Posts by BenWilson

  • Hard News: We can make things better here, in reply to Sacha,

    I wonder (drunkenly) if such apps are statistically significant. Is an entire day's lag even going to show up in traffic flow, with hundreds of thousands of people making choices? By the time tomorrow rolls around even people who don't have smartphones know which way sucks more.

    Yet traffic engineers prefer to pretend this common ‘induced demand’ does not exist when they do their modelling to justify moar roads.

    I credit even knowing about the idea to a traffic engineer. Her Masters thesis was on "Pedestrian Crossings For the Disabled" so we're not talking about some Randroid here. It was like the Market Efficiency Theory of traffic, the kind of thing they all know about, but only the right wingers actually believe with enough lust to base decisions on. And if it wasn't true, they'd have invented it anyway.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8800 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: We can make things better here, in reply to Ben Gracewood,

    I expect they will have on-ramp flow control lights to deal with exactly this. It’s quite possible for the new flow from the tunnel during rush hour to be throttled back so that it doesn’t jam up SH16 (although it either has to slow SH16 down, or they have to throttle the SH16 on-ramps).

    It is never going to be a no-brainer to use one route over another, because people compete to use resources. For the most part, similar routes tend to balance in the time they take, for the simple reason that people will choose the shortest route. So if the number of commuters remains the same, the tunnel will be a preferred choice for just enough people that it’s actually quicker for. The rest will use the existing routes, and be competing initially with fewer motorists. If commute times drop significantly, they’re often just hoovered back up by people making choices to commute rather than not, but that does take a lot longer to happen. In the meantime, added capacity can only be an overall good.

    Some areas might actually get more choked, but we do have a very simple technology to adjust this, the taps on the motorway on-ramps.

    ETA: Just checking, it looks like all the SH20 on-ramps already have those lights.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8800 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: We can make things better here, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Sure, but I've often had to wait 3 phases to get around the corner at Western Springs, coming from the west, and once you get onto the on-ramp you have flow-control lights that can take several minutes to get through. Then you contend at any time approaching rush hour with the motorway only going at a slow pace anyway. So I guess we'll see.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8800 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: This Week in Parliament (in…, in reply to TracyMac,

    the kind of progressive chap who would give all due acknowledgement to the Ladies’ Rugby Auxiliary, even if they’re not currently winning.

    Naturally. There's no losers when every lady provides a plate!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8800 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: We can make things better here, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I guess we'll end up seeing. If St Lukes bridge chokes, then 2 minutes to drive 1.5 km through 3 sets of lights to Western Springs, get over the bridge (2 sets of lights) and then through the on-ramp lights and then drive back 1.5 km in heavy traffic to pass within 50m of where you started might seem optimistic.

    The other route has 7 sets of lights. I'd think that if 2 cars left simultaneously on the alternate routes, then by the time the motorway seeker was actually on the motorway by St Lukes Rd, the other car would have already crossed New North Rd. Then it's a race for the motorway car to cross 5km in the time it takes the other car to go 2km along Richardson, Stoddard and Maioro.

    Will be interesting to see if there's much time saving for the extra 3 km (which also cost more in petrol or road-user charges).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8800 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: This Week in Parliament (in…,

    Netball? Surely that would be a Ministeress? Or a Wominister?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8800 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: We can make things better here, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    I don’t think you will be able to get on at Pt Chev to head west (to airport) you need to get on at St Lukes instead. Less traffic through Carrington/ Owairaka but more at St Lukes

    Pretty sure you're right that Pt Chev won't have access to the tunnel. It's hard to envisage how they could have, engineering wise. Has the traffic through St Lukes been modeled as likely to increase? I'm just thinking that if I was at the Carrington Gt North crossing, I wouldn't drive sideways a whole km to St Lukes just to use the tunnel, rather than just heading south to Maioro, particularly since there would be a reduction in traffic using Carrington coming from further west/north.

