What a Load of Rubbish

Council Continues to Debate Rubbish

 

Okay remind me not to write satire or do stand up comedy, but in all seriousness (although that can be debated in its own right) Auckland Council is debating rubbish. More to the point the Council is debating today on how Auckland‘s rubbish is going to be dealt with from 2015.

You can check out what they are debating in today’s extraordinary Governing Body (The Council) meeting agenda, as well as looking at what the Herald and TVNZ just wrote on the scheme.

From the NZ Herald

Ratepayers want cheap, simple plan, says Brewer

A top official’s likening of Auckland’s draft waste reduction plan to a Ferrari has outraged an Auckland Council member who says ratepayers would prefer a modest V6 Holden.

Councillor Cameron Brewer questioned the need for replacing the household rubbish and recycling system with a system which councillors are to resume debating today.

On the first day of the debate, Mr Brewer asked why the plan’s goal of cutting domestic waste by 30 per cent by 2018 could not be achieved without a complete overhaul.

The question was taken by infrastructure and services manager John Dragicevich.

“We could fine-tune and get an extra 10km/h out of the Morris Minor but if we put a Ferrari motor in we would get an extra 100 km/h,” he said.

The council is considering a user-pays system for rubbish collections throughout the region in 2015. Wheelie bins would be standard for collecting rubbish and recyclables

Well someone sucks at PR and it isn’t Councillor Brewer – in short bad analogy from the bureaucrats yet again.

 

From TVNZ

Rubbish could become more costly for Aucklander

Aucklanders will find out today how much more they will pay for their rubbish and recycling collection under a new plan to reduce waste.

The council is looking to make the cost of rubbish disposal consistent across the super city, which means those who dump more rubbish pay more.

The idea to install a radio frequency identification tag to record the number of times the bin is lifted and emptied is outlined in the Waste Management and Minimisation Plan, which is the focus of an Auckland Council meeting at 10am today.

Look after having a think over a cup of tea and a scone (Devonshire Tea anyone?) I thought this way would be the most efficient and viable plan.

The Rubbish Idea

It is all about informed choice, so let people chose how they want their rubbish collected and disposed of.

Allow people to choose between either a 120 or 240 litre general rubbish bin that is picked up weekly (none of this fortnightly stuff as in summer with a bin full of that Christmas meat, here comes the health hazard) by the refuse collector. Whether bag or bin it is full user pays (so we get 100% cost recovery) that is determined either per bag or per lift. For the bag it is obviously pre-pay, for the bin the bill comes along attached with your rates bill (so renters also do not get stung per-se whether using a bag or bin).

 

Recycling should also be a choice along the following:

Opt for a 240 litre recycling bin that is picked up fortnightly as per usual.

  • No recycling bin and dump it all in general refuse. Well with user pays on general refuse you are going to be stung with the extra cost of bags or bin lifts so the disincentive or incentive (which either way you look at it is there)
  • No recycling from the kerbside but you decide to take your recycling to a recycling centre. Now Tauranga use to do this in which once a month we use to head to the recycling “depot” in Papamoa and drop off our glass, paper and metal into pre-arranged bins. Usually the private sector (so Cater Holt for paper, ACI for glass) would come along and empty the bins on a pre determined basis agreed with Council. In the 90’s schools had bins for dropping off your milk bottles to which the milk company (Fontera today) would come along and pick up the bottles for their recycling use – all the while the school gets a small fee (fundraising anyone) for their property being used as a depot. If you wonder would the private sector do such a thing with recycling today – I would say yes as there is money in scrap and crap. Heck if there is money to be made bagging and selling cow shit as garden food, then there is money in glass, paper, plastic (milk bottles make great petrol cans) and metal to be turned into something else. Now there is the issue of keeping the depot clean, but regular pick ups so the bins do not overflow would often be the best method. And besides we have bigger problems with general and commercial waste making  a mess than a recycling collection depot.

For your compost waste, no bins please to be collected. You have a choice: general waste and get slugged in the user pays or compost the stuff like I am going to start back up again at home. Your garden and worms (and subsequently birds and cats) will love you to bits if you begun composting. Also schools and other voluntary organisations run composting workshops to get the best out of your composting. So do not slug Auckland with a bin for compost, allow us to choose as the choices are very clear-cut.

 

How to “take care” of the trash

Strangely enough how to deal with waste that makes it to the landfills is very easy and the First World have mastered it quite well. Its called incineration folks and we already have a mothballed power plant ready to rock and roll. Yep you heard me right; what does not get recycled, composted or used as fill can be burnt with the ashes used as bricks or other materials as pointed out in the accompanying Wiki article. The wiki article along with its references, burning the rubbish – waste to energy seems to have quite few spin offs including being better for the environment gas emission wise:

Carbon dioxide emissions

In thermal WtE technologies, nearly all of the carbon content in the waste is emitted as carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere (when including final combustion of the products from pyrolysis and gasification; except when producing bio-char for fertilizer). Municipal solid waste (MSW) contain approximately the same mass fraction of carbon as CO2 itself (27%), so treatment of 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) of MSW produce approximately 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) of CO2.

