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Auckland’s City Centre Masterplan of 2012 was a visionary plan to help reshape the city into a more people friendly area. Many of the things it proposed have been or are in the process of being delivered. One of the more exciting proposals in it was creating a green link between the Domain and Wynyard Quarter, connecting Albert and Victoria Parks along the way.

The key central section between Albert Park and Victoria Park would be achieved by creating a linear park along Victoria St. More public space in the city centre will be crucial for both visitors and the rapidly growing residential population – the fastest growing area in the country. Note: The city centre population has grown so fast that at about 57,000 people, it has already well exceeded the 2032 expectation in the CCMP of 45,000

The opportunity to build the Linear Park was almost lost a few years ago after Auckland Transport ignored the CCMP as well as their strategic plans and business cases by proposing to use Victoria St to funnel buses through the city, an option that had a negative benefit cost ratio. Thankfully following public feedback they eventually gave up on the idea.

Despite the name, the Linear Park isn’t just about pretty pictures or providing a green space in the middle of the city as in some places it won’t look like a park at all. That’s because it will also be serving some crucial functions. In particular it will be needed to help distribute the thousands of people every hour who will pour out of the Aotea Station being built as part of the City Rail Link.

The station entrance on Victoria St will be within the Linear Park space and modelling has suggested it could see over 5,500 people an hour at peak times – although given the CRL will now cater for longer trains, that could be even higher.

Further away from the CRL entrance there’s likely to be a greater ability to have more green space included in the design.

More recently, and part of the refresh of the CCMP, the Linear Park will play a crucial role in the Access for Everyone proposal that intends to make the city centre much more pedestrian friendly.

So why are we talking about this, yesterday we finally heard a little news about the project.

The Victoria Street Linear Park is one step closer with the awarding of the contract for the development of the business case. The contract has been awarded to Jacobs New Zealand Ltd who will also work on the conceptual design.

The Linear Park will create a pedestrian friendly link between Victoria Park and Albert Park.

“It’s good to be one step closer to creating a great space for people in the middle of our city. If you look at other linear parks around the world, including the world-famous High Line in New York, you can see how they transform cities,” said Mayor Goff.

“The project is still some years off completion, but the business case and conceptual design begin what we need to do to bring this project to fruition.

“Aotea Station will be the busiest passenger station in Auckland once the City Rail Link opens. Having an attractive, people friendly link going down Victoria Street at the station entrance will make a huge and positive difference to people using our city centre.”

Chair of Planning Committee Councillor Chris Darby said, “The thin green line of the park pierces the densest and busiest neighbourhoods in Auckland. It significantly increases the amount of green public space through the midtown area, where a significant deficit in open space exists.

“The linear park dramatically improves connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists reaching the city-centre and universities, with potential to extend to Parnell via the rediscovered Albert Park tunnels.”

Deputy Chair of Planning Committee Councillor Richard Hills said, “It’s fantastic to see this crucial milestone on our green link through the city centre. It will connect our parks and eventually connect pedestrians and cyclists with the walking and cycling route over the harbour bridge.”

It’s a bit hard to get too excited about a business case contract being awarded for a project that a) shouldn’t need one and b) is many years away from being implemented, but it is good to finally see some progress on the project. One thing I do hope we will see is ways to start putting parts of the Linear Park in using temporary placemaking tools so we don’t have to wait for the whole project to be designed and funded before we get any progress.

Finally, as Darby mentions, one of the other interesting opportunities the Linear Park would provide is that it would link directly into the Albert Park tunnels which we’d love to see reopened.

The post Victoria St Linear Park moves a step closer appeared first on Greater Auckland.

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Greater Auckland by Heidi O'callahan - 1d ago

This is a hopeful post; change could be on its way.

Auckland Transport has long known that many more Aucklanders would go by bike if they felt safer and didn’t have the stress of driving with fast, heavy traffic. Many cities across the globe have also come to this realisation.

Sixty years of misspent transport funding has left our city full of deficiencies. It is unsafe, which is stifling many people wanting to reduce their carbon emissions by cycling instead of driving. Consequently, we have a high traffic trauma rate, a population with low physical activity levels, and rates of low independent mobility for our children.

The delays to the cycling programme have become embarrassing:

(Credit via Twitter: Pippa Coom and Jessica Rose)

Back in 2014, the Future Funding Strategy Report asked the question:

What should land transport revenues cover and by what mechanism?

And found that funding walking and cycling investment from road user charges was legal and justified because:

Cyclists are legally entitled to be on the road. Motorists have a duty to pay for the facilities needed to keep them safe from motor vehicles.

Pedestrians are legally entitled to be on the road. Motorists have a duty to pay for the facilities needed to keep them safe from motor vehicles.

Ignoring their own strategy, the previous government collected road user charges from motorists but did not use them to make cycling and walking safe.

The current Government Policy Statement (GPS) has:

increased investment in footpaths and cycleways to support access to, and uptake of, active travel modes.

What’s required to fix our deficient street environment, however, is an order of magnitude bigger than what was allocated by the bureaucrats. The UN recommends 20% of the transport budget, both nationally and locally, is spent on walking and cycling.

But there are many changes afoot that give hope.

(Credit: The Guardian. Check out these cool cycling designs.)

1 Consultation is Clarified

The recent Island Bay Cycleway decision has confirmed:

The Local Government Act does not impose on the Council an obligation to accede to the views of a majority of a community or the majority of any part of a community.

This decision clarifies that Auckland Transport can concentrate on meeting their legal obligations to provide a safe transport network. Local constructive input to the design is welcome, but AT would be legally remiss to continuing allowing change-averse, misinformed vocal critics to delay or prevent safety improvements for our people.

