I’ll race you to a cafe in town and the loser buys a coffee’, but they won’t even do bets with me any more.”
Business Desk reviews the market’s best new ute
Spoiler: it’s only got two wheels. We’re just going to see more and more of these kinds of articles as people discover how much they can do in a good cargo bike – and how much easier that bike makes ditching the car.
And electric cargo bikes are taking over London’s urban freight scene
From the sounds of it, London is swarming with ecargo bikes these days. A combination of congestion charging, the city’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone, and its growing patchwork of low traffic neighbouroods mean that fast and nimble cargo bikes are the best way to move good around the city. Reported in The Guardian, Amazon is the latest company to get on the cargo bike bandwagon, opening a microhub in Hackney.
The online retailer is opening its first “micromobility” hub in Hackney, east London, which – along with an existing fleet of electric vehicles – will contribute to 5m deliveries a year across about a 10th of the capital’s ultra low emission zone postcode districts.
Amazon joins existing ecargo delivery companies PedalMe, Velocious and Zedify, which between them already make 1000s of zero-carbon deliveries around the city every day.
So why isn’t there a road safety crisis in Canada?
While the United State’s road fatalities are rising, in Canada roads are getting safer. Bloomberg asks what Canada’s doing differently to its southern neighbour. Some of the causes are Canada’s typically smaller cars, higher petrol tax (which leads to less driving overall), a more urbanised population, in cities which have good bike infrastructure, good public transit, and more robust traffic enforcement.
…the two countries’ travel habits are moving in opposite directions: While Americans took around 5% fewer transit trips in 2019 compared to 2011, data from the Canadian Urban Transportation Association shows that Canadians took 12% more. Transit systems in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are all undergoing major expansions.
Welcome to the war on sprawl, Barack Obama!
We couldn’t be happier to have you here (and have we talked to you about ebikes yet?).
At the American Institute of Architects conference this month, Barack Obama talked about housing inequity in America, and linked sprawl to the climate crisis. He even uses the term NIMBY. It seems he discovered the ills of sprawl through his interest in social justice issues, which pointed him towards housing and urbanism.
“Frankly, some very well-intentioned laws and regulations at the local level, often generated from the left and from my own party, sometimes are inhibiting the creation of affordable housing and powering NIMBY attitudes and make it very difficult to integrate communities and allow people to live close to where they work.”
“The most liberal communities in the country aren’t that liberal when it comes to affordable housing”
It’s a highly quotable article, well worth a close read. We hope our aspiring mayoral candidates look to Obama for leadership and inspiration on these very relevant topics…
The UK’s new ‘travel tsar’ wants people to drive less
Chris Boardman, Britain’s first National Active Travel Commissioner, has 2 billion pounds and a mandate to spend it getting Britons out of their cars, into active modes. He’s focused on making the environment safe for people on bikes, and will be particularly targeting the school run.
Mr Boardman — whose mother was killed on a bicycle by a motorist six years ago — also hit back at critics of “Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods”, accusing opponents of bad faith arguments that boil down to “I don’t want change”.
“Who wants a high traffic neighbourhood?” he said.
“If you think about it, there’s no such thing as a low traffic neighbourhood. It’s either a neighbourhood or there are cars coming through.
Going by rail for the climate
Echoing some of Matt’s Monday post this week, just 20 trains per day each way would replace domestic air travel in Great Britain. At least they have the option.
Here’s one New Zealander who chose the train recently
Fingers crossed that JA returns from her recent travels totally over planes but all about trains. How much better would her Tāmaki-to-Pōneke commute be if she could do it by sleeper? Or take a day train and meet constituents on the way?
The best Matariki party was in Avondale
The Avondale bike burb, that is! How cool does this look? We’ve got FOMO.
That @BikeAvondale matariki bike ride # 2 was off the chart. Well done Ina for spending weeks doing bike clinics in school, then taking 300 people to the streets to learn their new pedal skills.
This is how to do it.
I had to crack out the streamers!@BikeAKL @AklTransport pic.twitter.com/uDJaQaHQXa
— Jessica Rose Whau Resident (@jessicarose_LTF) July 2, 2022
And let us know in the comments.
— Su Yin Khoo (@ksuyin) June 30, 2022
Stay dry out there, and have a great weekend. Ā tērā wiki from us.