Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Staying Alive

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  • linger, in reply to Sacha,

    And there was me thinking National’s roads would be paved with good intentions.

    * * *
    As for ponies for everyone: Remember that the advent of the motor car actually decreased urban pollution levels, for a very basic reason. Considering the likely effect on public health, horses will probably not be a viable solution for the volume of urban public transport now needed in most places.
    (Though NZ will be in a better position than most other Western countries.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 851 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to BenWilson,

    a tiller the hum...

    If farming could use entirely renewable energy.

    I'm tilting towards windmills,
    and clockwork wind-ups...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    Wearing elected rep hat:

    the database of speed limits has to be kept strictly up to date.

    True job: a poor soul in Auckland Transport spent a good whack of time compiling the speed limit database for every road in the Auckland Council area. That’s 14,000 lines in an excel spreadsheet. Reason? Auckland Transport uniquely have bylaw making ability, including setting speed limits.

    That was Joyce’s aim in changing regional transport authority arrangements to force more explicit obedience to the Government Policy Statement (GPS) which shifts funding priority from things like cycleways and potholes to building new highways.

    In a recent briefing from Auckland Transport I explicitly bought up the fact that the GPS directed NZTA where to spend the money – quite extreme nanny statist-ism (and ironic for being introduced by the previous Labour Govt). The officers of course could not comment (being apolitical), however one wingnut politician said that Auckland Transport had to shape its program to the GPS, as NZTA will fund projects.

    I countered that we (as in Auckland) were independent from Wellington (the Govt), and could shape our program however we liked. Cue smiles and nods from officers. The cost to this is that NZTA won’t fund stuff like oh, a Central Rail Link, cause you know, it’s not a Joyce-ian Mi-Way or the Hi-Way project.

    Doffing said hat.

    And (tongue in cheek), when push comes to shove, politicians will get petrol to move around; everyone else can use shanks ponies.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 639 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Christopher Dempsey,

    IT lives…

    a poor soul in Auckland Transport spent a good whack of time compiling the speed limit database for every road in the Auckland Council area. That’s 14,000 lines in an excel spreadsheet.

    Using their much cheaper ($3.4 million) Microsoft (I assume) based in-house system – while the Super City Council plugs on with its expensive ‘start from scratch’ ($54 million so far rising over a decade to $500 million) Deloitte/Soltius/HP system (according to The Herald, and if their figures can be believed of course!!)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Christopher Dempsey,

    I countered that we (as in Auckland) were independent from Wellington (the Govt), and could shape our program however we liked.

    Not so much, with Joyce's deliberate shifting of responsibility from Auckland Council's transport committee to Auckland Transport's appointed board and bound by Ministry/NZTA national priorities.

    Auckland is even more under the thumb than the rest of the country. The Mayor and others like yourself are forced to conduct a delicate dance of persuasion rather than getting on with what experts recommend and Aucklanders elected the Council to do.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16262 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Sacha,

    Not so much, with Joyce’s deliberate shifting of responsibility from Auckland Council’s transport committee to Auckland Transport’s appointed board and bound by Ministry/NZTA national priorities.

    Chances are it's sour grapes for John Banks not taking Greater Auckland.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4056 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to DeepRed,

    I believe it's more pragmatic - what you do with the power you have when others won't toe the line.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16262 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to BenWilson,

    all the work all the horses in the world could produce wouldn’t be enough to maintain the level of production that we currently have.

    This was my point, better made. And I don't know how big a part of the answer biofuels can be, considering that their production depends on exactly the kind of high-intensity industrial farming which will become more difficult in the future. I don't doubt that technology will improve, that people will adapt; but it will be harder, and it's going to look different.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 799 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to James Butler,

    I don't know either, but a rural environment with no vehicles that were capable of the kind of raw power output for lengthy periods in remote locations, that currently only ICEs can provide, yet produces modern levels of output, is futuristic beyond prediction. There was a reason that even before ICEs farming was being mechanized, using such primitive technologies as wood and coal burning steam engines. The reason is because a poor old horse dragging a plough around for days on end can't do as much work as those things could do in half an hour. And the horse needs to be fed too, it needs some acres of grass to keep it alive. It needs tending, it can get sick. It has to spend years growing up to be useful. And it can only really output one horsepower, which just isn't sufficient for a lot of tasks.

    I don't doubt that technology will improve, that people will adapt; but it will be harder, and it's going to look different.

    Very hard to predict. Fuel costs will rise, but they must be bounded above by biofuel production costs? I don't know this for certain. Perhaps that will be the extent of the change, that a certain amount of land will be dedicated to providing the energy for the kind of farming for which alternative equipment has not been invented or the invented infrastructure has not reached. So maybe farms won't look much different at all. If cities reform dramatically so that they're not fuel guzzlers any more, something that we know how to do, then perhaps the cost of fuel might stabilize, or even come down.

