Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: One Hundred and Thirty-one Million Reasons to Copenhagenize Christchurch

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  • JackElder, in reply to Lilith __,

    Waiting for Godwin

    From the Guardian review of Tim Hilton's memoire, "One More Kilometre and We're In The Showers":

    "How fascinating to discover, for instance, that Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot has a cycling connection. One Roger Godeau was a track ace at Paris's Vélodrome d'hiver after the war - this when the Vél d'hiv was still haunted by the fact that it had been used as a transit camp for 12,000 Jews, shamefully rounded up during the occupation by the French police. From that detention, they were transported to Drancy and thence to Auschwitz. In the late 40s, some of the boys who hung around the stadium for a sight of their cycling heroes told Beckett one day: " On attend Godeau." So Beckett perhaps had this melancholy setting, not to mention the shadow of the Holocaust, in mind when he was scripting the lines of Vladimir and Estragon."

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rich Lock,

    There has been a lot of work put in to Lake Road, Quay Street and the Newmarket viaduct, though, to name three big road I can think of off the top of my head. Although that may all be accounted for in last years budget.

    You're seeing the fruits of previous funding levels. Big projects take years to complete (hence the irony of Joyce opening all those new Auckland train stations).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16272 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to JackElder,

    ” On attend Godeau.”

    Wow, how peculiar and fascinating.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3410 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    +1 too-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • suky thompson,

    Hi

    Here are some more suggestions for making Chch more cycle friendly...

    1. Schools could encourage kids to cycle by including cycle gear in the school uniform (ie jacket and waterproof trousers as part of uniform). They should provide a cloakroom where wet gear could be checked in and hung up for the day, so it isn't scrumpled up in a tiny locker. They could have trousers as an option for girls - those kilts are not suitable for biking. They could organise cycling busses to encourage kids to cycle in groups - get the kids cycling and they'll grow into cycling adults - currently many kids, especially teenage girls think cycling is uncool (sad as they are missing out on the freedom and fun).

    2. Panniers - its almost impossible to source panniers made for shopping/carrying a laptop etc - ie big open baskets like NZ Post couriers use. For many people (especially women if they are like me) cycling with a heavy backpack is not comfortable and can be destabilising

    3. Integrate public transport with cycling - all buses to have the ability to carry lots of bikes (how about replacing some of the seats seeing as most buses are empty most of the time) and having bike shelters at bus stops. I'm a Lincoln student and cycling all the way from home in Bryndwr to Lincoln is fun but...sometimes it would be nice to cycle to the bus stop in Riccarton and take the bus from there - but I don't fancy leaving my bike chained to a bus stop day in day out.

    4. Places of work to provide covered bike sheds as well as showers - not nice at the end of the day to find your bike seat soaking wet.

    Since Jun 2011 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Lilith __,

    Agreed! Thanks JackElder for the link- my, the things one learns on PAS...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker, in reply to suky thompson,

    http://www.nextag.com/wicker-bicycle-basket/products-html
    http://www.klickfix.com/index.php?mod=18&kat%5Bd%5D=-1&lang=en

    what is the matter with nz retailers? don't they stock the stuff you can buy everywhere else?

    tokyo • Since Nov 2006 • 628 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to suky thompson,

    Saddle aside...

    ...not nice at the end of the day to
    find your bike seat soaking wet

    if I am precipitation prescient,
    I tie a plastic shopping bag – kept
    secreted on the bike – over the seat!

    ... a better life through chemystery!


    some interesting bicycle minutiae here
    and more saddle specific here

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    if I am precipitation prescient,
    I tie a plastic shopping bag – kept
    secreted on the bike – over the seat!

    One of the best-kept secrets of regular biking. Keeping a flannel or some paper towels in your backpack is a good back-up, too.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2092 posts Report Reply

  • petard,

    I am a bit late to this (derailed by a derailleur ?) so apologies if the wheel has turned way past this.... i need to raleigh enthusiasm much earlier

    It doesnt have to be all tarseal and heARTless commuter driven
    we got to get the gardeners and artists involved

    So for bike parking see David Byrnes New York bike racks
    here http://www.davidbyrne.com/art/bike_racks/index.php

    and his Bicycle Diaries is worth a brief listen for the cyclist as social
    commentator /architecture tourist approach

    Making the town more cycle friendly is not going to be that difficult
    the existing framework is not to bad if you start looking for routes that take you off the main thoroughfares
    A start would be opening up walkway/cycleway links from the main roads onto the adjacent parallel roads and then looking at how to use those to get people on bikes around town ...and the gardens tend to be nicer over there

