Island Life by David Slack

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Island Life: Still not over it

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  • JohnAmiria,

    Place this next to lobbying for a largely decorative $50m bridge across the viaduct which will benefit businesses and tourists...

    I really don't see much cost/benefit on that one either. The bridge is ONLY for buses and pedestrians, not cars.

    It could well end up being our own Bridge to Nowhere

    hither and yon • Since Aug 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I really don't see much cost/benefit on that one either. The bridge is ONLY for buses and pedestrians, not cars.

    Me neither, its a lifting bridge, thats why its so damed expensive. It's main function is to serve the privately owned super yachts, and to provide convenient access to the development project, on the tank farm land.

    Incidentally, the harbor bridge already has a pedestrian corridor, its under the bridge, but it forbidden to the public, for safety reasons. It's the service way.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4356 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Incidentally, the harbor bridge already has a pedestrian corridor, its under the bridge, but it forbidden to the public, for safety reasons. It's the service way.

    I thought a company was doing walking tours under/on the bridge? Having done the actual walk one summer when I was working for the police, it's nowhere near appropriate for unguided access - to get right across is actually quite tricky - the north end services about 3/4 of the bridge, but from memory there's no good walkway that goes right across.

    Yes, yes - I get it now: it's the $40million Harbour Bridge Cycleway or nothing.
    I haven't seen such dogmatic belligerence since the Unifems in the 80s.

    Actually if it was me I'd close one of the lanes, and split it half between pedestrian and cycleway. I'd imagine that'd cost a couple of million at most. But I'd imagine that idea going down like a lead balloon :)

    I think the variation between the $40 million and the $5 million needs to be sorted before you could give a definitive answer on the current suggest.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • JohnAmiria,

    It's main function is to serve the privately owned super yachts, and to provide convenient access to the development project, on the tank farm land.

    I'd forgotten that! Maybe Banksie should make the bridge a PPP and we could charge a toll! The yachts could pay each time they needed the bridge lifted, and the developers could pay everytime a dump truck passed over.
    I'm serious.

    Actually if it was me I'd close one of the lanes, and split it half between pedestrian and cycleway. I'd imagine that'd cost a couple of million at most. But I'd imagine that idea going down like a lead balloon :)

    Actually I like that idea, but only when the second crossing is in place. And as I note from this thread CYCLISTS WANT ACTION NOW!!
    BTW - Half of that half million cost would be spent on Resource Consent

    hither and yon • Since Aug 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    I thought a company was doing walking tours under/on the bridge? Having done the actual walk one summer when I was working for the police, it's nowhere near appropriate for unguided access - to get right across is actually quite tricky - the north end services about 3/4 of the bridge, but from memory there's no good walkway that goes right across.

    I think the license for guided walks is owned by AJ Hackett. Enquiries revealed that you can pay to walk but can only buy "official" pictures.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    Isn't it a matter of economics? If we want bikies and PEDS XING the Harbour Bridge, we'd have to impoverish car owners to the point they can't afford anything else than to cycle.

    Even then, I bet most would take the bus, despite long wait and travel times.

    Another problem that bicycle commuters soon discover is that many workplaces don't even have somewhere to lock up your bike, let alone changing room with shower.

    Cycling isn't ever going to become a popular, convenient thing to do. I'm fine with that actually.

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Another problem that bicycle commuters soon discover is that many workplaces don't even have somewhere to lock up your bike, let alone changing room with shower.

    Cycling isn't ever going to become a popular, convenient thing to do. I'm fine with that actually.

    Meridian Energy begs to differ. And it's not an isolated case.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5428 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I haven't seen such dogmatic belligerence since the Unifems in the 80s.

    If it's the Auckland Unifems you are speaking of, yes, we were a bit, weren't we?

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    For what it's worth, every workplace I've had in the last 10 years has had somewhere to leave a bike, and all but one has had a shower. It's something I ask about in the interview.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Cycling isn't ever going to become a popular, convenient thing to do. I'm fine with that actually.
    Meridian Energy begs to differ. And it's not an isolated case.

    I saw somewhere last week, cannot remember where, a suggestion that one very effective way of discouraging car use would be to make carparks subject to FBT while, at the same time, making subsidised public transport passes FBT-exempt. If companies had to pay tax on the commercial value of CBD carparks that they hand out willy-nilly, they might be rather more circumspect about providing cycling facilities.
    Obviously it's not always going to be fair to make carparks taxable, so maybe allow the Commissioner of IRD to designate FBT-imposed areas based on locales that are well-serviced by public transport. The CBDs of all the major cities are the obvious candidates.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Prosser,

    Hell yes. I found myself leaving work early in the mornings just so I could stop off on the bridge and watch the wildlife. I saw a shag eat an entire flounder in one mouthful. That's worth a month of cycling in my book.

    Which sums up why a van shuttle option completely misses the point about why people want to cycle the Harbour Bridge.

    The joy of the journey is what I remember from riding the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Getting there under your own steam is infinitely preferable than being shut in a shuttle-bus.