    Note: I'm using the word "fuel" to mean "Petrol or alternatives, including but not limited to biofuel".

    I'm tilting towards windmills,

    Yeah, I'd expect there will be a lot more of those.

    Looking forward to seeing @farmgeek again at Foo today. His vision of sustainable farming is very different and most admirable, since he's also living it. Permaculture does look different to highly industrial farming, but there's still a lot that's the same too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    Looking forward to seeing @farmgeek again at Foo today

    you lucky bugger

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16262 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Using their much cheaper ($3.4 million) Microsoft (I assume) based in-house system

    Nope, SAP, just like what's being used by the Council. That's part of the reason for the outrage at the cost: it's the same software, so spinning off another instance for use by the Council, or even sharing an instance, was always an option.

    MS just don't play at that level. The real players are SAP, PeopleSoft, and Oracle. It just so happened that ARTA were using SAP, and that was turned into the SAP instance for Auckland Transport.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    One does still see donkeys and mules working even in downtown Beijing.

    Even working as an institute of contemporary art.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2118 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    I guess people have seen news of the NZ speaking tour by Roger Geller of the Portland Oregon Cycling Advocacy. He is talking in Hamilton on Friday 17th, 12-1 at the HCC Reception Lounge. I will be there as I off to Portland in a couple of weeks, for a 3 day conference (yikes!).

    Cycling Auckland has news of more local events.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2265 posts Report Reply

  • Bryce, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    And the cyclist made the choice to illegally undetake the moving truck.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Bryce, in reply to Lisa Black,

    Firstly, I'm a cyclist in Auckland.

    As for the undertaking law only being for cars, no it isn't. The Road Code is for all vehicles unless stated otherwise. Cyclists must observe the same rules as cars / truck / horses and carts etc.

    The best fix to Tamaki Drive problem is a dedicated cycleway. The standard for a 2 way cycleway is a minimum 2.5m. Removing the kerbside parking would enable this to happen. Getting back some grass / kerbing etc would enable a full 3m cycleway.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I don't actually think any level of SAP would let you manage a database of speed limits properly. That's more of a GIS job, along with a repository of whatever stautory instrument is needed to establish a speed restriction.

    SAP might tell you how many signs you had.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • Terry Baucher,

    For those of a slightly ghoulish persuasion this is a map prepared by Cycle Action Auckland showing 107 cyclist v vehicle crashes along Tamaki Drive between 1 January 2003 and November 2011 (personal note I'm one of the purple flags near Sage Road in Kohimaramara).

    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=206432868319884065325.000479a64faf5f12c026f&msa=0

    Devonport • Since Nov 2008 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Terry Baucher,

    And for those who quibble about the cost for installing cycleways perhaps a read of this MOT report on the social cost of accidents would be instructive (Note for NZTA reporting purposes my injuries are deemed to be serious as I was hospitalised for three days. Based on the MOT data I think they would be classed as minor but I know the direct ACC costs are some $35,000 to date and climbing).

    http://www.transport.govt.nz/ourwork/Land/landsafety/Pages/Socialcostofroadcrashesandinjuries2010.aspx

    Devonport • Since Nov 2008 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Good double pager in todays Herald. (One of the few I have read over the years as we have been on hols in Tairua and got to read it on the way home today).

    Seems things might be getting a bit of headway although the strange but true story of the "Road Corridor Operations" has to take some of the crumbs of the cake!! What a great name.

    Or maybe they really are following the "narrow" dictionary meaning of "corridor" (from dictionary.com):

    4. a narrow tract of land forming a passageway, ..........

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1479 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bryce,

    Removing the kerbside parking would enable this to happen.

    Heaven forbid. You'll recall the organised wailing by roadside parkers when Mt Albert Road's cycleways were introduced - and the resulting "compromise" is visually obvious.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16262 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sacha,

    Mt Albert Rd at least has the defence of being a residential and business road. Tamaki Drive is barren of anything except cliffs, parking and beaches for most of its length, and the places where there are businesses and residences are, mostly, intersected by cross streets.

    I happen to really like the idea of extending the Viaduct Harbour tram service (modernised to a proper light-rail service, though) through Britomart and all the way out to St Heliers, and making the room by removing the parking spaces. That’s not conducive to creating cycling lanes and, additionally, cycling lanes won’t provide alternative transport for people who wish to travel to the Bays. If we have to have one or the other, even as a cyclist I would rather that the space be sacrificed to public transport than to cycling, since we can always share the road, especially with what should be a fairly significant reduction in vehicle traffic with the arrival of a viable alternative to driving (buses along Tamaki Drive are pretty shit).

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Even in the local home of light rail, Melbourne, they do not put trams along the beach road. It's not really the place for them. They need wide roads, and lots of traffic lights. The do also spoil the outlook with overhead cabling a lot.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

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