In the event that the waste was landfilled, 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) of MSW would produce approximately 62 cubic metres (2,200 cu ft) methane via the anaerobic decomposition of the biodegradable part of the waste. This amount of methane has more than twice the global warming potential than the 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) of CO2, which would have been produced by combustion. In some countries, large amounts of landfill gas are collected, but still the global warming potential of the landfill gas emitted to atmosphere in e.g. the US in 1999 was approximately 32 % higher than the amount of CO2 that would have been emitted by combustion.[15]

In addition, nearly all biodegradable waste is biomass. That is, it has biological origin. This material has been formed by plants using atmospheric CO2 typically within the last growing season. If these plants are regrown the CO2 emitted from their combustion will be taken out from the atmosphere once more.

Such considerations are the main reason why several countries administrate WtE of the biomass part of waste as renewable energy.[16] The rest—mainly plastics and other oil and gas derived products—is generally treated as non-renewables.

Go figure

Location for such a plant

Meremere which was designed to become a Waste to Energy Plant until the Greens stopped it (idiots) would be a good site with road, transport and power grid links all within easy reach. Basically trash goes by road or rail to Meremere, burnt, and the juice sent via the National Grid straight back up to Auckland. Simple

Southdown/Penrose has a gas fired co-generation power station (so produces power and steam for industrial use) already there connected to the National Grid and disused meat works site next door that needs major urban redevelopment. Like Meremere, Southdown sites with extremely easy reach of road, rail and power grid links but with the added bonus of having industry near by that would use the waste heat for their usage (ACI Glass being one example and only just down the road). The extra spin-off with Southdown is it is right in the middle of Auckland so no need for excessive waste transportation for incineration.

If you are concerned about the emissions from a waste to energy plant, then go read the wiki article and more to the point its references attached. It seems the developed world can handle it so we should be able to as well, because we are First or Third World folks?

Landfills = third world

Recycling, Composting and Waste to Energy = First World.

Zero Waste = near impossible as even Earth and the Sun produces some rather nasty waste from time to time (although the Universe has a knack at recycling too)

 

So Auckland Council, lets keep it simple please.

Oh one last thing, if we are going full user pays with the trash then you should remove the trash component from our general rates bill. I am not in the mood for paying twice for the same service…

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Rail Fallacy Catches the Dutch

High-speed rail: A £250m lesson for Britain’s rail enthusiasts – Telegraph.

 

Part of The City Rail Link Series

Debate on the City Rail Link continues with figures and all sorts coming out from both sides coin.

VOAKL will cut right down the middle and continue commentary on The UK and The Netherlands, The Rail Fallacy and how Auckland can learn from those two advance powers’ costly mistake!

It is time for a discussion and VOAKL will provide one – for everyone with a VIEW

 

For a people and country renowned for political and economical nous, I am surprised I am running a Rail Fallacy post on the Dutch. But a Rail Fallacy is a Rail Fallacy and the light must be shed on it so we Aucklander‘s can avoid the same mistake as the astute Dutch did when coming to building piece of rail infrastructure. 

I have already mentioned the Dutch briefly in my previous Rail Fallacy post on the Poms, however I am going to further point what happened over in The Netherlands can very well happen here.

 

Lets take a brief recap or look at what happened over in The Netherlands:

From The Telegraph

High-speed rail: A £250m lesson for Britain’s rail enthusiasts

As the Government prepares to give the go-ahead to its hugely controversial London-Birmingham high-speed rail project, its closest equivalent in Europe has had to be saved from bankruptcy with a £250 million government bailout.

The new “Fyra” high-speed service in the Netherlands — opened just two years ago — is close to financial collapse with passengers shunning its premium fares and trains running up to 85 per cent empty.

The line, between Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Breda, cost taxpayers more than £7 billion to build but is losing £320,000 a day amid disastrous levels of patronage.

A Dutch passenger pressure group, Voor Beter OV (For Better Public Transport), is now taking the national rail operator to the Netherlands’ competition tribunal after it slowed down services on the regular network in an apparent attempt to drive passengers on to the high-speed line.

“The high-speed line has been a very, very bad result for taxpayers and passengers,” said Rikus Spithorst, VBOV’s spokesman.

“The taxpayer paid for it and the idea was that the money would come back from the train company. But that isn’t going to happen.”

 

Okay now I do not think anyone is going to be doing a bail out of the City Rail Link – mainly because even with a Public Private Partnership, the majority is still carried by the public purse (rate and taxpayer). Also with the CRL opening latent capacity within the Auckland rail network, patronage would continue trending up – not down. However there is two points from The Telegraph article that need to be pointed out:

  • First the idea of shunning an existing system and building a new one
  • Second being under-cooking the costs and over selling the benefits

 

Shunning an existing system and building a new one

From The Telegraph

However, many other routes — including most commuter lines — are over capacity now and campaigners say scarce money should be spent on relieving problems that already exist. HS2 will, in any case, create its own capacity problems north of Birmingham, where its trains will have to use the existing lines.

Government sources also cite a new Network Rail review which will reportedly dismiss alternatives to HS2, such as upgrading the existing line. The report does not yet appear to have been published, but research for the Transport Select Committee found that previous comparisons between a line upgrade and HS2 had been skewed to favour the new scheme.