    Cyclists are not chickens, and getting to the other side is not the main point. It is the joy of being out there, over the harbour, seeing the view and feeling the achievement of having made it up one side of the bridge, so you can gently coast down the other.

    There is no fun in a shuttle bus. It's a shame that there isn't a pedestrian option too. I'd definitely walk the bridge when up in Auckland, just for the sake of having done it, if there were a well-designed clip-on and something of a view.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2008 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Actually if it was me I'd close one of the lanes, and split it half between pedestrian and cycleway. I'd imagine that'd cost a couple of million at most. But I'd imagine that idea going down like a lead balloon :)

    That'd be the simple solution, with another lane as busway. Plus a bridge/motorway toll set at whatever levels needed to limit the inevitable congestion and enable those who really want to drive across to do so.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    Developing that theme of 'strong signals' a little further, a friend emailed me this:

    the gummint could consider taking a similar line to achieve a goal of more trips made by cyclists. I think the direction has to be to concentrate on making it harder to drive a car, and to add more consequence to the effect of a car vs cycle accident, as in Europe, rather than trying to push cycling. ..
    Driving age from 18 years on, compulsory third party insurance, rigorous emmission testing, double the tariff on second-hand car imports, policed cell-phone ban, increased petrol tax, etc etc. And stuff the bleating opposition.

    In parts of western Europe there's a mandatory fine of some 1000s of Euro if a car knocks a bike down. It's hard to mount a successful defence. Rather like the person who hits another car from behind automatically being in the wrong, with few exceptions.

    I've seen 3 or 4 friends struck by cars and suffer broken bones; there's little penalty, even those who lost their licence appealed to get it back so they could get to work. Thats because we're protected by ACC, and can't bring a civil suit. Which is why you need to increase the penalty.

    This is incendiary, to be sure, but there's good sense in it. I understand there were howls of indignation when they did it in France , but it carried anyway.

    And here's a quiz question: without looking at your Road Code, do you know how much leeway a driver is supposed to give to a cyclist? I didn't. Don't know if I ever did.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    I see greater cycle ways and better pedestrian access as a human right, as they work for greater wheelchair access and therefore greater democracy to public space and travel.

    Recently a south island council removed the 17mile per hour speed limit for bicycles in their area. But that would make it a far safer place for all modes of transport in built up areas.

    The reason wheelchair access is becoming more important is the increase in survival of spinal injuries since the late 1970s and our aging pop using their scooters, bicycles and even tricycles (great carrier space for shopping and the dog). Greater cycle access automatically includes those of us in wheelchairs and scooters from a greater reliance on the car and those b'stards blocking the wheelchair parking space.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    without looking at your Road Code, do you know how much leeway a driver is supposed to give to a cyclist? I didn't. Don't know if I ever did.

    1.5 metres. Which I know from seeing signs on the backs of buses, not from the Road Code. Is it actually a legal requirement? Because the cops don't enforce it (or even obey it). My knowledge of road rules is far better than the average driver who's had their full car licence since the days before the plastic cards, but I don't recall ever having seen anything about cars giving bicycles a set distance. Nobody does it. I don't do it, and I'm very aware of cyclists since I am one myself. Of course, on many roads it's impossible to give them even half that much without being into the opposite lane and its occupant cars.

    I agree that the penalties need to be stiffer, but that goes for all manner of road misbehaviour. If you need your licence for your job, and you lose it, well tough. You shouldn't be driving like a fucktard if it's how you make your living. I've a little more sympathy for people who live in the wops and cannot get to work without driving, but for people who live in areas served by public transport they can just fucking deal!

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Stead,

    Ants, (and anyone else thinking helmets make a jot of difference):

    I've smashed plenty of helmets as a cyclist over the last 20 years, since the woman dragged her paraplegic son round my secondary school and convinced everyone that cycling was so dangerous you needed a lid or you'd be dead. All this has proved is that a: I'm a piss-poor cyclist and b: that helmets are made to a woefully-inadequate standard. FYI, that "standard" involves decellerating a 5KG mass moving at 20kph. Most cyclists I know weight a tad more than 5kg, and go a bit quicker than 20kph. Cycle helmets started out as motorbike helmets, and probably did work, but they sold poorly because of weight,heat & expense. So the industry made them lighter, cheaper, cooler with vents. Great - a consumer-friendly product. Pity all the protection benefit evaporated....

    The ONLY thing a helmet might do is save you a few scratches / stitches. If you KNEW you were going to come off and hit the road, logically you'd want one on. The same thing applies to knowing you were going to trip on the stairs or slip in the bath (more likely to hapen, BTW) - but you don't see anyone caling for pedestrian or shower helmets, do you? On a population basis it makes no sense for cyclists to wear helmets, because there is only a tiny, infintessimally small chance of being in a situation where you need one, and even then the chances it would actually make a difference are sweet f.a.

    This woman has done the entire nation a huge disservice, and should be heartily ashamed of her legacy. Nevermind her son fell off his bike while stationary outside the shops...

