It’s Friday again so here’s our latest roundup of some of the stories that caught our eye this week.

The Week in Greater Auckland

Consultation Reminders

A couple of quick consultation reminders:

Hobsonville Rd Cycleway Consultation

The Hobsonville Rd Cycleway closes today. While there are a few minor improvements that could be made to the design, overall there’s a lot to like about what’s been proposed. You can read more about our thoughts on it here.

And go here for the consultation itself. The feedback form is a quick and easy one.

Pedestrian Level Crossings

Auckland Transport are looking to remove seven pedestrian crossings across the network. The first two they’re consulting on are out west at O’Neill Rd and at Corban Estate and the consultation closes on Sunday. You can read our post about it here.

Weekend fun

On Saturday 1 July, Avondale is having the second of three Open Streets events, closing a section of Great North Road to traffic in order to open it to people. The event promises “a uniquely Whau flow packed with kai, cycling, and fun activities”, including trishaw rides with a boom box, the Stardome cosmologist telling the story of Matariki, music, dancing and more.

If you’re planning on cycling there, there are three free group rides to the event:

AT Updates

Upper Harbour Dr Cycle Lanes

Last year Auckland Transport started adding protection to Upper Harbour Dr as part of a programme to add protection to 60km of existing painted cycle lanes across the region. But it ran into resistance from locals after the barriers did their job and stopped cars from driving into the cycle lane.

As a response, AT stopped the rollout and replaced the concrete barriers with less protective rubber ones and then consulted on changing the design entirely to a two-way cycleway on one side of the road.

Yesterday they announced they would keep the existing design and finish it’s roll out.

There was overall more support for the retention of the current layout of a single cycle lane in each direction, with rubber separators.

57% of respondents preferred to keep the current layout with rubber separators.

Following the public feedback and support for the retention of the current layout, AT will proceed to complete the installation of the rubber separators of the remainder of the route on Upper Harbour Drive.

Another lower emission ferry

AT announced:

Auckland Transport (AT) has signed contracts with Q-West Boat Builders and HamiltonJet to build a 300 passenger hybrid-electric ferry.

This is the fourth low emission ferry confirmed for Auckland and the second being built by Q-West. AT plans to use this vessel on the Devonport route from 2026.

It is part of a wider programme that will see Auckland become a world leader in this space. By 2030, Auckland is set to have the largest electric ferry fleet in the Southern Hemisphere.


Auckland’s first two fully electric vessels will arrive next year, built by EV Maritime at Auckland boat builders McMullen and Wing, followed by Q-West’s two electric-hybrid vessels in 2025-2026. More will follow in the coming years as the current fleet of diesel ferries reach the end of their working life.

These new vessels will operate hand in hand with owner operated vessels as part of the transition to low emission vessels over the coming years.


This most recently announced vessel will start construction in late 2023 and be on the water early 2026.

It will be identical to the vessel Q-West are currently building, at 32 metres long with space for 300 passengers and around 28 bikes.

Great Reads

A lovely obituary in the NY Times of Don Harold, the “sneaky subway preservationist” who saved vintage subway cars. sometimes by subterfuge, leading the founding of the New York Transit Museum.

The Times called Mr. Harold and his preservation-minded colleagues a “tiny guerrilla army” that “bent the rules, disregarded orders and played hide and seek with subway cars sentenced to execution.”

The group employed various tactics.

“Through his cohorts, he would hear which cars were on the extinction list, and they would change the numbers so they couldn’t be found,” Mr. Jablonski, the deputy chief of strategic capital planning of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Transit Authority’s parent, said by phone. “So car number 2390 became number 2590, and it would be tucked away in a yard.”

One of those Mr. Harold helped save, an old BMT car with cane seats and ceiling fans, bore the telltale signs of his group’s trickery.

“When the guys finally sanded it down to restore it for the museum,” he told The Times in 2003, “they said, ‘Hey, what’s going on? We found five different numbers on this thing.’ And I said, ‘That’s five times they tried to scrap it.’”