 

The Poms and the Dutch both decided rather than upgrade their existing systems (which was perfectly viable and actually provided a higher Benefit:Cost Ratio (BCR) than these new high-speed lines) to keep pace with demand, they decided to literally shun the working existing system and build a totally new one instead. Well wasn’t that a fool hardy move that cost the Dutch 250 million Pounds (around NZ$450m) (in a bailout) and will cost the Brits a few shiny pennies in the billion Pounds range on new systems that have a lower BCR than our Holiday Highway (interesting Wikipedia and Google knew what I meant when typing that in 😛 ) proposal that is floating around.

And now you wonder why if looking at the brief introduction and subsequent quote above, the Dutch are royally pissed when they got shunned from their existing system to the new bankrupt system. The same will also happen over in England once HS2 is opened.

Look there was a saying: “if it is not broken, why replace it.” The existing conventional heavy rail systems in Britain and The Netherlands were not broken, yes overcrowded but not broken (Auckland’s rail system in 2003 was broken…). All it needs is the same amount of money that would have been dumped into these high-speed lines to upgrade the systems and the results would have been a lot better than what they got stuck with now.

Shunning the regular customer for the perceived premium customer as the Dutch did is one way of pissing off the main-stream voters in a hurry. Ouch when elections roll around and clean sweeps happen…

So The Rail Fallacy is applied with monetary and time costs as predicted, but also the social factor from the shunning of the existing system is playing into effect here as well. Not very good confidence builders when the State embarks on further non road infrastructure building…

 

So how does this apply to Auckland and the CRL?

Primarily it does not as we are not shunning our conventional heavy rail for something else like this Driverless Rapid Transit Rail being proposed else where. But it does serve a warning if Auckland Council decides to have a moment and shun our conventional system for this Driverless stuff. I might follow-up on that in another post, but let the Dutch experience serve as a warning.

Of warnings, the second point is extremely relevant to the CRL

 

Under-cooking the costs and over selling the benefits

I already gave a warning in the last fallacy post in regards to the Pom’s and HS2 on under cooking the costs, and over selling the benefits. I am going to further reinforce that point from the Dutch article as a massive warning to Auckland Council. I just hope Council does not have any skeletons in their closest in regards to the CRL Business Cases (original or new).

From the same The Telegraph article:

A claim on the website of the Campaign for High-Speed Rail, the main lobbyists for the project, that HS2 will “create a million jobs” is described as “outlandish,” “patent nonsense” and a “lie” by transport experts. The claim. or variants on it, was repeated last Friday in a series of letters by economists, business leaders and trade unions which received widespread media coverage.

The million-job claim is based on a report last year by the Volterra economic consultancy for the “Core Cities” group of the largest English provincial cities. However, the report, in fact, admits that there is “relatively little information available that specifically quantifies the economic benefits that can be generated through high-speed networks.” Close examination of the report shows that almost 250,000 of the million jobs supposedly “created” by HS2 will be in and around Bristol and Newcastle, cities more than a hundred miles from the proposed high-speed line.

At a seminar last January, attended by the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, the Core Cities group described the million-job figure as an “upper best case scenario” dependent on “global economic trends,” “improved export performance,” a “rebound in consumer spending,” “more modest public expenditure cuts” and “improved business investment.” No mention was made of HS2 in the published summary of the event.

The Volterra report says that HS2 would merely “underpin,” not create, any new jobs, since “investment in transport infrastructure” would be needed to move all the extra commuters. However, HS2 will be a long-distance, not a commuter service. The report claims commuters would still benefit because HS2 would release space on existing lines.

The report claims that there is a “very high correlation” between rising numbers of rail passengers travelling to a city and employment growth in that city. However, Birmingham, which has seen a 60 per cent rise in rail passengers over the last ten years, has seen only a 0.2% growth in employment.

Experience from the only British town to have been given a fully high-speed service to date suggests that claims about the economic benefits of high-speed rail are false. Ashford, Kent, has had a half-hourly high-speed service to London, using the new tracks built for the Eurostar, for more than two years. The journey time has fallen by almost half, from more than an hour to 37 minutes.

The local council has claimed that the new service has proved an “economic boon” for Ashford. In fact, the town’s unemployment rate since the line opened has fallen more slowly than the South-East England and British averages, and more slowly than in many other parts of Kent which are not on the high-speed line.

Data from France and other countries with developed high-speed networks suggests that they suck economic activity into the capital more than they push it out into regional centres.

Even many of HS2’s strongest supporters say that the jobs created will be only a tiny fraction of the million claimed. Centro, the transport authority for the West Midlands, the region supposedly benefiting the most from the project, says that HS2 will create just 10,000 jobs in its area. A further 12,000 jobs could be created if it is accompanied by a wider package of regional transport improvements, Centro says.

Greengauge 21, another HS2 lobbying group, estimates that the scheme will create no more than 42,000 jobs nationally. Many more neutral experts doubt even these figures. “The evidence that HS2 will have a positive impact on rebalancing the national economy, to use the current jargon, is not really there,” said Professor John Tomaney, of Newcastle University.