2 ATAP is being renegotiated

On the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP), Councillor Darby said in March:

If we were doing ATAP today we’d be doing it even with more transit focus and more PT focus and more active focus

We have an unexpected chance to refocus ATAP on these better priorities now:

There is now limited funding remaining to commit to new projects, and the priority for this will be projects that deliver the highest safety outcomes, in alignment with the Government Policy Statement (GPS)… According to Auckland Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, he has been told there are plans by the Government agency to look for savings in the ATAP budget over the next three years. But he remains in the dark over which projects won’t get funding.

The road widening projects currently funded in ATAP should be stopped; they create negative climate and safety outcomes. Since ATAP was written:

  • AT have received a Safety Review outlining our Safety Crisis, which laid out many reasons for shifting focus and funding towards the active modes, and
  • Council has declared a Climate Emergency and approved the draft Auckland Climate Action Framework for consultation. This highlights the negative outcomes from the greenfields Supporting Growth programme:

greenfield development often results in more car-dependent and carbon-intensive travel patterns, increased social isolation and disconnection. it also affects the ability of natural systems to provide climate resilience. Conversely, evidence demonstrates that quality compact urban development has many benefits. These include better and lower-carbon transport choices, reduced travel times and costs, and fewer impacts on air and water quality.

Building and widening roads to support greenfields growth is incompatible with an appropriate response to climate change. If we are being governed well, ATAP will be renegotiated within the framework of our Climate Emergency and Safety Crisis. We are correct to expect a halt of damaging projects; particularly this retains funding for the critical safety, active and public transport projects.

3 Major road Capex programmes are cycling funds

The Safety Review said:

AT appears to have been focused on implementing the national cycling action plan and relatively smaller scale (but targeted and important) safety investments on AT’s roads. It has not been targeting the critical bigger direct opportunities: leveraging the annual AT major road Capex programme

Any Capex project that doesn’t include cycling, walking and safety infrastructure is contradicting AT’s commitment to the Safety Review. It’s also a wasted opportunity, and poor value-for money: the street will simply have to be redone later.

In April, Council’s Finance and Planning Committee gave feedback to Auckland Transport on its Statement of Intent, criticising these details:

  • the cycling or bus priority programmes have very little detail about how many kilometres of new paths or where they will be delivered in 2019/2020, and no sense of what will be delivered in the second and third years of the SOI
  • progress of the Integrated Corridor Delivery programme (such as number of corridors with completed business cases, and outlook for delivering integrated corridors), and note which bus priority measures are to be advanced

This Integrated Corridor programme (now called Connected Communities) is a programme to make better use of the arterial road corridors. This project was supposed to be underway last year. In May, AT admitted:

Due to externalities we have not commenced the project yet.

There’s always a silver lining. The GPS and Safety Review both required cycling and walking designs to feature strongly in this programme. By delaying, the declaration of a Climate Emergency adds extra clarity: our arterials must have protected cyclelanes and walkable streets.

4 Maintenance Funds are cycling funds

The Safety Review also pointed out that AT has not been targeting:

the annual AT maintenance programme to deliver important low marginal cost road network safety improvement over time, and actively moving to manage free operating speeds which are in general terms too high for appropriately safe road network operation including for underlying safety of cyclists and pedestrians.

Currently the maintenance programme doesn’t allow “betterment”. Auckland Transport have had this Safety Review since January / February 2018, at which stage they knew that the first maintenance contracts wouldn’t come up for retendering until late in 2020.

Renegotiating these contracts now is an obvious and easy step towards providing more cycling, walking and safety infrastructure. Auckland Transport has taken this safety review seriously, so we should expect to see all contracts renegotiated this year. Waiting out the 2.5 years between review and the first new contracts would be a flawed response.

5 Cycling Funds are for Cycling, not Placemaking

Local communities are asserting that projects targeted at delivering safe and connected cycling infrastructure must also incorporate place-making. Until now, AT has been trying to make the cycling budget stretch to cover placemaking, which works to mislead the public about how much “cycling” costs, and to delay the projects in the programme due to limited funds. I see in the latest AT Board minutes that for the Westhaven to CBD Cycleway:

The design has been on hold while third party funding has been investigated to fund the streetscape elements.

What’s hopeful about this statement is that it signals that AT realise placemaking should not be funded from the cycling budget. Although it’s an unwelcome delay for this one project, sorting it out now will reserve cycling funds for cycling projects and prevent many other delays due to an empty purse.

Where should they look for this placemaking money? Our deficiencies in the street environment were created by over-investment in increasing road capacity for vehicles. They must therefore be fixed by reallocating funds from the misguided projects that are still attempting to do the same.

6 A New Head of Healthy Streets and Active Modes

Last year, AT had a big restructure, which disestablished the walking and cycling team. There was widespread criticism of this decision:

why are walking and cycling the only modes now set to lose their specialist focus and public champion – and see their people and budget dissolved across the wider organisation – while roads and public transport will carry on as usual?

Luckily, Auckland Transport has essentially backtracked on the decision:

While it’s a pity AT haven’t been able to fill the role in nearly 6 months, at least this gives a strong message to the CEO: No-one with the skills needed for this position wants to report directly to an obstructive boss. The position needs to be at the top table. Suitable applicants will know the organisation’s reputation, summed up in the December 2017 report about the cycling programme:

with the exception of the CIO, there was not seen to be widespread support for the programme at the executive levels within the organisation. This is particularly felt with a perceived lack of executive support to project managers when community opposition occurs, and when there are challenging cross-team issues.

I’m very hopeful that we’re about to enter a newly funded, newly directed era of cycling and walking improvements because:

  • The time for putting the active mode programmes under review has passed.
  • The time for questioning the effectiveness of separated cycling infrastructure has passed.
  • The time for finding excuses for delays has passed.

The CEO needs a few things in place:

  • He needs a Mayor fronting up to the challenges of bringing safety in the midst of media hostility.
  • He needs layers of bureaucracy pared back to allow change.
  • And he possibly needs the governing bodies to supply an overt transport strategy.

Auckland Transport’s overarching responsibility is to provide a safe transport network. People are dying while the cycling programme is delayed. If the delays continue, emergency action will be required.

