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Severance City

Severance is an urban design term term used to describe separation effects on a place caused by some obstacle of scale. Also know as The Barrier Effect. Sometimes these barriers are political and the severance intentional; a physical attempt to keep people in or out or just apart. Obvious examples are the Great Wall of China, the new wall in Palestine, or like below; the Berlin Wall.

Zimmer Strasse Berlin 1961

More usually Severance is caused by human constructions such as canals, rail lines, or even cultural things like historic palaces or big city parks. Sometimes in the second group the severance is intentional such as in the construction of walls and battlements. Other examples include large industrial plants, military bases, or any other massive interruption.

Shibam Yemen. Know as the Manhattan of the desert for its densely packed tall mud buildings, this is a fine example of defensive severance. Threat of Bedouin attack formed this intentional containment.

Severance generally causes cost and inconvenience to a place and difficulties to both commercial and social transaction. But, and especially when it caused by natural landforms, it may lead to defining the quality of a place through both its separation from other areas and by concentrating activities and business. In fact many cities owe much of their form and even their identities to the effects of containment by local geographical features [Venice!], and others suffer from a formlessness allowed by the easy spread into a surrounding countryside free of natural barriers [Phoenix, Las Vegas].

Pheonix Freeways. No way through there except in a car.

Wellington is a local example of the first group, the strict containment by steep hills and wild seas has done much to keep it compact and define it. Where as Christchurch can be argued to have suffered from a lack of shape and intensity because of its easy spread onto the surrounding plains.

Easy to see how the difficult geography of the Wellington Region has driven human settlement there.

 

Wonderful aerial of Manhattan from 1933. Without containment on the island of Manhattan New York would not have become such an extremely vertical city.

There are significant differences between natural and artificial Severance. The presence of the former may in fact be the very reason there is a city in this place at all; a harbour, a river, a hill. And the construction of bridges or tunnels to breach or cross these obstacles will be important moments in the story of these cities. But the construction of something that causes Severance as a by-product of its main purpose is another thing all together. A common cause of separation is transport infrastructure such as rail lines, highways, ports, and airports.

Here Severance can usually be considered to be a dis-benefit of a particular project, and ideally care will be taken to ameliorate its affects. But this doesn’t always happen, especially because it will almost always add cost to a project and in the excitement of a new technology side effects are often just ignored. Like in the railway mania of the 19th century; a great many cities were violently affected in the name of progress by this new system. Here’s the first exception:

The world’s first underground railway; London’s Metropolitan line under construction 1861. Going underground as the only way to serve yet preserve the city.

There is a considerable irony when severance is caused by transport projects. Projects whose primary aim is to improve connection. This may simply be a case of the privileging of one kind or direction of movement over another [say highways over local roads], or the valuing of one type of place over another [distant commuter suburbs over older innercity ones]. Or the combination of both: a sacrificing of quality of place to quality of movement [Auckland's motorways were sold in part as slum clearance].

This issue is particularly evident in Auckland, so much so that it clearly deserves the title: Severance City.

It doesn’t really need highlighting; the extreme separation of the Auckland CBD from its inner suburbs caused by its late 20th century motorway programme

By forming an almost complete moat around the city’s CBD mightn’t we reasonably expect a mini-Manhattan effect from this isolation; an intensification of habitation, commerce, and construction within this area in response? Well it hasn’t happened yet at least in part because of the particular conditions of motorway severance, discussed below, but interestingly this may be something that can be improved by reducing the CBD’s exposure to the negative effects of this severing Ouroborus. So long as we invest in fixing it.

Because the motorways around the CBD are not only delivering vehicles to and from the city, but also carry an enormous amount of traffic heading elsewhere, are in fact the core of the entire region-wide road system, it means they are of a scale and complexity that makes them a formidable barrier. Even where they are crossed with bridges it makes for a long, exposed, and unappealing journey. So walking or cycling to and  from the inner suburbs that survived the motorway construction is considerably affected by their presence.

And because the construction of this system was co-ordinated with the removal of the well used tram system and, until recently, the managed decline of the passenger rail network it has also perversely left the CBD’s condition dependent on a daily flood of vehicles onto its older city streets. Which of course has had a profound effect on the quality of life and place there as well as its effectiveness as an economic centre. So much space and building goes into car parking and distribution throughout the CBD that the condition of the motorway system has become synonymous with the city itself; despite being isolated by this system it is also hostage to it: Not just Severance City but also Congestion City.

In order to improve the quality and performance at the heart of our biggest city this phenomenon needs to be addressed, both by re-stitching the links across the divide but also by reducing the impacts of auto-dominance within the ring. So it is not simply a case of putting more road bridges across the motorways, in fact there is nowhere that these could go, but rather we urgently need to build more capacity across the motorway severance that doesn’t add more vehicles to city streets; and in fact allows us to reduce their numbers.