 

Talk about under cooking the costs and over selling the benefits over in England. Let the above from The Telegraph as well as my other Rail Fallacy posts serve as a stark warning to Auckland Council as the wheels on the CRL train continue forward. I need not remind Councillors the ramifications if what happened in England with HS2 were to happen here. The confidence in the CRL (which is needed by the way (am a CRL supporter) would virtually collapse as well as any other non road infrastructure mega projects. A collapse in confidence means the CRL pushed back 20 years on the minimum to the point of virtually defeated worse case. Why am I pointing out worse case then, because Auckland is not immune to what happened up North. So by serving a big fat warning now as well as keeping the gaze on Council and its bureaucrats, they will get the new business case and the CRL built right first time rather than repeat the Rail Fallacy through and through. Remember closer to home the Manukau Line suffered from the Rail Fallacy and that was a small project, we do not need the same fate on a mega project like the CRL.

So let’s get it right with the CRL first and only time folks. Allow the harsh lessons from the Pom’s and the Dutch be a lesson and warning to here at home when undertaking this mega project. To do otherwise is something I rather not think about…

In Brief

Brief Commentary on News and Views around Auckland

 

Alcohol and The CBD

The mayor has begun a Mayoral Task Force and seen for himself what goes on in our CBD on a late Saturday night. Needless to say once the last train leaves Britomart at around 1:30am it does not get pretty in the city centre if what the mayor saw was anything to go by. Check Len Brown’s night with drunken revellers and Mayor plans a second trip to booze alley to see what he experienced and figure out why I would avoid the CBD after midnight if I was there for entertainment reasons…

To combat this ugly image in the city our resident Prude (The Mayor) has established a Mayoral Task Force to stem and mitigate the problem. In short the Task Force’s action plan is:

  • voluntary one-way door policies and investigating a broader night bus service, with better alignment between hospitality trading hours and public transport;
  • increased community-based patrols, including Maori, Pacific and Asian wardens;
  • improved car park lighting and establishing parking limits targeting five ‘pre-loading’ hot spots;
  • instant fines for breaching liquor bans;
  • improved on-street management of queues;
  • active enforcement to eliminate the sale of single drinks from off-licence outlets;
  • increased visibility of security officers;
  • Auckland Council’s liquor licensing rapid response teams working more closely with NZ Police.

I was thought making being drunk (that is defined by having an alcohol blood count of 1.2x over the current set alcohol driving limit (applied to all from 18 up in this case)) illegal would be the easier step. Leave those alone who can “handle” their alcohol without making an ass of themselves and go target those who can not handle it. The penalties being straight forward using an array of instant fines, personalised demerit points (so if you get 100 in a year, here comes some jail time, a conviction and oh lets say 1000 hours of good old-fashioned labour in the community (I am sure there is vomit to clean from bus stops, gum to be picked, trash to be collected, toilets to be cleaned, highways to be beautified)) to remind people who their choices have consequences either way. Also with a conviction, being restricted on international travel and employment might cause you to wonder was that last drink worth it.

Ah well let’s see how this goes (not very far with the task force it would seem 6 months down the track)

 

Oh that Waterfront Stadium

A piece came out in the Herald over the weekend: Steve Deane: What stadium changes? Nothing, so we’ll have to make do

Five bucks say we will still be having the debate at the end of the year and a case of cold ones (beer) will be saying that I am still stuck with the same situation in 25-years time. It just shows how slow Auckland and wider NZ is when it comes to something a little bit bold let alone evolutionary to what we have.

Just of interest I have found a spot (well two) for placing a “New Zealand” stadium to replace the aging Eden Park (and in part Mt Smart Stadium), it is where former Minister of Sport Trevor Mallard (shit me backing an idiot for a Labour MP is a shock but in this case he had it right back then) suggested: The Auckland Waterfront. Check the graphics below on two possible locations for a 70,000 seat National Stadium; it would tie in very nicely with my (in development) Auckland Water-Frontier scheme (and for those astute Queensland sport fans I did use the Suncorp Stadium as the model).

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So we go to be stuck in the past like dinosaurs or we going to try something a bit more out there….

No.8 wire anyone?

 

From 3-News: Auckland mayor reveals electric train mock-up

 

The mock up Auckland Electric Multiple Unit (EMU or simply The Electrics) is here in Auckland and the mayor got to have a nosy today.

Mayor Len Brown this morning revealed the look of Auckland’s upcoming electric train service.

The Spanish-made prototype has just arrived in the city, and will allow drivers and other interested parties to try out the new trains and offer feedback before the rest go into production.

“This is another milestone as we create a 21st century rail network for Auckland,” says Mr Brown.

“Without electric trains, the network cannot reach its potential. Without electric trains, vital projects like the city rail link are not possible. Without electric trains, we will not be able to cope with the extra demand we are already seeing.

Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Auckland-mayor-reveals-electric-train-mock-up/tabid/423/articleID/258127/Default.aspx#ixzz1y7uDlxLa

 

One year until the first actual EMU arrives to run around the Auckland rail network, with a wait until 2016 before the entire fleet (supposedly (Pukekohe going to be electrified by then?) is electric rather than diesel. Although just caught this:

Each train will be able to carry 375 passengers, with a top speed of 110km/h. The journey from Britomart to Papakura, for example, will be 10 minutes quicker than presently.

Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Auckland-mayor-reveals-electric-train-mock-up/tabid/423/articleID/258127/Default.aspx#ixzz1y7usu0T2

 

Errrr ok might need some more work on the tracks as you can not quite do that speed on most sections of the rail network within Auckland 😛

As for carrying capacity of 375 – is that safe loading or “maximum” loading of the 3-car EMU? a doubled up EMU (so EMU-6 car) would therefore hold 750 passengers which is a bit more than the current 6 car sets running around. Otherwise err might be a small issue there with carrying the volume of people around. Time for some enquiries.

 

And that is some of the news and views in brief – for your nightly or early commuting read. Got to fill in the time some how.

In Brief

Brief Commentary on News and Views around Auckland

 

Feedback on Various Auckland Projects

Over the last week I have been busy with filling out those feedback forms and about to ask various bureaucracies with Auckland Council and its CCO’s for consultation packs on various projects around Auckland.

The first piece was the online feedback to the next round of Wynyard Quarter improvements – Dadly and Halsey Streets. The plans for the improvements can be found at the Auckland Waterfront CCO site, to which I gave my approval to these series of upgrades. My approval is in-line with the Wynyard Quarter urban design project I did at the University of Auckland(as a student) in 2010. My work can be found HERE and has been used as the basis for submissions, hearings and other work subsequently built on from the original work.

While I might not approve all aspect of the Wynyard Quarter redevelopment set out by the CCO – Auckland Waterfront, I am overall happy and impressed by the general work happening at Wynyard Quarter. Just hope Auckland Council does not forget what I told them at the City Centre Master Plan hearing – in that some density is required there for the Quarter to self sustain itself. I don’t exactly want a prime area of Auckland to be a ghost town outside the 9-5 weekday activities…

Another piece of feedback I did was on Auckland Transport’s City Centre Parking Zone proposal, to which I also did a post on just recently. In my post (and online feedback) I spelled the reason why I opposed AT’s proposal, and gave a fully viable alternative to AT’s proposal. But in short without the alternative using parking buildings combined with existing and new public transport operations, all AT are doing is excessively penalising car users with charges worse than London(exchange rate taken into account.). Being a liberal I do believe in choice, and that if authorities are to provide a disincentive against one form of transport use, then a fully viable alternative MUST be made available. Fair is fair.

From the rag’s

Flicking through various local and national rags (newspapers) a few articles came across that caught my attention.

The first was from the Manukau Courier on parking and access woes in Middlemore Crescent near the busy Middlemore Hospital. In the article:

Manukau Courier – Gridlock creates nightmare for residents

Angry residents are fed up with parked cars clogging their street despite parking wardens issuing 245 tickets in three months.

Middlemore Cres resident Eileen Nesbit, 84, labels the all-day kerbside chaos “beyond a joke” and says cars are forced to pull into driveways to let oncoming traffic pass.

“There’s been that many near-accidents on this street, it’s ridiculous. There’s a bus and a rubbish truck that have a hang of a time negotiating the bend.”

The street is just 800 metres from Middlemore train station and is an attractive parking option for commuters, hospital staff and tradesmen.

Neighbour Marie Burman says her driveway was blocked when an oncoming car pulled into it to let her pass.

“And of course he had nowhere to go,” Ms Burman says.

The solution should be straight forward in putting yellow lines down one side of the affected road, place 180min parking restrictions on the other side of the road (with exception to residents who hold a permit if they require one thus can park unlimited amount of time) at is active at ALL TIMES, of which those restrictions would be enforced by making the area a tow away zone for breaches of the restrictions. Of course consultations would be held with the residents to make sure they and visitors they host would not be unduly affected by placing in such restrictions. If they were then modifications would be made accordingly.

But at the end of the day, the 180min restrictions would be those for those basically visiting Middlemore Hospital short term. Staff can stop freeloading and go park in the ample facilities provided for them, which I hear costs at the cheapest $7.70 a week. While people using Middlemore Crescent as a Park and Ride facility to go catch the train from the nearby Middlemore Station can go park at the Park and Ride at Papatoetoe as the train fares and services are the same from either Papatoetoe or Middlemore.

So lets give our local residents a fair go, they are their first and should be treated with respect along their roadway accordingly.

As for Mill Road

Again from the Manukau Courier

Mill Road in limbo

The looming transformation of Mill Rd into a major arterial route has left some residents unsure about the future of their properties.

Widening Redoubt Rd and Mill Rd from Manukau through to Papakura will provide drivers with a southeastern alternative to the southern motorway.

But the project is in the early design stage and residents along the route in Manurewa and Papakura still aren’t sure where they stand.

The plan already dates back several years to the former Manukau and Papakura councils and is now being developed by council organisation Auckland Transport.

Manurewa Local Board chairman Daniel Newman says the time being taken to develop the project is “leaving people in limbo”.

Will be interesting to see this development as it goes through the processes. However Auckland Transport needs to reassure the residents in the Mill Road area soon as the project work there is going to be quite substantive. Mill Road in both the Auckland Plan and my submission to the Auckland Plan forms that second corridor as mentioned the article. The corridor is required due to large-scale Greenfield urban development due to take place between Mill Road and the existing urban areas of Takanini and Papakura East over and through to 2040; whether be as per the original Auckland Plan, or my alternative via my submission to the Auckland Plan as well as The Port of Auckland Relocation Project I am also working on.

