City Centre Streets for the 21st Century

Santiago de Chile is home to some 6m+ souls, its origins date back to the 16th Century, and it has south American largest, and still expanding, Metro system. But, like almost all cities coming out of the 20th Century, its city centre streets have been allowed to be dominated by vehicles, with all of the disbenefits this brings. Happily, this is now changing, and attracting a lot of positive attention, as this Streetfilms film describes: This is a great model for the Auckland City Centre, where it will be even easier to achieve, and is in fact already underway, as the current trends in both declining vehicle mode-share and rising Transit and Active mode-share …
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Photo of the Day: Our Out of Balance Centre City Streets

Vincent and Pitt, Thursday 5:49 pm. Every corner occupied with people wanting to cross, including eight on this silly little delight of a ‘pedestrian refuge’, or nine if you include me, as I stepped back into the vehicle priority slip lane to take the shot, including at least one genuine princess. There appears to be one vehicle using the intersection and another a long long way in the distance up Pitt street. Auckland Transport have a lot of work to do to fix the dated modal priority that dominates City Centre streets as it is no longer fit for purpose. This design dates from a time when very few lived in the city, fewer worked there and …
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The Victoria St Linear Park: Why it is vital, but not really a park.

This is one of a series of posts I intend to do about about the city streetscape we ought to be able to expect as a result of the CRL rebuild. This one will describe the Council’s plans for inner western Victoria St, around the CRL portals, because it seems they are not well understood, especially by some at Auckland Transport, based on the recent release of a proposed design from the CRL team that appears to completely ignore the agreed streets level outcomes. In further posts I will: Consider this problem; transport professionals dismissing place quality outcomes as frivolous or unnecessary, or as a threat to their authority, as a professional culture issue. …
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Five Years

Exactly five years ago last month, August 30th 2011, my first ever blog post ran on Transportblog. While I am astonished it’s already been five years, what’s really astonishing is what we, my colleagues here, you the readers, and the growing force of friends and allies elsewhere [shoutout to Generation Zero and Bike Auckland especially], and of course the many good people official roles, have helped achieve in Auckland in this time. We have certainly raised the discourse on urban issues and influenced some real outcomes, for the better. Exactly what we set out to do, and what we continue to strive for. But there is one thing that has still remains unfixed …
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Photo of The Day: Signs of a Better Auckland on its Way

Cranes. Lots of cranes on the Auckland skyline at the moment. Many of them are building apartment projects, especially in the shot below. I particularly like this view because it shows that an area that long been dominated by one type of dwelling; detached Victorian houses, is now getting this resource complemented by a good volume of a different kind of dwelling. This is especially important as these old buildings have recently become extremely expensive through both further investment [massive upgrades] and good old fashioned scarcity plus neighbourhood desirability. So more people and different kinds of households are now entering this lovely neighbourhood with its existing infrastructure and great proximity to the city. While the prices …
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Inner Eastern Line Station Catchment

Along with the important issue of local point to point access of new cycling and walking infrastructure, as discussed in this cross-post with Bike Auckland [remember to submit by Thursday, especially if you are local] there is also the issue of increasing access to important Transit stops, especially RTN Stations, to improve their value. Below is a screen grab from MR Cagney’s excellent ‘Catchies’ work on Auckland’s existing RTN Station catchments. The shaded circles describe a 1km ‘as the crow flies’ diameter from each station, the coloured blobs show the actual 1km reach once street and walkway patterns are added. These then are a sort of visual description the difference …
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Clusterbus, Busageddon, Busapocalypse

It’s a perfect storm really. The CRL works plus other street and building works are combining with the recent sharp increase in pedestrian and bus numbers to pretty much infarct the Central City at any time of the day. The City-sandpit is not going to get better until the CRL is actually running in 2023, which seems a very long time away. Sure some important improvements loom large; the Wellesley St bus corridor and better stations and priority on Fanshawe St will clearly help. But it’s also certain that both pedestrian and bus demand will continue to rise because 1) the number of people living, learning, and working in the City Centre is growing rapidly and is …
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Auckland 2025- the Last Decade in Review- Part 2

It’s the last day of 2025 so it is a good time to run through the events of the last ten years in Auckland. A decade of profound transformation for New Zealand’s largest city. A coming of age. This is Part 2 of a 2 Part scenario. Part 1 here. Global megatrends mean local megachange, and Auckland is fortunate to have been well placed and nimble enough to largely come out on the positive side of these forces. We have seen the global trends of the first decade and a half of the 21C accelerate over the last decade, particularly: Migration: Internationally another great age of people movement is clearly underway. Urbanisation: Both …
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Ponsonby Rd Pedestrian Improvements

I’ve left this a bit late; today is the last day to get your feedback in on some quick fixes coming to P Rd. But it doesn’t take a moment to choose between the two near identical options and just a few moments more throw a word or two it in as well. Go here. In general AT and the Local Board are to be commended for the proposed changes as they will enable the street design to better follow the development of a new depth to the Ponsonby Rd strip; the noticeable lift in intensity throughout this area from Ponsonby Central and other places where the retail and hospitality now reaches further away …
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Notes from Sydney: Harbour Crossings

Thoughts of Sydney are inseparable from images of its harbour: It’s naturally beautiful, but also much of what has been added around the harbour increases its appeal, particularly the Opera House and the Bridge: The bridge is not only beautiful, and massively over-engineered, but also is an impressive multitasker; trains, buses, general traffic, pedestrians, people on bikes. All catered for. Despite that when looking at the bridge its mostly covered with cars in terms of moving people the general traffic lanes are the least impressive of the three main modes, as shown below in the am peak hour: It is its multi-modality that makes it truly impressive, some 73% of the people entering Sydney …
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