The post Top Table, Full Purse appeared first on Greater Auckland.

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Train users are likely to have been feeling frustrated over the last week or two with what have become nearly daily delays and cancellations. As a Western line user, this has been made more frustrating because unlike the Southern and Eastern lines, for which AT have at least put out some comms, there have been none for the Western, despite services often being delayed or cancelled as part of the disruption.

The main issue causing this disruption appears to poor, or a lack of maintenance from Kiwirail with AT finally tweeting this thread yesterday

In the past few weeks, we’ve been experiencing a number of delays and cancellations on our train services. These are primarily on the Southern Line, but have flow on effects to the wider AT Metro network. pic.twitter.com/ob2Vl0FPzR

— Auckland Transport (@AklTransport) June 16, 2019

Here’s the text from the whole thread:

In the past few weeks, we’ve been experiencing a number of delays and cancellations on our train services. These are primarily on the Southern Line, but have flow on effects to the wider AT Metro network.

KiwiRail, who own, control and maintain the train tracks have multiple temporary speed restrictions due to track that is not up to standard. Most of these locations have been identified as needing the train tracks to be completely replaced.

A number of locations had tracks replaced over Queen’s Birthday Weekend, while the line was closed which removed some of the temporary speed restrictions but there is still work to be done. KiwiRail has assured us that the track is safe.

These speed restrictions help maintain the track condition until maintenance work can be completed. We find these delays and cancellations incredibly frustrating, as many of our customers will do, and we apologise for this.

Together with Transdev, we are working with KiwiRail to resolve this as soon as possible with planned maintenance: (link: http://ow.ly/Vz0c50uFqqk) ow.ly/Vz0c50uFqqk You can keep up to date with the AT Mobile app, our social media channels or our text message alert system:

In addition, stuff reports on comments from Kiwirail

KiwiRail Executive General Manager Operations Siva Sivapakkiam, apologised for the inconvenience to commuters, but said safety was KiwiRail’s top priority.

“KiwiRail owns and maintains the railway tracks and signals for the Auckland network, as part of our regular maintenance programme, we have inspected and identified sections of rail track that need replacing on the southern and eastern lines.

“We have placed temporary speed restrictions at several locations on the southern and eastern lines until we can carry out this work. The line needs to be closed to commuter trains to safely lay the new rail track.”

Sivapakkiam said KiwiRail was working closely with AT to prioritise the required maintenance and to lift the temporary speed restrictions as quickly as possible.

“On the basis of the current speed restrictions, it should be expected that delays will continue, and that some services may be cancelled.

“Future inspections of the rail track across the Auckland network may require further temporary speed restrictions to be introduced,” he said.

Things sometimes unexpectedly breaking, severe weather and other random acts that occasionally impact services are all annoying at the time but are understandable. But tracks being in poor condition feels like something that should have been foreseen and I think serious questions need to be asked of Kiwirail to why they’ve let them get to such a poor standard. Now on a normal weekday there are over 74,000 trips being made and ongoing delays will only serve to erode trust in the system.

The vastly improved reliability and punctuality of the system following the completion of electrification in mid-2015 is likely to have played a significant role in driving ridership up over the last few years, seeing it double to over 20 million in just the four years. This is reflected in the graph below showing the number of trains arriving at their destination within five minutes of schedule rising from around 80% to over 96%.

Here’s rail ridership as a comparison.

You can also see a breakdown of punctuality by line from 2011 onwards. One thing that’s interesting about this is that the eastern line was the worst performer but is now the best. This improvement in performance is likely related to why the Eastern Line has seen some of the strongest growth over the last few years.

Looking forward it appears there are now a lot of weekend shutdowns ahead, including three of the four weekends in July. I assume most of these are related to this track issue.

If there’s one silver lining to this disruption it’s that it’s yet another example of why it’s important that we don’t try to rely on the existing network for all future rapid transit lines. Having light rail as an independent but connected part of the rapid transit network is a feature, not a bug.

The post Rail Delays Expected appeared first on Greater Auckland.

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There hasn’t been much news on the Auckland light-rail projects for a while now, with the project seemingly stuck in some sort of purgatory as the Government (hopefully) slowly comes to the realisation that the NZ Super Fund proposal to build an elevated and tunnelled route is complete madness. With the Puhinui station upgrade and improved bus priority about to start construction, it will hopefully get people to understand that a high quality PT option will be delivered in the next few years. Although some will refuse to to believe that a Puhinui-Airport rail link would be much harder and more expensive than it intuitively seems.

As I discussed late last year, one of the frustrating things about the idea of serving the Airport with heavy rail is that it places what I think is undue importance on this particular job – getting people from the city centre to and from the Airport. It’s a useful reminder that only around 4% of trips on the City Centre to Mangere corridor are these ‘end to end’ journeys.

While the Airport is an important part of Auckland, it seems strange that such huge emphasis get placed on trips between the city centre and the Airport, a pretty small minority of overall journeys. Also, very little discussion ever occurs about the people who travel to and from the airport every day.

Alon Levy’s excellent Pedestrian Observations blog looked at this issue of over-emphasising Airport connections a few years back and came up with some interesting hypotheses to explain this.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that cities spend far more per rider on airport connectors than on other kinds of public transit. On this blog, see many posts from previous years on the subject. My assumption, and that of such other transit advocates as Charles Komanoff, was always that it came from an elite versus people distinction: members of the global elite fly far more than anyone else, and when they visit other cities, they’re unlikely to take public transit, preferring taxis for most intermediate-length trips and walking for trips around the small downtown area around their hotels.

In this post, I would like to propose an alternative theory. Commuters who use public transit typically use their regular route on the order of 500 times a year. If they also take public transit for non-work trips around the city, the number goes even higher, perhaps 700. In contrast, people who fly only fly a handful of times per year. Frequent business travelers may fly a few tens of times per year, still an order of magnitude less than the number of trips a typical commuter takes on transit.