    Since May 2011 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I'm down in Christchurch at the moment, and there's a couple of observations I'd make re cycling here. Many of the roads are still badly damaged, and there's alot of road works going on (certainly in the East and in town, anyway). There is fencing around most of the badly damaged buildings out of the cordoned area, but not all of them. And if I were a biker, riding on the footpaths would seem a bit risky, since many of those buildings are really near to the roadway. I've seen a few cyclists since I arrived here, but not as many as I expected, given how difficult it still is to get around via car (alternate routes need to be taken, much thought needs to be given about how you are going to get where you are going), and how far away many amenities are if you live in particular areas where petrol stations etc are still not open.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3121 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    And lo and behold, there's an article in this morning's Press about whether cycling is safe here.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3121 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Another historic angle - the emancipatory power of cycling for 19th century women. Wonder if Christchurch's suffragists have similar stories?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16272 posts Report Reply

  • Maz,

    Let's hope we do get that sudden shift in attitudes.
    Eye contact, a friendly wave, a geeky thumbs up are all in my daily vocabulary when cycling, and hopefully the little actions of many will move, well not mountains but something.
    Sorry Islander, but you are unfortunately wrong when it comes to Kiwi's attitudes to driving. The general friendliness and easy going nature down here is widely known, but on the road, that all goes out the window. Why? I don't know. People seem genuinely afraid that cyclists are taking something away from them.
    I have driven a car and cycled in many different countries; All over Scandinavia and Europe, Africa, Indonesia, the US, Canada, Australia and NZ. No other place comes close to the aggression I've witnessed here. Even the mayhem of Indonesia was WAY friendlier and less intimidating than Wellington's roads.
    Canada just makes you think you've died and gone to heaven. People insist on giving way to cyclists and other motorists.
    And if you think you've been annoyed by stupid cyclists, I encourage you to commute by bike for a week in a city, following the road code to the letter, and see how happy or even alive that would leave you. The amount of times you'd experience something scary, dangerous or life threatening is in a completely different order of magnitude than the times a cyclist annoys you.
    How would I know? I cycle 1 to 2 hours daily, but also drive 10000km yearly, getting to see things from both sides.
    Better infrastructure, awareness, dialog and debat will hopefully bring about a change, the sooner the better.
    Good to see so many positive contributions!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Sacha,

    the emancipatory power of cycling for 19th century women

    Ha, thanks Sacha! Particularly like the pictures. :-)
    (who needs lycra when you can wear 7 pounds of underwear under a woollen suit??)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3410 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Most of my European cycling has been in one city in France (with a few days in Denmark & Portugal), and mostly in 1 city -- of approximately the same size as Christchurch.
    Couple of interesting observations
    * They had contra direction on-road cycle lanes. Mostly in the historical centre, but the bike lanes were going in the opposite direction to the one way traffic in narrow streets. This actually works stupidly well, as both cars and cyclists see each other. No chance someone is going to open a door into your path, as you are heading towards them. Similarly, in normal driving, you are clearly in their line of sight
    * While the centre of town was fantastic for biking, outside the centre, and especially outside the rocard (many french cities have a circular ring route surrounding the original city) it was terrible. unsealed shoulders (so you are either *in* the traffic lane or riding on gravel), lots of trucks and just really unfriendly. It was OK again once you got out into the country, but truly unpleasant cycling through industrial areas.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 681 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Hey, this is nice.

    On the Guardian website, Alexei Sayle presents London by bike.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18509 posts Report Reply

  • Biobbs,

    Latecomer to this thread having been away for a week but a couple more things:

    The large number of cycles is not the only thing contributing to safety here - driver education and laws about how cars behave around cyclists are a big part of it. The onus is on cars to stay out of the way of bikes, and woe betide if you can't get that through your head. Drivers are indoctrinated right from the start about their obligations to cyclists: I have now mastered the twist-your-head-over-your-shoulder-until-your-neck-cricks-in-agony contortion that is compulsory when turning right in Denmark, to ensure you don't hit cyclists passing on the cycle lane on your inside. (I don't own a car, can't afford one - so for me this is only when using a work vehicle). So one thing NZ could do cheaply to promote cycling is some relatively minor changes to the Rode Code that more strongly shift the burden of collision avoidance on to motorists.