So again will be watching the Mill Road project (and subsequent development) carefully, as this is literally in my back yard.

And from the NZ Herald in regards to Auckland’s three “public” large stadiums (Eden Park, Mt Smart and North Harbour) we see common sense AND vision seem to be lacking from bureaucrats AGAIN.

Eden Park plan triggers bailout fears

Shared-ownership model for parks stirs misgivings as ratepayers prepare to cope with big rates increases.

Cash-strapped Eden Park, weighed down by a debt of $55 million, could become the financial responsibility of Auckland Council just as many ratepayers face big rates increases.

The council is looking at a “shared ownership and management model” of the city’s three main stadiums, which councillor Cathy Casey and the Eden Park Neighbours’ Association believe will lead to ratepayers bailing out Eden Park. Under a discussion paper released yesterday on the future of Eden Park, Mt Smart Stadium and North Harbour Stadium, it is Eden Park that gets the top billing with all the big rugby, league, limited-overs cricket and soccer matches.

Down the pecking order is the council-owned Mt Smart Stadium, which has a $15.6 million budget over the next 10 years to entice the Warriors to stick around. The budget must also stretch to high-performance training facilities, a new athletics track and making it more attractive to host big events such as Pasifika and Christmas in the Park.

I might do an extensive post on this at a later date but to me the solution is simple. Close Mt Smart, build a new stadium on the Waterfront (I might have two locations in my Auckland Water-Fronter Project where the stadium could be placed), upgrade North Harbour to triple its capacity and in 30 years close Mt Eden. But vested interest will get in the way as always – often to the detriment of themselves, their interest, AND to the wider city. In any case might keep an eye on the stadium development as it simmers away.

As for ‘Councilising’ the stadiums, I rather not please; got enough on my ratepayers plate without more dead-weights’ being added to it.

That is some of the news and views in brief – for your weekend reading, on weekends that are always too brief.

Oh Really with Manukau

Numbers on track to grow | Stuff.co.nz.

 

Okay this escaped my notice but the Twitter Round Up pointed me to it. So lets take a quick look at this shall we?

From The Manukau Courier via Stuff website

Criticism of the new Manukau train station is being rejected by its passengers and Auckland Transport.

Some councillors have hit out at that lack of people using peak services at the $81 million station and its site, which stops just short of main shopping areas.

But regular passenger Adriana Pieterse says the claims are “picky”.

“I think it’s absolutely brilliant. The trains are on time and reliable.

“It’s central, right where everything is.”

Ms Pieterse says she uses the trains, which run along the eastern line through Glen Innes, to get to Britomart in the city and back to Manukau.

Right the article fails to do the basic research to establish the context of this traveller’s travel pattern. It should have been stated where this traveller works (just suburb will do fine), where the person lives (suburb also fine), and if they catch the train from Manukau to Britomart to head to work, how do they get to Manukau with no park and ride or main residential areas within 800 metres of the station. So sorry we can dismiss this traveller’s input due to lack of context from the reporter who should have known better.

 

She also uses them to connect with the Papakura station on the southern line.

Um again the reporter fails to put into context the situation on how a traveller gets from Manukau to Papakura by train which includes a transfer at Papakura and a decent wait for that Southern Line train. The missing Southern Link was also not mentioned, so here it is in this post I wrote up about it.

 

Two other passengers spoken to by the Manukau Courier didn’t want to be named but both say the station is conveniently situated for a course they’re doing in central Manukau.

Five bucks said their courses are at the buildings closest to the station rather than Westfield Manukau Mall so of course you would use the station.

 

But as I have said in other posts, the station is 435 metres short of its optimum position in offering best accessibility to Manukau City Centre. I have a picture attached below showing a 800 metre radius commonly used to mark the maximum extend someone will walk to and from a transit stop. Now as you can see the Mall, Courts, Cop Shop, and Pak n Save are all within the 800 metre mark. But hang on here come some obstacles that put a dent in that idea. To get to the courts and cop shop is straight forward as they are basically opposite the station. To get to Manukau Mall is alright but having to skitter across the car park, cross a soon to be busy road come bus thoroughfare, and a busy access-way next to the Civic Building (old Manukau City Council building) with possibly shopping, the kids and the pram in tow is not going to be an easy task. Nor pleasant if the weather bombs and pours with the site and path to the Mall exposed to the bitter South Westerly winds. For Rainbow’s end, repeat the Manukau Mall trek but try to cross the 4-lane Manukau Station Road which is not the quiets of roads, in fact it is State Highway 20 and has industrial traffic rumbling down it. Yes there is controlled crossings but that piece of road is truly auto-centric – not one for the humble pedestrian. As for getting to Pak n Save which is within the 800m circle – forget it. The route is around 1.3km each way through a series of dog legs, across at least two busy roads that are not pedestrian friendly, across the entrance of countless box retail and office buildings (so drive ways and lots of them), and up through an access way that has no foot path to Pak n Save at all. Oh and try bring your weekly shopping back down that route to the station – in the wet.

So I think on that assumption, one could understand my cynicism of the location of Manukau Station and where it should of been actually put.