What this means is that 2 billion annual trips on the New York-area rail network may not involve that many more unique users than 100 million annual trips between the region’s three airports. Someone who flies a few times per year and is probably middle class but not rich might still think that transportation to the airport is too inconvenient, and demand better. In the US, nearly half the population flies in any given year, about 20% fly at least three roundtrips, and 10% fly at least five. Usually, discussions of elite versus regular people do not define the elite as the top half; even the top 10% is rare, in these times of rhetoric about the top 1% and 0.1%. When Larry Summers called for infrastructure investment into airport transit, he said it would improve social equity because what he considered the elite had private jets.

To summarise, there are two main reasons why Airport connections might end up being over-emphasised compared to other transport needs:

  • Politicians, senior bureaucrats, business leaders, media and other members of the ‘elite’ use Airports far more frequently than the average person – so therefore connections to airports are a much bigger deal for them than for most people.
  • A very wide variety of people travel to the Airport over the course of a year, compared to other key places. This means that a lot of people experience travel conditions to and from airports, even if they do so quite rarely.

What seems to be lacking in Auckland discussions is good data and useful metrics to compare different corridors against each other. Alon does this for New York, which illustrates how poor Airport connections perform compared to other projects.

None of this makes airport transit a great idea. Of course some projects are good, but the basic picture is still one in which per rider spending on airport connectors is persistently higher than on other projects, by a large factor. In New York, the JFK AirTrain cost about $2 billion in today’s money and carries 6.4 million riders a year, which would correspond to 21,000 weekday riders if it had the same annual-to-weekday passenger ratio as regular transit, 300 (it has a much higher ratio, since air travel does not dip on weekends the way commuter travel does). This is around $100,000 per rider, which contrasts with $20,000 for Second Avenue Subway Phase 1 if ridership projections hold. Earlier this year, the de Blasio administration proposed a developed-oriented waterfront light rail, projected to cost $1.7 billion and get 16 million riders a year, which corresponds to about $32,000 per daily rider; a subsequent estimate pegs it at $2.5 billion, or $47,000 per rider, still half as high as how much the AirTrain cost.

Avoiding this over-emphasis on airport connections will continue to be difficult in the absence of good data, because the allure of good airport connections is strong in both political elites who use airports extremely frequently,  as well as the broader public who use them occasionally.

Of course this isn’t to say that Auckland Airport doesn’t need rapid transit connections from both the north and the east. But rather, we shouldn’t over-emphasise the ‘end to end’ element of what the broader City Centre to Mangere light rail project does, and we certainly shouldn’t go out of our way to serve the airport with enormously expensive infrastructure – especially if that means ongoing delays to other key rapid transit corridors, especially in the northwest. Given this, it feels like Auckland is getting the balance about right.

The post Airport connections are over-rated appeared first on Greater Auckland.

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Consultation for The Solid Waste Bylaw finishes on Sunday. Read on to understand why it matters.

As the world becomes more urban, cities need to become more liveable. Proximity helps, and walkable cities offer more opportunities for social connection and for low-carbon lifestyles. But for cities to be better places to live, we need to nurture the natural environment. Living more closely together, we will rely more on the parks, gardens and stream corridors that we retain. Yet these pockets of nature will be more fragile, fragmented as they are between hard paving and buildings.

Transporting food and products into the city and transporting waste out of the city is a poor use of energy. If all the food waste and plant waste is transported out of the city, there’s also a huge loss of nutrients and organic matter that the soil and plants in the city need. We need to see our use of resources as more of a circular process, and composting is key to that.

Last week the Auckland Council declared we have a Climate Emergency. Responding to this emergency will require a complete re-analysis of our relationship with nature. Carbon is sequestered in healthy soil, and climate change will stress our flora and fauna. The same exploitative practices that are causing climate change are stripping our ecology of health. The climate crisis is urgent, but the UN has found that:

the five direct drivers of change in nature with the largest relative global impacts so far … are, in descending order: (1) changes in land and sea use; (2) direct exploitation of organisms; (3) climate change; (4) pollution and (5) invasive alien species.

Networks of residents are practising the skills we need to address these issues. Council needs to reach out and connect with these groups, learn from them, and help spread their skills throughout the city. And often, that is exactly what Council does.

But in the area of waste, there seems to be a mismatch between mindsets. In preference to separating waste at source and e-trike kerbside food waste pickup schemes, the Council has chosen corporate models involving truck cartage, exporting of recycling to poor countries, and industrial scale composting plants outside the city.

A new conflict has arisen over the proposed Solid Waste Bylaw, which will outlaw common and healthy composting practices, such as using seaweed from the beach, leaves from the footpath, grass clippings from the neighbour.

If people follow these new rules, the healthy social connections that happen when members of the community swap waste resources with each other for compost making will be prevented. And many people will simply be put off composting, meaning energy will be wasted as their food and garden waste is trucked out of the city.

Alternatively, if people continue with healthy composting practices, they will be doing so in defiance of the Council, so the bylaw will drive a wedge between Council and the very practitioners Council needs to learn from.

I am asking questions of Council about process and management oversight, and how the bylaw missed the input from Council’s teams who understand sustainability. Until I get those answers, though, I’d like to bring it to your attention, in case you care to submit.

Most of us have consultation burnout, so I thought I’d circulate an email from For the Love of Bees, which includes easy-submit instructions from the Auckland Compost Collective. Obviously, tailor your submission to reflect your experience and to suit your beliefs.

——————————-

The Auckland Composting Network is concerned about the wording of a new council bylaw taking effect in 2019. Submissions on this bylaw are closing in three days on the 16th of June. We would like as many supporters as possible to make a submission to ensure that local living compost hubs can continue to build momentum and establish themselves as a valuable resource for our city and very relevant climate change ready infrastructure.

