The Wrong Side of my Car

The blog that wants to go obsolete

26 May 2022

Coming of age in our Car society

Societies have a wide variety of rituals to celebrate someone’s coming to age.

Some Christian denominations have a Confirmation, or Plechtige Communie as it is called were I grew up, and until that happens you are not a full member of the Church, but still in some half baked innocent state.

Many cultures don’t just tell you that you’ve come of age, but they make you prove it. Endure the stings of your local breed of nasty ants without crying out in pain. Or survive a day in the wilderness without your parents. We’ve all heard of those stories. Closer to home, student clubs may ‘baptise’ people if they wish to become members.

With this coming of age comes some recognition and sometimes privileges to celebrate that you’re now a fully initiated member of something.

And here, in the Western nations, and in particular in English speaking nations, we have a coming-of-age ritual that befits our industrial technological prowess:

It is passing your driving test.

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25 May 2022

Children in the city

Previously we talked about walking to the park, and in these discussions a lot of people do not understand the point, because they take for granted the current lifestyle we foist onto children.

We need to talk. About how we ask children to live their lives in our city.

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10 May 2022

A walk to the park

This post appeared as a guest post on Greater Auckland.

This block between Hobson Street, Cook Street, Nelson Street and Wellesley Street is home to about 3,000 people on 3 hectares *1. For those who are wondering, and who like the post about Auckland at varying densities, this is what 100,000 people per km² looks like:

100,000 ppl/km² on this block

And this is how you walk from that block to the nearest park, Victoria Park:

How to walk to Victoria Park. Bonus points if you can figure out how to walk across the Halsey Street intersection.

It is a short 400 to 500 metres walk to either Myers Park or Victoria Park, depending on where you are. But the term ‘short’ is relative. Does it work if you’re with children? Here’s a Key Performance Indicator for this sort of walk:

It should be safe for a 5 year old child to walk from his apartment to a park, with his parent walking a few metres behind him. Without holding hands.

It’s no mystery whether the streets currently meet this KPI or not.

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12 Mar 2022

The isthmus buses really are better

I often tell people that there is one little corner in Auckland with an existing functional public transport network: the western half of the isthmus. That’s it. Usually the response from public transport advocates lies somewhere between derision and bewilderment. I find this odd, because this is completely obvious if you just look at a bus map.

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9 Mar 2022

Living in parallel universes

We are living in two parallel universes.

Auckland transport is consulting on roadworks on a roundabout near me.

Proposal drawing, Auckland Transport

The good news first: three of the pedestrian crossings would be traffic light controlled. This should make it much easier to cross Glenfield Road if you’re catching the bus. No more watching people miss their bus while waiting for a gap in traffic.

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23 Feb 2022

Eliminating barriers to cycling

Last time we saw our cycling route from Birkenhead to Takapuna, and saw how it is almost, but not quite there. Something like 90% there. So, is it 90% as good as 100% there?

Sadly, no.

The four types of cyclists

It is said that there’s 4 types of cyclists, roughly by level of confidence: The ‘Strong & Fearless’, the ‘Enthused & Confident’, The ‘Interested & Concerned’, and the ‘No Way, No How’. A study in Christchurch, New Zealand *1 gives following numbers:

<1%
7%
60%
33%
There are some that come up with 3 categories instead *2, but anyway, the majority of people is interested in cycling, but has a limited tolerance for risk taking.

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Riding the bicycle from Birkenhead to Takapuna

A while ago I filmed my ride from Birkenhead to Takapuna. You can do this ride mostly on quiet streets. Mostly, but not entirely.

Route, with required cyclist level.

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Who's writing?

I'm Roeland, and I have been living in Auckland since 2011. As expected when migrating, it takes some time to get used to things. I find it interesting to observe the city around me, first as a yuppie, and now as member of a family.

One of the odd things about this city is the contrast between the fantastic natural setting on one hand — harbours, scoria cones, and the backdrop of the Waitakere ranges — and the city itself on the other hand — dominated by cars and not very welcoming to actual humans.