The Wrong Side of my Car

A blog about Auckland City, its streets, and culture shock

22 Dec 2018

Urban or suburban?

Some people think apartments in cities are great. Even for families. Kids can play in the park. It is close to everything.

Other people think apartments are slums. Keeping kids in apartments borders on neglect.

And I fully agree with both of them.

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11 Dec 2018

Is driving for the rich too?

After creating that cycling mode share map, why not get them for other ways to get around as well? *1

First, walking:

Walking mode share

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25 Nov 2018

Park or Parking?

One of the more odd features of Hobson Street is the little cluster of businesses on the corner with Victoria Street. A few restaurants and grocery shops, surrounded by large apartment towers. In between we find a handful of parking spaces (with the obligatory collection of tow-away signs).

Vogel Lane

But is parking really the best use of that space? Is that really the way to draw in as many customers as possible?

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21 Oct 2018

Is cycling for the rich?

An argument often made against bicycling is that is only for the rich, and investment in bicycling infrastructure is thus a regressive measure. A casual glance at success stories seems to confirm this. Grey Lynn. Point Chevalier. Belmont. If you want to live there you and your significant other had better both get a 6 figure salary.

Is that impression correct? One way to get an idea is to look at census data. One of the questions asked is how you get to work. This is not a perfect measure (more local errands like shopping or going out are often more feasible on a bike than commuting), but it should give us an idea of where cycling is popular.

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12 Oct 2018

A peek outside my bubble: property speculator whining group

Something washed up on my Facebook a while ago.

Name of the group may or may not be redacted

Sponsored. Hmmm. Someone is paying to spread this stuff. Maybe I have been targeted due to my searches about growing veggies in my garden, something which you pretty much can’t do unless you own your home. *1

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23 Sep 2018

Learning how to ride a bicycle in an apartment.

What is it about kids and suburbs? Why do you have to move out of the city centre once you get those little ones?

Many theories exist. Maybe people just don’t get it. That is a popular theory amongst urbanists. And if you’re arrogant enough to actually believe that, what about you go do some proverbial stuff with yourself.

So let’s try another approach. Some empathy. A popular opinion amongst the same urbanists is that riding a bicycle is awesome. So how will that work out with kids?

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26 Jul 2018

What's wrong with Aetoa Square?

Aotea Square is often described as barren and wind-swept. A hole in our city. Why is that?

Aotea Square

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7 Jul 2018

Wsomc’s handy old network to new network translator

And here comes the new public transport network for the North Shore. So, let’s have a look at the improvements around me, in the Kaipātiki area:

Part of the New Network, by Auckland Transport

That looks familiar. Really familiar

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16 Jun 2018

Pedestrians (and cyclists) also to gain right of passage across Cook Street

Last week I was wondering what’s up with that lonely pedestrian crossing on Hobson Street, while actually the worst street of them all is Cook Street.

And what do you know? Cook Street is next, and it will get an entire pair of cycleways.

Proposed crossing, consultation drawing by Auckland Transport

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11 Jun 2018

Pedestrians to gain right of passage across Hobson Street

Remember Hobson Street?

Yes, that one.

Not an easy one if you want to go across the street to the dairy.

It will, in theory, become a little bit easier, at least on one block, with AT proposing to install a new mid-block signalised crossing.

Consultation drawing by Auckland Transport

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27 Apr 2018

The far side of the windshield

Some observations of the far side of the windshield. I can’t read people’s minds, so I filled in some details…

Every day John Doe catches the bus to work on Glenfield Road. As usual in the morning he has to cross the road. He managed to cross to the middle of the street to the pedestrian refuge, but is now stuck with the endless stream of cars going to the city. With that endless steam comes his bus, and it pulls over…

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13 Apr 2018

The Lantern Festival: how do you get to huge events in Auckland?

I went to the lantern festival, which happens now every year in the Auckland Domain.

Promotional image from ATEED.
I’ll leave taking pictures over there to proper photographers.

Getting to any event of any signficance is a pain in the ass, as it invariably attracts thousands of people trying to drive and park their car in that same spot. With this one, we’re talking about 100,000’s, so forewarned is forearmed. Do not proceed without planning ahead.

(This does not apply if you’re walking in from your apartment nearby. In that case, please spare a thought for those caught in traffic.)

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6 Apr 2018

Making the relief map: the base

If you download a DEM it looks roughly like this:

By itself, visualizing relief as a greyscale image has an advantage: the eye is quite sensitive to changes in brightness, making it a good choice if you want to discover fine details in the image. But I wanted to overlay a street map over the relief, and doing this in a clear manner is really hard if the background varies between black and white.

So what I want to do is 2 things:

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26 Mar 2018

Why do we hate cycle lanes and bus stops so much?

So, after this miserable saga around Skypath, and equally miserable saga in Grey Lynn, one could wonder why there’s such a backlash against any projects which involve non-cars. People had to coin a new term for it, bikelash. Not that it’s unique to cycling, bus improvements often get similar flak.

(By the way, it’s not a given that the people opposing those projects are a majority. But they definitely are the loudest.)

Why is that? You’d think after decades of trying and piling up debt building roads, it’s time to try something else. There are many rational arguments in favour of de-emphasizing cars and improving other ways to get around — walking, cycling, buses, trains, etc. But those arguments appear to fall on deaf ears.

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