    Agree with some others above that we need to get some of the cycle lane infrastructure in place before we start on the 'stick' rather than 'carrot'. But it isn't going to work if we don't get the 'stick' part underway early on: there is no doubt that the high costs of cars, petrol and drivers licences here are a big contributor to the cycle culture, and NZ will never approach similar uptake without it. When there is a 180% tax on cars, you don't buy one unless you need one. In my workplace of 20 staff, only 3 are two-car families, and in none of them do any of the late-teen-early-20s kids have their own cars like they often would in NZ. With a driving age of 18, tough tests and very high costs of getting a licence, many people don't bother until well into their 20s. How politically acceptable this would be in NZ- especially as it would have to apply nationally - will be the biggest challenge of all in shifting NZ to a cycle rather than car culture. But if we don't start thinking about it now, circumstances will force it on us sooner or later.

    And the link of the cycle culture to the way the cities are built is a big part of it. Someone upthread said 'let's Denmarkise New Zealand' and while that is definitely something we *don't* want to do (there are some seriously fucked up things about Denmark), in urban planning it's hard to deny they've got it right. I live five minutes' walk from the central railway station in one of the main cities, in a neighbourhood that mixes apartments and shops and commercial premises in easy walking distance, with a maximum height restriction of 5 storeys. It is a magnificent way to live - surrounded by life and relaxed inner city dwellers, and yet there is still plenty of green space, especially the large shared gardens inside the apartment areas (google aerial views of any Danish city to see what I mean). So what Christchurch needs in the rebuild is some strong town planners to simply shut greedy property developers and real estate agents and road planners out of the discussion altogether, and let the experience of places like this show how to make a people-friendly central city that is vibrant and fun to live in. If you let those people into the debate, you end up with the Auckland shoebox Nelson St apartment block syndrome, a tragedy that rooted what could have been a chance to make our biggest city a pleasant place to live.

    I've lived all of the last 18 years of my life in either Christchurch or Denmark, and feel a strong bond to this: I want my NZ city to be Danish hyggelig* while still retaining what's good about NZ.

    *A Danish word famously difficult to translate into English, usually rendered as 'cosy', but is much more: it encompasses everything about comfortable living, good times, good friends, and general well-being.

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Gee, in reply to Biobbs,

    Someone upthread said 'let's Denmarkise New Zealand' and while that is definitely something we *don't* want to do (there are some seriously fucked up things about Denmark), in urban planning it's hard to deny they've got it right.

    Agreed. But if we could 'Denmarkise' our penal system as well as our urban planning that would be a brilliant thing....

    It's also interesting to consider that compulsory classes in Danish high schools cover urban planning for at least one module.... (or at least they did in the 1990s).

    Canada, eh • Since May 2011 • 75 posts Report Reply

  • Biobbs, in reply to Gee,

    Agreed. But if we could 'Denmarkise' our penal system as well as our urban planning that would be a brilliant thing....

    Oh yes, definitely that. And the health system. And the public broadcasting. :-)

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Biobbs,

    Agreed. But if we could ‘Denmarkise’ our penal system as well as our urban planning that would be a brilliant thing….

    Oh yes, definitely that. And the health system. And the public broadcasting. :-)

    and the cheese and smørrebrød...

    Lower Grey Lynn • Since Jul 2009 • 789 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Thank you Gee and Blobbs (hopefully not your real name) for your great contributions to this thread. Yes, the overall urban planning issues are definitely an important factor in encouraging the citizens of Christchurch to commute by bike, and indeed very significant in NZ’s overall energy consumption.

    It’s interesting to note that – despite what most people believe – the transport fuel tax in NZ doesn’t seem to cover the actual costs to NZ of consuming the fuel. Matthew Nolan has a thought-provoking piece here (I’m dubious about his figuring of the congestion cost – even though, of course, this is exactly the same approach that the NZTA uses).

    I’ve been poking around looking at the obesity costs of driving and how this could be reflected in the per litre fuel price. More on that in a few months…

    P.S Maybe we should be attempting to import ‘hyggelig’ into English as we did with the ever-useful – but clearly somewhat different in meaning– ‘gemütlich’ from German (thank you for that Prince Albert).

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 953 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Somewhat off topic, but I thought everybody might enjoy some beautiful pre-quake-Chch porn. It makes Chch look like a toy ideal city. I hope we can make it even better than this, one day.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3410 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Gee,

    compulsory classes in Danish high schools cover urban planning

    well-informed citizens would make a long-term difference

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16272 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    What do you think, Horatio?

    Agreed. But if we could ‘Denmarkise’ our penal system as well as our urban planning that would be a brilliant thing….

    I thought someone said there was something
    rotten in the state of Denmark, or is it not
    so much the cities, but just out in the Hamlets?

    What do we think of the HO ratio?
    the tiny town / International Rescue version of Chch was great…
    wonder how long it took to make the model?
    ;- )

    this Dukes video might be by the same person
    (or at least the same effect packages)
    nice shots of Lyttelton and elsewhere, too

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

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