Safety Second from the Police

Stuff reports:

Deaths involving drink-driving in Aotearoa have doubled since 2013 – reaching a 10-year peak last year.

In 2022, 163 deaths were recorded, 111 of which were people above the legal limit or who refused a test, according to Waka Kotahi data, released to the Automobile Association (AA) under the Official Information Act.

“It’s more than double the 53 drunk driving deaths recorded in 2013,” said Dylan Thomsen, AA road safety spokesperson.


Thomsen said there were not enough alcohol checkpoints, a critical tool in preventing serious injuries and deaths on the road.


Police had a target of testing 3 million drivers a year for alcohol, but that had not been met since 2014.

Testing numbers this year were tracking to be over 2 million for the first time in years, he said.


But a report into the strategy found there was little accountability of spending by the Transport Agency and police, which have struggled to deliver results.

Within police, attitudes promoting crime over road safety had contributed to a failure to meet road policing targets, the report released last year found.

And from Northland.

Road safety advocates say plummeting police breath test numbers could be contributing to Northland’s “appalling” road toll this year and alcohol-related crashes more than 50% higher than any other region.

There have been 21 deaths on Northland’s roads so far, the highest road toll figures for January to June in the last five years​.

A horror end to last year also saw 2022’s road toll finish the highest in five years, with 38 deaths.

The cause of these crashes is still under investigation, but the latest report by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency showed Northland had the highest rate of alcohol-related crashes in December 2020.

DIY Cycleways

While we’re in Northland, this is great.

The dangers of cycling from Russell to the ferry landing at Ōkiato have prompted a community group to start building a shared path for cyclists and walkers.

William Fuller, of the Bay of Islands Walkways Trust, said there was currently no safe way of riding between the Russell township and the ferry departure point.

The road was narrow with no shoulder and a 100km/h speed limit for much of the way.

There was an existing hiking track, also developed by the trust, but it wasn’t suitable for bikes because of its steps, stiles and steepness in places.

Now, to keep riders safe and promote cycling, the trust had started an ambitious project to fundraise and build a shared-used gravel track.

Once complete, it would stretch about 12 kilometres across a mix of council, conservation and private land.

Adventures in Korea

Tweets and threads of the week

The two faces of Auckland Transport…

This looks cool

This would be great

And so is this

That’s one way to travel

Have a good weekend

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  1. “Deaths involving drink-driving in Aotearoa have doubled since 2013 – reaching a 10-year peak last year.”

    About time we had:

    Alcohol To Zero

    1. It’s crazy in this context how many of the businesses that opposed pedestrianizing the golden mile in Wellington are bars.

      Bars should not be encouraging people to drink and drive. Surely they should be promoting more walking and public transport as part of their license conditions that require policies for “arranging safe transport options” for people who have been drinking?

  2. Regarding the Barbie bus, I thought they had changed the rules so that advertising images couldn’t go over the windows?

    1. Pretty sure that advertising policy was a victim of Covid.
      It was during the financial squeeze caused by Covid that sudden they went from limiting the advertising panels on the side of the double deckers to just the areas adjacent to the stairwell and inward facing seating to allowing full coverage of the entire bus.

  3. Work has started on the south end of platform one at Middlemore Station. My best guess is they are building a temporary platform which will be used while the station is rebuilt to allow the third main to pass through. However they will need to maintain access to the overhead bridge during the work so expect to see a narrow pedestrian path. But I could be wrong and in fact I have being on many occasions but it is hard to believe that they would get away with closing the station for the duration of the build especially as some of the hospitals operations are located on the western side of the line and how would the staff who currently park in the car park gain access to the hospital. I bet though it was among the options when Kiwirail, AT, Downers and the hospital management meet to negotiate. I would love to have being at that meeting.

  4. Life is getting more complex every year. Don’t get in an unlicensed submarine made of carbon fibre, don’t rent a flat above an electric bike shop, don’t get on a ferry with a large lithium ion battery, don’t get on a bus that doesn’t have ventilation….