Our collaborators at NZBox are also concerned about the current wording of the bylaw, they say, ‘it would completely undermine the capacity of Auckland residents, businesses and communities to compost or resource community composting initiatives. Producing quality local compost supports growing quality local food, which supports food resilient and healthy communities. Local composting hubs enable soils to sequester carbon, while reducing waste to landfill and emissions getting it there. Composting our own food waste provides local jobs, community connectivity and amazing education opportunities.’

Finn Mackesy on behalf of the Auckland Composting Network has put together a template to make a submission quick and easy – in 7 mins.

We hope you can take the time to COMPLETE A SUBMISSION, please read Finn’s guidelines below.

Kia ora Koutou,

As you may be aware Auckland Council is currently seeking submissions on the proposed Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw 2019.

The purpose of this bylaw is to manage and minimise waste, protect the public from health and safety risks and nuisance, and to manage the use of council-controlled public places. While on the whole the proposed bylaw seems fit-for-purpose there are several sections that pose challenges to individuals and groups wanting to manage and minimise food waste at the local level. In response to the shortcomings of the proposed bylaw the Auckland Composting Network have created a templated submission response and instructions for quickly completing an online submission (see below).

We need as many Aucklanders as possible who engage in and/or support local composting to provide feedback on the proposed bylaw to ensure safe, sustainable and effective methods of household and community scale composting are acknowledged and valued. Please share this with people, organisations and networks who you think might want to make a submission to support Auckland Council in enabling communities and individuals to compost.

Submissions close on Sunday June 16. Completing the online submission process using the templated responses will take approximately 7 minutes to complete.

If you are wanting to read the full proposed Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw 2019 follow this link

To complete the online submission process there is a combination of click responses and free text sections. To make it as easy as possible to provide feedback to the proposed bylaw supporting local composting and navigate the submission process instructions and templated responses have been provided below.

Here is a link to the online submission

Kind regards,

Finn Mackesy

on behalf of the Auckland Composting Network

INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUBMISSION

  1.     Click the link above
  2.     Fill in your personal details
  3.     Click Next at bottom of page

Which of the following would you like to give feedback on? *

Select as many as apply

  1.     Tick the first option: Requiring people to deposit and dispose of waste appropriately 
  2.     Click Next at bottom of page

Proposal 1

  1.     Tick Agree

Proposal 2

Clarify how a person may dispose of or discard material on premises they own or occupy. (Clause 8)

Reason

We want to make rules about the disposal of material on private premises easier to understand and to better address nuisance and safety risks from the burial and composting of material.

  1.     Tick Disagree

Please tell us why

  1.     Copy and paste or edit the templated response (below) in the text box provided:

“The wording in two sections within Clause 8 unnecessarily limit households’ and communities’ ability to manage and minimise organic waste safely. The following rewording is requested:

(1) A person may dispose of or discard waste by burial on premises that person occupies or owns if –

(c) the waste is food scraps or green waste from domestic activity on the same premises and the premises is in a rural area or if in an urban area the food scraps are fermented using the bokashi method first.

(2) A person may dispose of or discard material by composting if –

(b) Replace “at a community garden” with “as part of a community composting initiative” to ensure other effective community composting initiatives remain permissible activities. I.e. “the material is from activity on the same premises that it is composted on or the material is composted as part of a community composting initiative.”

Clause 8 also needs to ensure that the collection of materials from offsite which can make composting efforts more effective is permissible under the new bylaw. Examples of such materials include seaweed collected on the beach, leaves fallen on the footpath (which might otherwise block a public drain), the neighbour’s mown grass or hedge clippings, biochar, sheep pellets, animal manures from local farms, coffee grinds from the local cafe, compostable packaging, woodchip from an arborist, and oyster shells.

Proposal 3

  1.     Tick Agree

Proposal 4

  1.     Tick Agree
  2.     Click Next at bottom of page

Do you have any other feedback on the proposed new Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw 2019?

  1.     Copy and paste (or edit and personalise) the templated response (below) in the text box provided:

In general I support the Proposed Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw 2019. However, there are two areas of the proposed bylaw that are currently weak or missing – (1) providing sufficient opportunities for landowners and residents to compost materials on site by safe and effective means; and (2) recognising and endorsing community composting initiatives beyond community gardens as effective, sustainable and pro-social means of managing and minimising waste.

I request the following additional changes to the proposed Proposed Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw 2019 to ensure that all effective biological composting methods and community composting initiatives are recognised and endorsed under the new bylaw.

Clause 5      Interpretation

Composting means the activity of creating nutrient-rich fertiliser and organic matter from food scraps, green waste or both and to avoid doubt, includes worm farms and anaerobic digesters and other biological means of converting organic waste materials into nutrient-rich fertiliser and organic matter.

This addition will ensure that all effective composting techniques and biological processes are explicitly included under the bylaw (E.g. Effective Microorganisms (EM) and Black Soldier Fly (BSF) farming). It also ensures that new and promising biological means of processing food scraps can be tested and developed under the bylaw.

Clause 12     Operators of waste management and resource recovery facilities

Definition of a resource recovery facility needs to include community composting operations for the bylaw to effectively recognise and value the role of community composting initiatives and facilities.

Add to Clause 1.b.ii. in the definition of a resource recovery facility …“to avoid doubt, includes a commercial or community composting operation…”

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Google maps has a useful little tool, where you can not only see current traffic congestion levels, but also what conditions are ‘usually’ like at any particular time of day (show the traffic overlay and then change the box at the bottom to ‘typical traffic’. This makes it possible to take a look at where congestion is worst across the region at different times of day.

Starting first with Tuesday at 8am, which I’ve taken as a pretty good proxy for probably the heaviest ‘morning peak’. The first map shows the northern and western parts of Auckland:

Most main roads across the region are orange, which means that they’re busy but not totally congested. What you’d expect and hope to see. Main areas of congestion seem to be:

  • Citybound on the Northern Motorway between Oteha Valley Road and Esmonde Road. It’s very notable that congestion eases significantly over the Harbour Bridge itself. Access onto the Northern Motorway at places like Esmonde Road and Onewa also seem to be highly congested.
  • Westbound on State Highway 18 through Greenhithe. This seems to be largely caused by a lot of people driving from the west to the large number of jobs around Albany that are really poorly served by public transport.
  • Citybound on the Northwest Motorway right from Westgate through to Western Springs. This is one of the main reasons why rapid transit to the Northwest is so essential.
  • Citybound on the ‘inner’ Southern Motorway is pretty widespread, right through until Greenlane. Presumably this is caused by quite a lot of trips to the large employment area around Ellerslie and Penrose being pretty dependent on cars.