    The truth is that cycling IS NOT DANGEROUS. Apologies for shouting, but this is the first and last word on the matter - it is no more dangerous than walking and far, far safer than driving. Yet we see no suggestion of helmets for drivers or pedestrians. The average cyclist in the UK needs to ride for 3,000 years before being statistically likely to be involved in a serious accident. Perspective please.

    What we absolutely know is that 1/3 of the population stop cycling when helmets are made compulsory, and many more decrease their frequency and importantly, that of their kids because, y'know, you need a helment so it must be dangerous. Bollocks.

    When/if we move back from the UK, where we cycle all over the place helmetless, we will NOT wear helmets, and will happily face the legal system head-on. NZ's helmet law is held up around the world as a classic case of how to discourage cycling while not saving a single life.

    Grrr.....

    Hampshire, UK • Since Nov 2006 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Agreed!

    Let's remeber it was Dr Morgan "Fingers" Fahey Convicted sexual predator, struck off GP & disgraced Dupty Mayor of Christchurch who was the driving force behind this stupid line of thought.

    The economics of it was to save $ by not making safer transport routes for cyclists and put the cost of safety onto the rider.

    What a load of crap, but if your main aim was to keep power by reducing City spending on safe transport this was a winner.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Carroll,

    FYI The getacross crew have organised a show of support for the bike/pedestrian crossing on Sunday, for those interested:

    http://www.getacross.org.nz

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Somewhat related.

    In Dunedin we have a cycleway which is quite quickly working its way to Maia, which is about halfway to Port Chalmers. I'm not sure how they're going to get it the other half (probably a cycle lane on the road), but the bit they've done so far is great.

    Wide cycleway, no where near the road, about five metres at most from the harbour. When it's finished I can see a pile of people riding out to Port for lunch and a look around the interesting shops that are there.

    After watching 'A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash' tonight (quick summary: we're all fucked), and seeing how the cycleway is going, next month I'm going to go out and buy a bike, which I've been planning to do for a couple of years.

    If anyone has a tip of what to look for and where to go for a reasonably priced bike for a very tall person to commute once or twice a week, and go riding with the kids...

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Dykes,

    Kyle,

    I made the same decision last year and reckon the main things to consider are road bike vs mountain bike; brakes; gears and weight of the cycle. There's heaps of educational info online and there are cheap deals on Trademe or at auctions.

    If you want to commute you'll soon get sick of mountain bikes because they're too slow. On the other hand if you don't mind going only 25-30km/h and are more into it for recreational rides, a mb might be more versatile. Same with gears - I don't think you really need 16 as long as you have a couple suitable for uphill and a couple of fast ones reliable for downhill or the flat.

    I think brakes are important, esp in the wet, so I got a bike with disc brakes.

    The lighter the bike, the more expensive, but given this time around I am doing it for exercise as much as transport, I didn't see anything wrong with an older frame. When I started looking I couldn't believe what people pay for the high-end carbon cycles. Someone I used to work with spent $10,000 on his bike (it lived in his office once he got to work).

    In terms of height, the seats are adjustable but it may pay to talk to someone at a shop.

    I bought a falling-apart $10 bike from an auction and used that for about three months until I realised what I really needed. I got my current bike from a bike shop in a half-price sale. At least in this town you don't have to wait long for a sale. Can't go wrong really.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 76 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    If you are only going to ride on the road (and the road needs to be quite good without potholes, etc.) get a road bike. but if you are going to ride a bit off-road too (unsealed tracks, grass in the park, gravel, etc., or on pretty dodgy roads) get a light but strong cross-country (XC) bike.

    and i think bikes are overpriced in NZ. as Jason says, wait for the sales.

    Japan is much cheaper. probably has the largest cycle market in the OECD, which means economies of scale for manufacturers. there are 33 million people in greater Tokyo (incl. saitama/kanagawa/chiba) and probably 20 million bicycles. and my new one arrives tomorrow. after my good bike got ripped off last year. even in Japan there are international bike-stealing gangs with very large bolt cutters. arseholes.

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I got an old Specialized mountain bike off Trademe and have not regretted it.

    It has a very light frame for a mountain bike, and suitable gearing for Wellington hills (especially when combined with bike shoes and cleats). It does not have suspension (which soaks up your pedal power) or other frippery. Speed on the flat is not crucial in Welly, unless you have a long run around the water, which I don't. I have slick kevlar tires (off-road nobbles slow you down) and punctures are infrequent.

    My one remaining desire is cheap pannier bags for commuting. I'm keeping an eye out, but new ones are very expensive and they seem to be quite over-engineered.

    If you are very tall then getting a suitably sized frame is even more important than it is for us average people; getting the handlebars adjusted right as well as the seat is also important. This is where a local bike shop where staff know their stuff comes in, especially for a first bike.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Heres another cycling tip...

    If you do have a mountain-bike style bike, but dont use it off road..... replace those knobly tyres with smooth road-treads....

    It will reduce your pedaling effort by heaps.... You'll go faster and roll further with less effort.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 887 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Cheers for those tips. I'll head to a couple of bike shops and see when the sale signs come up.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Cheap steel rigid MTB + straight bar + slick tyres = economical, undestructible commuting usefulness. Just don't expect the results to be pretty.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

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