 

As I have also said, the numbers would have been much higher already if the South-to-Papakura Link was also built and complete. That link (linking Papakura to Manukau) would form around 50% of the peak patronage into and out of Manukau and pushing 85% (until the Campus was built but that is irrelevant as the station is still in the wrong spot – period) for the off-peak and weekend patronage as people from the south come into Manukau to do their: shopping, socialising, movies, work/study, and Rainbows End trips. And it would have been the off-peak and weekend patronage that would have sustained the Manukau Station, just like the Sylvia Park Station does. What I am getting at it is; if that link was open today, I bet the numbers would be 3-5x higher using Manukau than current. One other thing, the way Manukau Station is built, is there any chance of extending the line to Botany for the future Botany Line or has that chance also been scotched. Some answers please Auckland Council and Transport.

Thus my commentary and criticisms of the station and the former Manukau City Council for its shoddy penny-pinching and planning still stand. I recommend Stuff go do some background research into the context and interviewer’s subjects first before putting half attempts on spinning positive effects of the station that are simply not there… The Rail Fallacy for Manukau Station continues to apply!

800 metre radius from Manukau Station

Cycling and the USA

New Geography on HOW TO BUILD A CULTURE OF BIKE SAFETY

 

America, Land of [insert what ever here]. America and bikes – just as likely combo as Americans and them having anything smaller than a Chevy. However is it? Is America seriously looking at building a safe cycling culture to help wean itself from the car? Could NZ and its piss poor cycle culture learn something from our auto centric American cousins? Lets take a look at the New Geography article shall we:

HOW TO BUILD A CULTURE OF BIKE SAFETY by Erin Chantry

As I’ve settled into life in Florida, I’ve found myself for the first time using a bicycle as a form of transportation instead of as a form of leisure activity. And, as an urban designer involved in a team that designs bicycle and pedestrian master plans, I’ve become increasingly aware of the factors that make urban bike use a feasible — or not so feasible — choice.

The Risk & Fear Factors: While I might actually be safe riding my bike down a neighborhood collector road on a dedicated bike lane, when I’m alongside two 10-foot lanes of traffic I do not feel safe. Therefore, I don’t ride there. It’s a question of perceived risk vs actual risk. As it turns out, I am not unique. Linda Baker in Scientific American has suggested that, when cycling, women are more adverse to risk than men.

I think the cyclists who brave either the Great South Road or Tamaki Drive could give enough stories there on Risk and Fear Factors of cycling down those two car heavy roads. Tamaki Drive, cyclists and cars have a more infamous relationship with several deaths on that stretch of road over the last few years (and many more injuries on top of that). So the actual risk down Tamaki Drive is real, while the risk down the GSR (and I use to cycle down it as a kid) could be more perceived. Either way what does Auckland let alone NZ do to mitigate and lessen both risks to our cyclists and other road users. Put it this way in Auckland, car and heavy vehicle is still king of the asphalt and anything else will literally get RUN OVER if they stand in the way. NZ in my belief needs an attitude change (and this extends to cyclists as well as we have piss poor cyclists just like we have piss poor drivers) if we are to build our own safe cycling culture, and encourage it as a viable alternative means of transport.

 

The Gender Gap: Baker has also suggested that cycling to work impedes a woman’s ability to conform to social norms, including makeup, dress, and hairstyles. That issue would be a big bite to chew, so I’ll put aside addressing it here. But consider: While cycling has become a big grass-roots movement through organizations like Pro Walk/ Pro Bike and The National Center for Bicycling and Walking, there is an enormous gender gap among users. Planner Jan Garrard states, “If you want to know if an urban environment supports cycling, you can forget about all the detailed ‘bikeability indexes’—just measure the proportion of cyclists who are female.” I personally can’t remember the last time or if I’ve ever seen a woman on a bicycle on the Tampa streets.

Nearly all the new riders on US roads in the last 20 years have been men between the ages of 25 and 64. Taking into account the national demographics, this means that we are currently designing bike-friendly streets for a relatively small constituency.

Not so sure here, would honestly need to do a Census on which sex uses the bike more. I have seen both sexes riding bikes (or even taking bikes on trains) in roughly equal numbers in Auckland. Although (and I could be completely wrong here so correct me if so) the ones I usually see advocating for the bicycle especially in Auckland is the female. I probably have that perception from my time in Planning at the University of Auckland when during our Urban Design classes, it was our female students more “aware” of the bike while the males to be honest just could not give a flying monkeys toss. And yes I was one of those back then who could not have given a toss either way in my urban design projects when it came to the bicycle. Probably as the bike never entered my mind when redesigning Wynyard Quarter or Tamaki – or upon looking at Wynyard Quarter it seems I did give a toss about the bike. I just had a look at my first urban design project – Wynyard Quarter and it seems I that I did give a toss about the bike and included quite a few “routes” within The Quarter for bikes. Whether being “Shared Zones” with cars, pedestrians, and bikes; or Non Motor Vehicle Routes (so just the bike and the walker), cyclists got a fair crack at using Wynyard Quarter with set infrastructure pieces designed for them. However as the next comment will show, it is not all about the infrastructure.