Looking next further to the south, you can see the citybound congestion on the Southern Motorway extends right down to Manukau City, and then again between Drury, Papakura and Takanini.

State Highway 20 is also quite congested between Manukau and Puhinui, presumably due to Western Ring Route traffic overlapping with people heading to the Airport along Puhinui Road. Ti Rakau Drive in East Auckland is also pretty congested.

Looking next at how things stand around midday, you can see how ‘peaked’ Auckland’s traffic is. The motorway network seems to work quite well during this ‘interpeak’ time:

There’s almost no red on this map, and most of the ‘orange’ seems to be in busy parts of the city where you’d expect traffic to go a bit slower, like the city centre, down Dominion Road and then around major centres like Manukau, Henderson, New Lynn and Onehunga.

Tracking forward to 5pm, as an indicator of the evening peak and there’s a lot more red on this map.

Some broad observations of the evening peak:

  • Many of the main motorways are (somewhat unsurprisingly) a mirror image of the morning peak. Much of the northwest and northern motorways are jammed, although perhaps not quite as severely as in the morning.
  • State highway 18 (Upper Harbour) seems to avoid pretty much any congestion in the evening, even though it gets pretty jammed up in the morning.
  • Citybound congestion on the Northern Motorway is almost as bad as northbound congestion – which you would think is a bit surprising as this is counter-peak. Having only 3 lanes on the harbour bridge is obviously a key factor in this.
  • There seems to be a lot more severe congestion in the city centre and through spaghetti junction in the evening peak than in the morning peak.

On this last point, I zoomed into the central area to take a closer look.

Some of the most severe congestion seems to be on the onramps to the major motorways, where traffic gets stuck at ramp signals. The fact that northbound lanes on State Highway 1 through spaghetti junction are green while the ramp signal is the very darkest red suggests that NZTA haven’t got the balance right – something I highlighted in this post a while back.

Looking to the south, it’s interesting that northbound (technically counterpeak) congestion is worse than southbound between Greenlane and Otahuhu. Further south the merging of State Highway 20 and State Highway 1 creates all sorts of issues around Manukau. There’s also quite a bottleneck where State Highway 20A from the Airport merges into the Western Ring Route.

So what can we make of these patterns? One thing that really stands out to me is that congestion seems worst (at least on the motorways where it appears to vary by time and place the most) for the kind of peak direction radial trip that public transport – especially rapid transit – is well suited to. Continuing to upgrade and expand rapid transit on the big corridors to the southeast, south, southwest, west, northwest and north is well suited to providing better travel choices for the very trips that face the most congestion.

For a little fun, I also made this gif showing how traffic levels every 20 minutes of the day from 6am to 10pm.

What stands out to you in these maps? Were you surprised by anything?

The post Analysing Auckland’s congestion appeared first on Greater Auckland.

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Paris has long had one of the world’s best public transport systems, but in recent years the city has made giant strides forward in reducing the impact of cars on the quality of the city – including the quality of its air. In 2016 cars were removed from the banks of the river Seine, opening up an amazing new public space for the city:

Source: https://www.dw.com/en/the-seine-river-banks-in-paris-now-car-free/a-38300589

Now Paris is looking at taking the next step, through removing lanes and lowering the speed limit of Paris’s ring-road – known as the Peripherique. This from a CityLab article:

This Tuesday, Paris deputies submitted a report to Mayor Anne Hidalgo proposing a reduction of the speed limit on the Parisian Boulevard Périphérique, the 22-mile-long highway that encircles the central city, to 50 km/h (about 31 miles per hour). Cars and trucks on one of Europe’s most notoriously congested and polluted urban highways would not only be obliged to drive more slowly, they’d have less room to do it: The number of beltway lanes open to all traffic would also be slashed from eight to six. One lane will be reserved for public, emergency, and zero-emissions vehicles. The other one is to be devoted to trees.

It’s not that surprising to see Paris take another step towards improving the quality of their city, but perhaps what might be a bit surprising to some is a major likely benefit from these changes – reduced congestion.

Making a busy highway smaller and slower might seem like a counterintuitive means of defeating traffic in the U.S., where certain states and cities are working on widening, not culling, their traffic-clogged beltways. But during its peak hours, traffic is already moving at a very stately pace on Paris’ inner beltway: Average rush hour speeds are around 35 km/h. And many traffic experts say that lower speeds can improve fluidity and lower travel times by limiting the so-called accordion affect, in which vehicles accelerating and decelerating gradually create build-ups around junctions that turn into fully fledged jams. Driving more slowly, in some cases, can get you where you need to go faster.

It’s also likely that we will see the inverse of ‘induced traffic demand’, where removing vehicle capacity actually results in overall less traffic and less congestion. A classic case study of this recently was in Seattle, where there was a brief gap between the Alaskan Way Viaduct being closed and a new tunnel opening – yet traffic was actually better than usual during this time!

About 90,000 vehicles per day traveled the Alaskan Way Viaduct until it was closed on Jan. 11.

“The cars just disappeared,” he wrote. “Where did they all go?”

A spokesperson for the traffic data company Inrix told Gutman they “disappeared.”

Some people are walking and biking, preliminary city data shows. And some additional people took the bus and train. And a lot of people appear to be telecommuting.

As a result, traffic speeds haven’t been effected much by what everyone predicted would be gridlock.