    Must be a little embittering to live right by the tunnel mouth in Waterview, and yet know that you'd have to drive to either St Lukes or Patiki Rd to be able to get into it :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8800 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: We can make things better here, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Western Springs essentially replaces Pt Chev as an access on and off the western motorway once the Waterview interchange is complete.

    I'm a bit confused about this. From what I can see, we don't lose any of the current on or off-ramps at Pt Chev. So you can still come off and go on at Pt Chev in either direction on the North-Western. It's just that we don't get any way at Pt Chev to actually go in or out of the tunnel.

    I'm not really seeing why traffic at St Lukes would increase dramatically. I guess locals might use it to get to the tunnel more, but their alternative was to use it to get to South Auckland directly along St Lukes Rd anyway, or taking the motorway citybound to go south. And there should be traffic reductions from people out West choosing the tunnel over going off at St Lukes to get to many of the South Isthmus and Airport locations.

    Any thoughts? What am I missing?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8800 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Works in progress, in reply to Sam F,

    the Council plan shows a nice theoretically sweeping path that goes right up the steepest part of the reserve (I don’t know how far they have thought the project out yet). I like my MS Paint version better – less direct as the crow flies, but it seems a lot less steep overall and would leave more of the park intact for other uses (it has zero facilities of any kind right now).

    It’s hard to envisage it without being there and streetview isn’t quite adequate, but the council plan is what I’d choose – it is the steepest part, yes, but it’s hugging the ridge more than dropping down through the middle of the reserve would, and it also means no crossing. There’s no avoiding the Ian McKinnon climb (without bypassing Upper Queen St and K-Rd altogether, a hopeful idea that I doubt will ever come to fruition), but at least it can be a single climb. Your alternative does go right through the very lowest point in the park. But it would be cheaper :-). 2 million? Cripes. But then their vision is of a real cycleway, with complete separation. At the top, you’re also one less crossing from the city. It would cut out a big climb and 2 crossings.

    But thanks for the picture, it’s worth a thousand words, makes it clear just how simple what is being asked for is.

    I think if it actually happened the biggest trouble is that it would become a popular pedestrian thoroughfare :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8800 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Works in progress, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I seem to remember you singing the praises of the one you hacked up :-)

    Yup, I did get a lot of use out of one of them, but as I got stronger I found the good quality pedal-only one I had to be easier to use, since my riding had quite variable range and I was really only getting 25km around Auckland at best on the electric, before I was carrying a really heavy bike around. But I believe that ranges have improved a lot with newer battery tech.

    I think most of the legal ones have a rough speed limit built in, due to the power output limits. That limit is significantly slower than what a good rider can achieve by pedaling (I think it's around 24-25km/h, compared to 30km/h for a strong rider), and I found it virtually impossible to improve upon through extra effort. So I'd overtake people on hills and fall behind on the flat. It didn't encourage the continual effort that pedal-only does, you can just sit on it like a motorbike on the flat (some designs force you to pedal, though). As the exercise angle became more important to me, the electric stayed in the garage more, until eventually I sold it (for the same price I bought it for).

    Going up and down is what uses up the power, btw. Quoted ranges on the flat bear little resemblance to Auckland distances. Also since the weight of the rider is a significant fraction of the load (more then 2/3rds of it in my case), rider weight makes a big difference to the range.

    But even my bike would have been fine over the 16km round trip Tom is talking about. I purchased it for $300 second-hand off TradeMe. It was very good for taking the kids on the back - Marcus saw a lot of Auckland from the back of it.

    I think they're pretty cool, but there are reasons why they haven't yet taken over. Putting one in the back of the van or getting it up a flight of stairs, or lifting it over something was very difficult. Getting anyone to work on the electrics was impossible. Changing a rear tire myself was very difficult. And I always had its level of charge on my mind, even when relaxing at home. You have to treat batteries right or they die. I was hardly going to leave it parked anywhere that casual theft was a concern.

    Many of these factors have improved, except for the basic heaviness of the bikes (as you note). That really is necessary, because the bike frame is carrying a lot of weight. On the other hand, a heavier sturdier bike with fat tyres is probably a bit safer.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8800 posts Report Reply

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