The Wrong Side of my Car

The blog that wants to go obsolete

4 Oct 2021

Safe School Street in Birkdale

Auckland Transport is running a trial arrangement at Birkdale Primary School. The project page even has some Vision Zero buzz words on it.

Auckland Transport is taking a Vision Zero approach to road safety. This means we are striving to have zero deaths or serious injuries on our transport system by 2050. To achieve this, we are working to create a more forgiving road network that recognises that we are human and make mistakes. But those mistakes should not mean someone dies or is seriously injured on our roads.
Flower patterns on the street.
We have used material and colours that enhance the vibrancy of the area. This serves both as an effective and visual queue (sic) to motorists, that they are entering an area with lots of people moving around, and to add to the character of Birkdale Primary School and its surrounding neighbourhoods.

On the ground (literally) we see flower patterns and bollards, mainly to take away excessive road width, especially at the intersection. Making crossing the intersection less dangerous due to cars turning at high speed. These are welcome changes to anyone who has a kid walking to that school. Even with the build-outs Birkdale Road still has a very generous 7.5 m width.

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17 Sept 2021

So should we ride a bicycle on the footpath then?

You may remember this ad.

Meadow Fresh ad

With a healthy portion of manufactured outrage. Hey, it is not allowed to ride a bike on the footpath. To this day I am not sure what their real problem was. zOMG they let a kid out unsupervised. Many people never miss a chance to pour scorn on parents.

Nevertheless there is talk of allowing cycling on the footpath. Officially you’re not allowed to do it, but a lot of people do it anyway. You’d be crazy to ride on the road.

So should the law catch up to the situation on the ground?

Ideally we shouldn’t ride on the footpath. Or, we shouldn’t have to. But, as is often the case, we will have to strike a balance between idealism and pragmatism.

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12 Sept 2021

Armchair expert

Let’s play armchair street designer.

Armchair expert work (based on an image by Auckland Transport)

This is an intersection on Mount Albert Road in Three Kings. Auckland transport is planning to rebuild it. Bike Auckland quite quickly posted their opinion on it and it is not exactly glowing.

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7 Sept 2021

Best practice or nothing

Is it OK to settle for painted bike lanes? Often, people will say no. Cycling advocates will point out that it is not real infrastructure and they’ll point at the Netherlands. Authorities make this argument, and then conveniently figure out that therefore the cost will blow out and they’ll cancel the whole thing.

Surely the Dutch don’t bother with just paint, right?

Well, this is a myth.

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5 Sept 2021

Cycling deadlock

I was recently introduced to the Wheeled Pedestrian blog. He is best described as a former cycling advocate. A bit disgruntled perhaps. He was lamenting the failure of cycling advocacy to achieve anything:

Progress will remain stalled while advocates fail to reflect on the reasons why they are failing. It is too convenient to blame AT. — @MarkBracey on twitter

I have made a dot map of cycling mode share a while ago. Now also on Observable. One dot for every quantum of 3 responses to the NZ Census. If you have a strong computer you can get an idea of the sheer difference in uptake between cycling and driving:

Sometimes the simplest of visualisations is the most bluntly clear. If we want cycling to be mainstream we have worse problems than just the lack of infrastructure.

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25 Aug 2021

The scale of Auckland

I sometimes tell people the scale of Auckland is mind-boggling. An endless sea of houses. Where does that impression come from?

It is of course because what I am used to in Europe. European cities have a different history, and therefore developed with a different settlement pattern. If we would have a city with that sort of pattern over here, what would it look like? How big is it?

We could come up with some imaginary settlement pattern, with about 1.5 to 1.7 million imaginary people.

Growing an imaginary city

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17 Aug 2021

3 years later, pedestrians (and cyclists) did not gain right of passage across Cook Street

Who remembers this diagram?

drawing by Auckland Transport

That was 3 years ago. In this post I wrote:

there’s only so much you can do before the automobiles strike back.

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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.