Viadoom is looking more and more like another much-hyped “Carmageddon” that wasn’t. Time after time, cities anticipate crushing outcomes from the closures of key freeways — but the actual outcome is muted. We saw it with the closure of Los Angeles’s 405 freeway in 2011. And we saw it in more recently with the same highway in Seattle closed for two weeks of maintenance in 2016.

The changes in Paris will be great for safety, noise and air quality in this part of the city, as well as helping to reduce congestion:

That the Périphérique needs change is no secret. Since being completed in 1973, the city’s inner ring has developed a fearsome reputation for jams. It’s a formidable smog machine, too, pumping out >37 percent of all nitrous oxide emissions for the Greater Paris region. And with 156,000 people living within 200 meters of the road, it discharges these pollutants in a heavily populated band of territory…

…Slower traffic is quieter, too—Paris noise observatory Bruitparifreckons that holding vehicles to 50 km/h should reduce average levelsby a moderate but still significant two to three decibels. It is also notably safer, with slower speeds giving drivers more reaction time and lessening the force of collision impact. Past experience in Paris bears this out. In 2014, the Périphérique’s speed limit was reduced from 80 km/h to 70. This ten kilometer drop saw accidents fall by 15.5 percent in a single year.

Despite some backlash, it seems likely the changes will be approved in June.

The post Paris tackling congestion, by removing lanes appeared first on Greater Auckland.

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Yesterday the Auckland Council unanimously agreed to declare a climate emergency, joining other cities in New Zealand and around the world in doing so.

“By unanimously voting to declare a climate emergency we are signalling the council’s intention to put climate change at the front and centre of our decision making,” says Mayor Phil Goff

Today, members of Auckland Council’s Environment and Community Committee voted to join a growing community of cities around the world who have formally and publicly recognised the urgency for action on climate change by declaring a climate emergency.

“Our declaration further elevates the importance of an immediate national and global response to address our changing climate,” said Councillor Penny Hulse, chair of the committee.

“We want to be a part of the global community calling for change. We have listened and are listening to people; to Aucklanders who supported targeted rates to improve the health of our environment and water, to the students who went on strike and demanded action on climate, to groups like Extinction Rebellion who came to the council and pleaded with us to take more action including declaring this climate emergency. To these groups and to the many others who have made their voices heard, I say thank you,” says Councillor Hulse.

Mayor Goff says, “Our obligation is to avoid our children and grandchildren inheriting a world devastated by global heating. Scientists tell us that if we don’t take action, the effects of heating will be catastrophic, both environmentally and economically.

“In declaring an emergency, we are signalling the urgency of action needed to mitigate and adapt to the impact of rising world temperatures and extreme weather events. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we have only around 12 years to reduce global carbon emissions to limit temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.

“While international and national actions are critical, at a local and personal level we need to play our role in achieving that target.”

It’s good to see the council take this step but unless they and their CCOs take more action, it does feel like it risks being a bit of a feelgood political statement than anything serious. Here’s what they say it means for Auckland:

By declaring a climate emergency, the council is committing to:

  • continue to robustly and visibly incorporate climate change considerations into work programmes and decisions
  • continue to provide strong local government leadership in the face of climate change, including working with local and central government partners to ensure a collaborative response
  • continue to advocate strongly for greater central government leadership and action on climate change
  • continue to increase the visibility of our climate change work
  • continue to lead by example in monitoring and reducing the council’s greenhouse gas emissions
  • include climate change impact statements on all council committee reports.

Part of my issue with it is dictionaries define ’emergency’ as: “A serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action“. I’m sure someone can debate the ‘unexpected’ aspect but the part that seems to be missing from the council’s announcements is the immediate action, particularly in relation to the single biggest contributor to emissions in Auckland – transport.

So, if the council were serious about this climate emergency declaration, here four things that need to change immediately to help address this emergency

Give people more options to avoid car travel

The best way to reduce emissions from cars is to give people realistic alternatives for getting around. Some of this obviously takes time to build and there are funding constraints but an emergency should dictate a radical reprioritisation of what’s planned with investment going only to support modes of transport and projects that help reduce emissions. All of this means we need more and better public transport and many more cycleways.

Tied to this a stated goal needs to be a significant reduction in vehicle kilometres travelled all across the region (not just the city centre). While there are some good things happening they’re taking too long or simply aren’t enough. Take Auckland Transports Statement of Intent for 2019-22 for example. It shows they only targeting to deliver 28.5km of new cycleways over 3 years.

To put that in perspective, we have nearly 5,000 km of urban roads in Auckland (and another 3,000 rural roads). Real and meaningful immediate action would be for the council to require AT to significantly increase this using temporary solutions until such time more money is available for permanent ones. Of course one of the big things that prevents AT from being able to do this, and has slowed down the existing cycling programme at the same time as making it more expensive is the demand from locals to retain ……

Parking

The Councillors may have unanimously voted to declare a climate emergency but you can be certain that many of them will quickly jump in behind locals to complain about removing any on-street carparks from their local areas.

Of course the desire to retain parking not only makes it harder to convert space to encourage emissions free transport options but it also has the effect of encouraging people to drive to the location in the first place.

A poignant reminder of issue with parking emerged yesterday with the announcement that Costco would open it’s first NZ store in Auckland and would have 800 carparks. That store will be located in Westgate, which is part of major growth area for Auckland over the coming decades, bringing us to ……

Supporting Growth

Auckland’s development pattern of spread out suburbs is a key contributor to our auto-dependency and that is only going to get worse if current plans to build around 110,000 of new homes on Auckland’s fringes comes to fruition.

Enabling all this to happen that is a programme called Supporting Growth and as we learnt yesterday, it seems they’re about to announce their finalised plans for the three main development areas – North, Northwest and South. If we were serious about a climate emergency we would be putting a halt on any implementation of these networks and refocusing that growth back to the existing urban area. We could then spend the money that would have otherwise gone to these areas to significantly improve walking, cycling and PT options which also happen to benefit existing residents.

Perhaps some of the money could also go towards …..