 

The Infrastructure Factor: Substantially lowering the risk of cycling can be best accomplished through a change in infrastructure. Cycle tracks, like the one in New York City, are becoming more popular. Because of the complete physical separation from the threat of cars, all users perceive — and experience — a lower threat to their safety. The problem, besides the constant challenge of funding, is finding the right-of-way to accommodate bikes, especially in a car-centric culture like Florida. There has to be evidence of a high enough level of ridership to justify cutting out a lane from a congested street. It’s a chicken and the egg conundrum: there is not the required ridership now because a majority of 50% of the population doesn’t feel safe.

A good compromise might be to allow room for a physical separation between a one-way bike lane and car traffic. Creative use of medians and plantings, as in Denver, is one example of this. Simply placing parallel parking between car traffic and the bike lane is another.

Now Auckland faces that problem as well on all levels. I would love to see more grade separated cycle ways like the one in the New Geography article photo showing a Vancouver cycleway in the middle of town. And with Auckland feeling unsafe (remember Tamaki Drive and its spate of deaths and accidents) causing low bike numbers, then how can we justify spending the cash on cycle ways. Actually the answer is right there; the Tamaki Drive situation gives reason to build these cycle ways. Spend the money to save lives from existing users, and new users will follow because the perceived and actual risk is thus removed. More cyclists cycling to work means fewer cars on roads, or less on a train or bus which means someone else can use that mode (the flow on multiplier). In essence along the infrastructure front, Auckland has a lot of work to do – on all sides. However when working on cycle infrastructure, lets start with the simple stuff first (and that means more than two white lines and a cycle symbol on the road) as mention in the New Geography article, then move on to the big stuff such as grade separated cycle ways.

 

The Get-More-Riders Factor: Building a bike culture is more than just infrastructure, but building appropriate spaces is an integral piece. As Billy Hattaway, a Florida DOT official pointed out to me, if we don’t create bike lanes that cater to a larger part of the population we might lose the justification to have bike lanes at all.

At the Congress for the New Urbanism annual conference, Wesley Marshall showed evidence proving that the more cyclists there are, the more safe it is to bike. There is a belief by some transportation planning engineers that more cyclists and users in the road make it unsafe, but “safety in numbers” is true. It’s partly because drivers are more aware of cyclists when they see them more often; they’re on the lookout for them.

 

Provide the infrastructure and that factor would be true in Auckland. However as I mentioned earlier our piss poor bike culture (both with the motor vehicle and the cyclist) needs one heck of an improvement first. Cars and trucks need to give room to bikes, bikes need to learn to ride double file, move over and when a red light is up at a traffic light, you stop and not bugger through it. And if you think safety in numbers for cyclists was true, guess again for NZ. More means just a bigger bloody target for the car or truck to go and hit rather than forming a safety factor. So either way whether riding on your own or in a group, cycling in NZ is dangerous full stop.

 

The Land Use Factor: People will only choose cycling as a mode of transportation if it is convenient and efficient. Ridership in parts of the city without mixed-uses and with low density will be low compared with more urban areas with many commercial/residential/institutional uses nearby and close together. Riding to a local grocery store to get a gallon of milk is realistic. Riding to a Wal-Mart for your weekly shopping is not. But Marshall’s research showed that the biggest aspect of achieving bike safety is intersection density. The more intersections there were in a development, the safer it was for riders. At first thought this seems to go against common sense, because intersections are the sites of many crashes, but more connectivity = slower speeds = more awareness. Connectivity also allows for more mixed-uses and higher densities. Many cities put their resources into developing recreational cycling trails. While this is admirable, as a “wanna-be” cyclist, I’m a proponent of putting those funds into street design, instead. Putting the infrastructure on routes where people go in their everyday lives will lead to the biggest increase in ridership

Yep that be true – and probably why are cycling rates in Auckland can be piss poor outside the safety and infrastructure questions. Our land use is not that great in Auckland, our planning is even worse with that aspect still stuck in 1960. Mixed use works, current methods seen especially in newer parts of Auckland do not. Now that does NOT mean I advocate for the Smart Growth Compact City Model; I still advocate what I have always advocated per my submission to the Auckland Plan. What it means that we need to be a bit more creative with our urban land allocation/development/utilisation which includes The Sprawl that would foster cycling usage. It would mean lots of corner stores, micro town centres, and transit routes where cyclists can board something like a train and continue their commute long distance. So again, Auckland still has a way to go in that department – and not just for the bicycle reason either 😛 .

 

A lot of factors need to come together to increase ridership and bridge the gender gap in cycling. I’m someone who would love to ditch my car in favor of my bike on my daily commute, but risk aversion holds me back. Providing a lane along the side of the road is not enough: we must examine the evidence and psychology behind riding in order to make it a real choice for the majority of the population. Otherwise, we will find ourselves losing the justification to provide cycling options at all

Sums up my conclusion nicely. Time to go pay a Master of Planning Practice or Planning PhD student at the University of Auckland a research stipend to go and “we must examine the evidence and psychology behind riding in order to make it a real choice for the majority of the population.”

 

And finally, my Wynyard Quarter Urban Design work. As I said earlier, it seems I did give a monkey’s for the cyclist after all (now did I do the same in Tamaki and The Auckland Water-Frontier)