Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: The hard road to a cycle-friendly city

54 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 Newer→ Last

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Moz,

    and most importantly kiwis LOVE their cars.

    My experience, and understanding of the research, is that dependence isn't love, and people "choosing" to use the only viable option doesn't indicate commitment.

    Have you seen Jim Jeferries take on Americans and their guns.

    Kiwis (and this is a broad generalisation) love their cars in the same way. Put a kiwi behind the driver's wheel and they change personality. Suggest they can't park their car wherever they like and they throw a fit. Suggest they should drive a bit slower and the letters to the editor stream in. Suggesting they don't need two or three cars per household is like challenging their human rights.

    Yeah kiwis love their cars.

    You're right our transport planning has forced that on us to some degree but I really believe there is more to it than simple dependence. Kiwis have a problem with cars.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4427 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    kiwis love their cars

    older kiwis. not so much into the future.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19538 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Sacha,

    older kiwis. not so much into the future.

    Agreed. Which is another layer in the adaption problem.

    That said, that varies in different parts of Auckland. I don't have to ride very far to see people who clearly spend half their weekend cleaning polishing and modifying their car(s). For some it's the only large asset they are likely to ever own.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4427 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    another layer in the adaption problem

    Quite. When key decision-makers about long-term infrastructure investments reflect what cars represent for older generations rather than younger ones, we are setting up another problem for our children and grandchildren, as if climate change was not enough.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19538 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Harvey,

    Kiwis and cars.
    Just to flesh this out a little, one of the special aspects of having a car is the freedom to get in and drive to wherever you wish whenever you wish without having to meet someone else's timetable or geographical constraints. I believe it would be a tragedy for the commons if the ability to move around the country at your own behest was to become privileged. That said, cars are quite the wrong solution to urban congestion.

    Westmere • Since Nov 2006 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Robert Harvey,

    In general, for older people cars represent 'freedom'.

    For younger urban folk, frequent public transit services leave them free to connect online while they travel (and they would rather buy a better phone and data than own and run a car).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19538 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Harvey, in reply to Sacha,

    For younger urban folk, frequent public transit services leave them free to connect online while they travel

    Agreed. I was merely pointing out that our country comprises more places worth travelling to than just its urban areas, and that some of the best of these non-urban places do not have, nor ever will have, "frequent public transit".

    Westmere • Since Nov 2006 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Robert Harvey,

    , one of the special aspects of having a car is the freedom to get in and drive to wherever you wish whenever you wish without having to meet someone else's timetable or geographical constraints.

    That's just not the experience of a lot of people I know. A car is a costly thing that soaks up time and space and needs constant care. But then when you go to use it it's slow, fragile and unreliable. Journey time is estimated give or take 50% or more, and depends on factors way outside the operators control.

    To me, you're describing a bicycle. Especially a bicycle that can go on trains (I have bicycles that can't). It's notable that bicycle riders seem to fall into two broad groups "everything is half an hour away" and "it takes 8 minutes to ride to the railway station".

    This might be the generational divide mentioned, but if so it pushes "older people" well into the retired category - I'm nearly 50.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1118 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Making the same mistakes as everywhere else is not smart but neither is assuming things that work in one place can be transplanted to Auckland and will work exactly the same.

    I agree. But I am also very, very sick of "but we're special" being used as an excuse for inaction. Or, more commonly, action against cyclists.

    You're using strawmen and arguing in bad faith so it's hard to know which bits of your comments are actually serious. Could you possibly indicate that by referencing things so that when you say "will work exactly the same" I can read where someone suggested that.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1118 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Robert Harvey,

    our country comprises more places worth travelling to than just its urban areas, and that some of the best of these non-urban places do not have

    ... many people. Most people live in areas with a lot of people (tautological but true). Solutions that work there are often going to struggle or be outright stupid in less populated areas. But the 80% solution is going to work where 90% of the people are, and that's major cities. So "cars mean freedom" but also "cars mean parking hassles, dings in carparks, getting stuck in traffic jams, and OMG the cost of petrol".

