Welcome to Friday and the last one for September.
This week in Greater Auckland
- On Monday, Matt highlighted at the latest with the City Rail Link.
- On Tuesday, Matt covered the interesting items from Auckland Transport’s latest board meeting agendas.
- On Thursday, a guest post from Darren Davis looked at South East Queensland’s public transport network.
AT defends speed limit changes
After National once again tried to generate a culture war over roads to win votes, it’s particularly pleasing to see that Auckland Transport’s leadership publicly opposed it.
The chair of Auckland Transport (AT) has called out National leader Christopher Luxon and his transport spokesman Simeon Brown, over their policy to reverse many reduced speed limits.
Wayne Donnelly said the pair’s Botany and Pakuranga electorates had some of the highest death and serious injury figures in Auckland, and AT’s programme of speed reductions had made roads safer.
“You really have to wonder if the MPs really had the interest or understanding of the impact of speed management, particularly in urban areas,” said Donnelly, opening the council agency’s board meeting.
Donnelly said where AT had reduced limits under its speed management programme, deaths and serious injuries had “reduced significantly” while figures where the programme hadn’t been implemented were still increasing.
He and the agency’s chief executive Dean Kimpton also noted the big reduction in dedicated safety funding in the latest Government Policy Statement, released this year.
Kimpton told the board the change to the GPS meant AT may not be funded (by Waka Kotahi) to solve the speed and safety problem.
Common Sense Prevails
Waka Kotahi have extended the exemption for e-scooters for another five years
E-scooters will stay on New Zealand roads, cycle lanes and footpaths.
Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency had until September 30 to decide whether to renew e-scooters’ exemption from being classed as motor vehicles – a decision the agency earlier said would ban e-scooters from everywhere bar private property, given there is no mechanism for licensing riders.
Back in 2018, shortly before Lime launched in New Zealand, NZTA (now Waka Kotahi) declared that e-scooters were not motor vehicles under the Land Transport Act 1998 – but it was an exemption that would time out on September 30, 2023.
In the event, Waka Kotahi announced its decision two days early. The exemption has been renewed for another five years.
Will the real cost of Puhoi to Warkworth please stand up
A report from 1 News highlights that the current actual cost of the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway is over $1 billion and the final costs are still not known.
Waka Kotahi has paid road builders millions more on top of the billion-dollar cost of the Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway.
Official information suggests $77 million has been paid to a Fletcher construction alliance with Spanish giant Acciona, and there may be more to come.
Last year, the claims, mostly over extra costs due to Covid disruptions in 2021-22, were put at $280m.
This week, they were put at $203m in the pre-election fiscal update.
Earlier, construction costs for the 18km motorway were put at $709m plus two earlier settlement payouts – one for Covid, one for “historic” claims – together totalling $165m.
At its June opening, the cost was widely reported as $877m, and this is still how the estimated project cost appears on the official website.
“The more recent government reported value of $1.05 billion for the project road also includes additional costs such as property purchased,” the agency told RNZ.
“Final costs will not be known until all claims for additional cost entitlement from the contractor have been resolved.”
Finishing-off work had still to be done, as of last month, including completing earthworks at the northern end where the biggest slip is, and finalising work on local roads nearby.
A Rod Carr Corker
A great speech and other comments from Rod Carr on climate change.
the reality of the transport transition is that even battery electric cars if only used four percent of the time are an enormous drain on the planet’s resources that is unnecessary that the transition and transport through mode shift is in our own self-interest
I think one of the interesting challenges is the sort of framing between individual choice and responsibility in the institutional Arrangements that preclude individuals from choosing that the fossil fuel industry actually set about and quite effectively managed to say nothing to see here it’s all about your choice your your responsible for your emissions you’re responsible for the car you drive you’re responsible for the fossil gas you burn
but where the rich and the powerful and the affluent can still buy the convenience of the expense of the planet the burden that falls on those who have no choice is incredibly debilitating on the conversation we need to have. And you can see that replicated across the discussion about what modes of Transport are available to who, and the reality is that if those who are affluent choose not to take up the new low emitting technologies but rather use their affluence to continue with the purchase of high emitting single person transport, we’re a long way from anything that resembles a just transition
A neat story from the Waikato Times about a lady rebuilding her life by bike
A serious mountainbiking accident led Miriam Ellis to a job that’s made her the happiest she’s ever been.
The 45-year-old Cambridge woman crashed on a Te Miro track in November 2020 and was airlifted to Waikato Hospital with a head injury.
Not that she remembers the accident, or the following week.
Her head injury meant resuming her career as a university lecturer wasn’t possible.
She also wasn’t allowed to drive, which restricted her options even further. Add to the mix she and her then 10-year-old son had just moved to Cambridge from Melbourne.
So a new business venture was born – the cycle coffee company called Cy-Co.
“I’ve always loved bikes and I’ve always loved coffee,” she said.
The cost of noisy roads
Study of road noise in Sweden: each decibel is worth a 0.6% discount in property prices.
— Ben Southwood (@bswud) September 19, 2023