Street Trees

At the last election Mayor Phil Goff campaigned on a policy of planting 1 million trees over this term – I understand the target is very close to being achieved. But while 1 million trees is good, what would also be good is if we saw more trees planted in our streets – and lots of them. There is no reason why every suburb shouldn’t be called a leafy suburb.

Pohutukawa, St Paul St

The post Auckland Declares a Climate Emergency, but is it enough? appeared first on Greater Auckland.

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Google maps has a useful little tool, where you can not only see current traffic congestion levels, but also what conditions are ‘usually’ like at any particular time of day. This makes it possible to take a look at where congestion is worst across the region at different times of day.

Starting first with Tuesday at 8am, which I’ve taken as a pretty good proxy for probably the heaviest ‘morning peak’. The first map shows the northern and western parts of Auckland:

Most main roads across the region are orange, which means that they’re busy but not totally congested. What you’d expect and hope to see. Main areas of congestion seem to be:

  • Citybound on the Northern Motorway between Oteha Valley Road and Esmonde Road. It’s very notable that congestion eases significantly over the Harbour Bridge itself. Access onto the Northern Motorway at places like Esmonde Road and Onewa also seem to be highly congested.
  • Westbound on State Highway 18 through Greenhithe. This seems to be largely caused by a lot of people driving from the west to the large number of jobs around Albany that are really poorly served by public transport.
  • Citybound on the Northwest Motorway right from Westgate through to Western Springs. This is one of the main reasons why rapid transit to the Northwest is so essential.
  • Citybound on the ‘inner’ Southern Motorway is pretty widespread, right through until Greenlane. Presumably this is caused by quite a lot of trips to the large employment area around Ellerslie and Penrose being pretty dependent on cars.

Looking next further to the south, you can see the citybound congestion on the Southern Motorway extends right down to Manukau City, and then again between Drury, Papakura and Takanini.

State Highway 20 is also quite congested between Manukau and Puhinui, presumably due to Western Ring Route traffic overlapping with people heading to the Airport along Puhinui Road. Ti Rakau Drive in East Auckland is also pretty congested.

Looking next at how things stand around midday, you can see how ‘peaked’ Auckland’s traffic is. The motorway network seems to work quite well during this ‘interpeak’ time:

There’s almost no red on this map, and most of the ‘orange’ seems to be in busy parts of the city where you’d expect traffic to go a bit slower, like the city centre, down Dominion Road and then around major centres like Manukau, Henderson, New Lynn and Onehunga.

Tracking forward to 5pm, as an indicator of the evening peak and there’s a lot more red on this map.

Some broad observations of the evening peak:

  • Many of the main motorways are (somewhat unsurprisingly) a mirror image of the morning peak. Much of the northwest and northern motorways are jammed, although perhaps not quite as severely as in the morning.
  • State highway 18 (Upper Harbour) seems to avoid pretty much any congestion in the evening, even though it gets pretty jammed up in the morning.
  • Citybound congestion on the Northern Motorway is almost as bad as northbound congestion – which you would think is a bit surprising as this is counter-peak. Having only 3 lanes on the harbour bridge is obviously a key factor in this.
  • There seems to be a lot more severe congestion in the city centre and through spaghetti junction in the evening peak than in the morning peak.

On this last point, I zoomed into the central area to take a closer look.

Some of the most severe congestion seems to be on the onramps to the major motorways, where traffic gets stuck at ramp signals. The fact that northbound lanes on State Highway 1 through spaghetti junction are green while the ramp signal is the very darkest red suggests that NZTA haven’t got the balance right – something I highlighted in this post a while back.

Looking to the south, it’s interesting that northbound (technically counterpeak) congestion is worse than southbound between Greenlane and Otahuhu. Further south the merging of State Highway 20 and State Highway 1 creates all sorts of issues around Manukau. There’s also quite a bottleneck where State Highway 20A from the Airport merges into the Western Ring Route.

So what can we make of these patterns? One thing that really stands out to me is that congestion seems worst (at least on the motorways where it appears to vary by time and place the most) for the kind of peak direction radial trip that public transport – especially rapid transit – is well suited to. Continuing to upgrade and expand rapid transit on the big corridors to the southeast, south, southwest, west, northwest and north is well suited to providing better travel choices for the very trips that face the most congestion.

What stands out to you in these maps? Were you surprised by anything?

The post Analysing Auckland’s congestion appeared first on Greater Auckland.

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This is a quick event notice for our friends at Women in Urbanism. Apologies for the late notice.

Kia ora!

Please join us today at Russell McVeagh for a conversation on Women and Cities!

Ellie Craft from Women and Urbanism Aotearoa and MRCagney will be delivering a short 101 on WiUA. We will then move on to a panel where she will be joined by Kathryn King (NZTA), Jacqueline Paul (AUT and Landscape Architect), Christine Ammunson (Aurecon) and Boopsie Maran (WiUA & Places For Good).

We’ll be covering:

  • how cities are gendered,
  • the experiences of the panel as women in the urban industries and community activists,
  • and what we can do to create more equitable cities that work well for everyone

Date: Tuesday, 11th June
Time: 5.30 pm – 8 pm
Venue: Russell McVeagh, Level 30, Vero Building, 48 Shortland Street, Auckland

There will be snacks and drinks!

If you have any dietary requirements, or special access needs, please let us know when you RSVP!

To RSVP, email events@russellmcveagh.com

Also, here is a Facebook link to the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1313395332160906/

Women in Urbanism Aotearoa

Our mission is to transform our towns and cities into more beautiful, inspiring and inclusive places for everyone. We do this by amplifying the voices and actions of all self-identifying wāhine, girls and non-binary people.

You can find out more about us, and our work here:

https://www.womeninurban.org.nz/

Want to become a WiUA member?

Well you can now, just fill in this membership form

Nāku, nā

Women in Urbanism Aotearoa

The post Women in Urbanism Event Aotearoa – Today! appeared first on Greater Auckland.

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