    I grew up in Tasman which has small towns and rural areas rather more than it has cities, but even there most people lived (and still live) in areas with usable-to-good public transport. Importantly, because things are smaller bicycles work really well as active transport. Riding from Wakefield to Nelson every day (25km-ish each way) would be a struggle for the couple of hundred people who do that, but anywhere closer and you're choosing between electric assist and a lighter, faster unpowered bike. Even my parents have taken up recreational cycling now they've retired, and have suddenly discovered that it's fun and also works for trips around their local area.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1118 posts Report Reply

  • stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I'm wondering how that relationship will change if (when?) driverless cars are common...I presume that bad parking, speeding and other entitled but "fun" activities will not be possible.

    Will driverless cars lead to the love affairs being over?

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • jacques, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I tend to disagree with this. Roads are roads, and countries all over the world have designed roads of all widths for the same sorts of vehicles used in NZ - saying NZ roads are special or somehow very different from abroad is misplaced exceptionalism, and by accepting to learn, AT would really speed up the process of becoming a cyclable city. Their relative amateurism in the department of cycleway design and building seems to just need a bit more help from people who've had experience doing this as part of an efficient routine, not like it was some sort of moonlanding project.

    Since Dec 2017 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Rohan MacMahon,

    Bike Te Atatu are fundraising in memory of John Bonner, who died last week in a cycling crash. You can support the important work he was doing at the Auckland City Mission here:

    https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/bike-te-atatu-collection-in-memory-of-john-bonner

    Auckland • Since Dec 2017 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Robert Harvey,

    our country comprises more places worth travelling to than just its urban areas

    hiring cars for those trips away is becoming a viable option.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19538 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Me: “Hey car turn left”

    Car: “No, that’s the Skippers Rd have you read the ToS?”

    Me: “go to manual”

    Car: “No, you’re not the owner of me”

    That will be the end of the love affair

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2586 posts Report Reply

  • Glen Koorey, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    It seems like every cycleway in this city has a different design/approach. Some of them are not even instantly recognizable as cycleways to be quite honest.

    Could we not take the time to come up with a standard template approach and only vary from that when absolutely necessary?

    Seems to me if would a lot safer (drivers know a cycleway when they see one) and cheaper to build and importantly maintain.

    We've got concrete, tarseal, pavers.
    We've got about 5 different types of flexi posts, planter boxes, rubber separators, concrete separators, no separation.
    We've got pink, rainbow, long blocks of solid kermit, short pieces of kermit, different colours of kermit, no kermit.
    We've got in berm, inside parked carks, outside parked cars, no parking.
    We've got raised platforms at road crossings, we've got paths that go back onto the road at crossings.
    We've got single direction, we've got bi-direction, got shared cycle/pedestrian.
    We've got against the traffic flow, with the traffic flow.

    Seems a very expensive way for AT to "learn".

    While I don't disagree with the sentiment for conformity (and my own 2010 NZTA research on what infrastructure would get people cycling said a similar thing), you will always have an element of 'horses for courses'. The Netherlands certainly doesn't have one standard cycleway design they use everywhere (or two, or three...). Like most traffic engineering, you have to design each site to suit the particular context rather than just pull something out of a standard recipe book.

    Complicating that right now is that everything is all still new, so we are trying various things to see what works or not. Over time I expect that you will see some earlier less-than-stellar cycleway efforts get replaced with whatever is the current preferred best practice. In the meantime, assuming a design isn't inherently fundamentally flawed, it will probably stay as is until the improved version comes along. Assuming that appropriate use of signs, markings, colour, etc is applied, it should be sufficient for Jo Public to work out how to use it.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2013 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Kiwis (and this is a broad generalisation) love their cars in the same way.

    I know it isn’t fashionable to say so, but I LOVE driving. Driving is a pleasure – it is why we go and Sunday drives and the like. The hipster car haters (you’ll find plenty of them over at the greater Auckland blog) will burst an overdeveloped calf blood vessel at the merest hint of one taking pleasure in the freedoms bestowed by cars, but I really like driving. To many people confuse the hell of the commute with driving in general. Cars are freedom to go where you want when you want or take you places where you can’t drive anymore and then you can walk.

    I know that these days interfering helicopter parents have imprisoned their kids, but for me the first taste of freedom was my bike. We roamed near and far in our little gang on our bikes. But I learned to drive when i was 14 and I got my license the day I turned 15, and I already had my first car. It was REALLY freedom. I got a job largely to buy petrol.

