The Wrong Side of my Car

The blog that wants to go obsolete

8 Jun 2021

Is cycling still for the rich?

Here are 2 somewhat related statements that sow division among urbanists:

If you see these coming up you can expect mockery. However, we have census data and the so-called deprivation index, so we can actually check this. Last time we saw little evidence that either of them is wrong.

Did anything change with the 2018 census?

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20 May 2021

…and they’re open to cars again

Well, that didn’t take long.

This was never going to be an easy or uncontroversial project, but this demise still came quicker than I expected. And I don’t exactly consider myself more optimistic than average.

Where did we go wrong?

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11 May 2021

What do street name suffixes like “street” or “avenue” mean?

After living in a suburb for a while you get used to streets being randomly tagged as ‘Street’, ‘Road’, ‘Avenue’, or others. Here’s a top 10 for Auckland. *1

Street type amount
1. Road 3809
2. Place 2491
3. Street 1853
4. Avenue 1439
5. Drive 977
6. Lane 521
7. Crescent 483
8. Way 285
9. Terrace 227
10. Court 225

How do you choose a type? Do they just choose a random one for each street? It looks like it for sure.

But these words actually have distinct meanings.

(*1) 

Unique street names counted in the area covered by the maps I generated from the census data.

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20 Mar 2021

They’ve actually closed some streets for cars

A few weeks ago, images like this started popping up in my Twitter feed.

It is called the Arthur Grey Low Traffic Area.

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9 Mar 2021

A Note about Sale Street

I noted the Sale Street / Wellesley Street intersection in the previous post. This intersection got sanitised recently.

Sale Street tactical urbanism treatment

A picture can tell you many things:

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That Epic Victoria Quarter Rant

If you’re here for the crappy pictuers of our city centre, don’t miss David R’s epic rant about Victoria Quarter (that is approximately the area in the city centre west of Hobson Street).

More recently he posted some progress:

You can tell right away a ton of work went into those posts. And into showing the local councillors around, and reporting issues. A petition. Maximum respect for putting in that effort.

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27 Feb 2021

Driveways: we’re Doing it Wrong

Robert Weetman has written a lot about footpath design on intersections, and why he prefers the Dutch design *1. I would also strongly prefer those designs over whatever is to be found here.

Streets are an example of the ‘everyday things’ that Don Norman writes about in his book Design of Everyday Things. You can definitely recognise similar thinking in that post. It shows the way good design helps people to intuitively do the right thing.

So, should we look at intersections in Auckland and see how these stack up? Eh, no. These are so uniformly bad it not worth bothering.

Let’s instead apply this line of thinking to driveways. Driveway crossings should be even less conspicuous than side streets. Since they are also places where turning car traffic gives way to pedestrians, you should see similar design features.

A common design in Auckland

And driveway crossings, even though they don’t see many cars per day, we have a lot of them so they’re quite important.

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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.