  5. That improvised path would be great between Whitianga and Wharekaho. This 650 metre long stretch of road has no footpath and is 80km/hr, for some reason.,175.717896/Kuaotunu+Wharekaho+Road,+Waikato+3592/@-36.8054283,175.7117269,17z/data=!4m9!4m8!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x6d725c6eeeaefa57:0x942165c036ad3e7f!2m2!1d175.7118761!2d-36.8054363!3e0?entry=ttu
    I ran it when I was down there last time and, while drivers slowed down when they saw you, I imagine it wouldn’t take much inattention to not see a pedestrian as you came around a corner.

  6. People keep telling me that I have to quit Twitter, because staying on is helping Elon Musk turn it into into a far-right, pro-Putin, conspiracy-theory, anti-queer sewer; but the sheer amount of good information that’s still on it (as demonstrated in this post) makes that impossible right now.

      1. I repeat the comments I made previously:

        There is so much wrong with integrated multi-modal transport planning in NZ.

        1) “While an incident may not have occurred at your local pedestrian level crossing recently, incidents such as near misses and collisions with pedestrians have occurred, and continue to occur, across our rail network. AT takes these risks very seriously as we work hard to provide a safer network for all Aucklanders.”

        Yet we continue to murder people daily on the road simply because of a different regulatory regime.

        2) Has AT done business cases for the removal of the pedestrian crossings to determine the impacts on the cycle / ped network and the community severance effects?

        3) The money for pedestrian bridges is peanuts & much less than the design costs of some major road improvements.

        1. “Yet we continue to murder people daily on the road”

          Is hyperbole really necessary? Murder is the intentional killing of another human. In the vast majority of cases murder is not on the mind of drivers who kill.

          Your use of the word, in my humble opinion, detracts from the rest of your argument

    1. Tironui (disappeared station) crossing is in the consultation, not Takanini Station, which will have its own access upgrade.
      Homai Station gets step-free access from Browns Road.
      Kiwirail needs more room for more rails, too.
      Pick the right crossings to get rightly cross about.

  7. “Within police, attitudes promoting crime over road safety had contributed to a failure to meet road policing targets, the report released last year found.”

    But at least police are on record opposing concrete cycle lane separators like on Upper Harbour Drive! For safety! With one of their arguments being that they can’t park in the cycle lanes anymore to do drink drive stops. Who knew – cyclists really are a danger to us all. Sneaky bastards.

  8. Quick question – what does “a uniquely Whau flow” mean? (regarding the Avondale weekend fun headline near the start of this post). My dictionary tells me that Whau is a common type of plant, possibly the corkwood. I’m not sure what they are talking about. Can anyone help?

  9. And the works between Papakura and Pukekohe are progressing at pace with two new stations in various stages and a huge numbers of the Pylons for the cables are now in place ;-

  10. More light rail news this week:
    Government’s actions disrespectful and excludes the council from the table. Council needs to have a democratic say. Government not upholding partnership with the council. Council were blindsided by the letter. “Enough is enough … this is a bombing run”. Got along well with former Transport Minister and Auckland Minister Michael Wood on local matters but had not heard from or met the South Island-based Megan Woods.

  11. So the police are struggling to meet their road safety targets (especially drink driving) which is funded by Waka Kotahi… perhaps WK should spend some of the money they are wasting on replacing perfectly good signs with new dual language ones (yes I know they say they’ll do it as is needed but we all know that is a load of BS). Millions each year would fund a lot of extra police and breath testing.

  12. Here is one to rattle the lefties:

    White airmen win RAF apology for diversity drive.

    The head of the RAF has been forced to apologise after an internal inquiry found that 31 white male aviators were discriminated against in favour of women and ethnic minority candidates over a two year period.

    Waikato Times July 1. Something to think about over the weekend………..

  13. Good video on “Amsterdam Just Closed their Busiest Road”.
    Amsterdam is trialing its most ambitious traffic project yet. They are cutting off car traffic on a major 4-lane arterial road through the city for six weeks to study the effects.

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