    I use trains to commute and I use my bike for leisure. But I still enjoy driving for pleasure. Cars are a powerful cultural and ideological expression of western individualism and the freedom to go wherever you want whenever you want.

    The provision of adequate safe infrastructure for all modes of transport is common sense. People should not die on inherently unsafe routes just because they want to cycle to work. We shouldn’t let the need for multi-modal commuting links to be hijacked by the dreary car haters like Greater Auckland crowd,many of whom seem rather bitter that they forced to live in Auckland and they are not in Amsterdam or some trendy Scandinavian capital.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2198 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Glen Koorey,

    Complicating that right now is that everything is all still new, so we are trying various things to see what works or not. Over time I expect that you will see some earlier less-than-stellar cycleway efforts get replaced with whatever is the current preferred best practice. In the meantime, assuming a design isn’t inherently fundamentally flawed, it will probably stay as is until the improved version comes along.

    The one that bugs me is obstacle-based traffic calming installed in the belief that it will make things safer for cyclists, when the effect is the opposite. The actor Peter Elliot made this video (it's on Facebook, but I think it’s public) of the descent down Grosvenor Street from Great North Road, which is supposed to be a connection to the Grey Lynn Park shared path. It’s incoherent. Suddenly narrowing a street to a single lane and giving me nowhere else to go just adds anxiety and risk. I love the Grey Lynn Park route, but I’ll actively avoid this as a way to get to it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Greater Auckland heralds the Bikexplosion.

    Numbers are sharply up all over the city.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Bryce Pearce has written a very good guest post for Bike Auckland, on the stretch of road where John Bonner died last week.

    I think it's an important read.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Another example is the bike route running parallel to Dominion Rd.

    Parau St is a good example where speed bumps are used to slow traffic. For me on the bike I just get up on the pedals and let the bike go over the speed bump under me without slowing down, whereas the cars (usually) slow down.

    The intent is to make it safer for me and the kids who use this street.

    However if a car passes me at the top of the street then I will pass it at every speed bump - instead of one interaction with the car I now have multiple interactions with the same car.

    Add a line of parked cars and the odd road narrowing and instead of making accidents between cars and bike less likely, AT has made them a near certainty - albeit with the slight advantage that it will probably be a low speed accident and result in merely a few broken bones.

    Anyone riding that street knows this. Anyone spending even a couple of hours watching traffic on that street knows this.

    So AT got it wrong. They tried something and it didn't work for this street - shit happens. The problem is, they will NEVER change it. Because they are unable to admit mistakes and because they don't go back and look at what they've done to see if it works. Instead it gets ticked off and they never think about it again ...

    unless someone dies.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4427 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I do wonder how much of what is going on is budget related. Hard to tell if the variations in cycleway approaches are AT "trying different things" or being forced into taking shortcuts because of budget restrictions.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 497 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    I do wonder how much of what is going on is budget related. Hard to tell if the variations in cycleway approaches are AT “trying different things” or being forced into taking shortcuts because of budget restrictions.

    I gather that was a significant factor at West Lynn.

    And yet, as I noted in the post, there’s an argument they’re trying to do too much at Karangahape Road. After assuring retailers they wouldn’t be moving services, it appears they’re doing that. So every power pole and pipe gets moved and the footpath gets dug up for who knows how long. I’m a bit torn over it, really – on one hand, we have a depressing history of half-arsed public works, on the other, doing the big kahuna in this case is extraordinarily disruptive. And it's not just some shops – it's the culture of the place.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    being forced into taking shortcuts because of budget restrictions.

    I suspect a lot of it is that. Auckland just doesn't have the income of other big cities.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4427 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    There have been quite a few claims made around AT’s agreement with the local board on reviewing the West Lynn and Westmere cycleways. It’s worthwhile reading AT’s update to see what work will continue before and during the review.

    The Occupy Garnet Road people have had this info for a little while, but typically, have chosen to make wild claims about their supposed success in stopping all cycleway construction in Auckland.

    Waitemata Local Board chair Pippa Coom has a useful blog post on what it means – including, most notably, new and better consultation practices.

    I must say I’m not so impressed with her WLB colleague Rob Thomas, who seems to me to have been showboating on the issue. This was a whole board action, not Rob saving the world on his own. I would note that he’s been cagey on the details on Facebook.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.