And there is no scheme that can do this as well as the City Rail Link. As virtually every city of scale on this planet has found, the best way to enable an urban centre flourish, and with it its wider region, is to connect it with its hinterland in a way that doesn’t destroy either in the process. Linking up our existing rail network under the motorway will be a transforming solution to this problem for the CBD as well as the wider city as both will be connected through this divide. As Matt illustrates so well below; the width of the arrows indicates capacity.

Transport Capacity post CRL. Green; rail, Yellow; ferries, Red + Blue; road

But it is also clear that effort must go into repairing the links across the motorways. To that end, along with architect Julie Stout, I am running an Advanced Design Studio at the School of Architecture this semester where we have 15 bright young architects to be coming up with creative ways to repair the damage caused by the motorway craze of last century. Hopefully they will have some great solutions and I look forward to getting some of them to post them here once the year is over.

Just imagine being able to walk from Wellesley St street to the Domain again, or a direct route from the new Parnell train station to the University, or to be able to get across Fanshaw Street alive…..

 

44 comments to Severance City

  • Sounds interesting! Happy to organise presentation of these to officers if need be…

    • Great idea Chris let’s do it. But first what I would really like to happen is for all the powers that influence transport planning and design in Auckland to do what we did at the beginning of this course and walk the entire length of this phenomenon- or rather try to. It’s extraordinary, I thought I understood how bad it is but it really is a powerful education in the costs to place of these systems….

  • Good idea! You have my contact details so give me a call…

  • St Nick

    Things like the Jacob’s Ladder footbridge give you hope that good connections can be made even over a motorway monster. Sounds like the bridge was on hold which is disappointing, is it up and running yet?: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10806181

  • Luke C

    There are some beautiful pictures in the Whites Aviation collection of Auckland before the CMJ, taken late Fourier of early 50s. Very sad looking at them seeing what Auckland was like before motorways, especially Grafton Gully still a bush clad gully, without any roads through it.
    Upper Queen and Symonds street are probably easiest and best to fix. Upper Queen St has 6 traffic lanes, and crazily even 1 parking lane! 2 of these traffic lanes are feeding straight Queen St. Acts as a huge barrier between Newton and CBD, even though less than 150m between buildings on either side, less than distance between Quay and Customs St. It should be easy to retrofit a structure and plenty of space, as easy to remove 1 parking lane, and maybe a northbound traffic lane too. Guess issue is designing something that can give some weather protection, but not compromise on safety.

    • My vote is to cap over the whole trench between the Symonds St and Queen St bridges, and cantilever or pile a row of shops along the outsides too. That would give around 5.5 acres of development site (bigger than the block the downtown mall sits on) 200m from the future K Rd station. It could be entirely pedestrian inside, perhaps with a plaza forming a forecourt of St Benedicts church and some integration with the new cyclway. Shopfront verandas would provide shade and shelter. Given the depth of that trench you could even get in a couple of basement levels, yes even parking.

      • Matthew

        I think that is an idea that has a lot of merit. Presumably if a Queen St – Dom Road tram was ever built it would go up one side of it.

      • I agree this is obvious. But I think the site visit scared off the students from this area; those shops on Upper Queen St are so clearly not working, and the noise and fumes from the motorway are so oppressive I think they had trouble imagining it capped. Status Quo bias. Furthermore the NZTA guy, despite trying really hard to present the agency as basically a cycling enabler, was so uncomprehending and discouraging about the idea of NZTA allowing ANYTHING to happen over their airspace that the kids are having to be pushed a bit to propose much in the way of ambitious capping ideas.

        This area is a really good example of how motorways poison their surroundings; its a wasteland and hard to imagine it differently- well until you remove the beast below…..

        • TimR

          For once I’m going to disagree with you Patrick – I don’t think it is obvious to bridge motorways in order to hide them and create development on top. I do agree that motorways lie the cmj poison their urban environment, to the extent that I don’t think we can apply a ‘sticking plaster’ solution in hindsight.

          Why do I say this? Plenty of examples where the idea of building over motorways, or trenching motorways, does not really succeed. In the UK Birmingham has spent years reintegrating ther urban motorway into surface network – “removing the concrete collar” as many referred to it.

          In Newcastle, the city I know best, a major development was built directly over a motorway, and within a roundabout forming an interchange:

          http://www.timmonet.co.uk/html/swan_house.htm

          Several caveats in drawing these parallels – yes, Swan House is particularly representative of 60s brutalist megastructures, the same duff ideas that shaped much of the post war world, and is therefore not quite what we would do today.

          BUT.

          I’m simply not convinced that even a more enlightened approach to building form can offset the fact that you end up applying a megastructure solution to a megastructure-created problem. I the end you are still creating a man-made platform that will degrade and suffer. Concrete, contrary to many assumptions, simply does not last forever. Where does is leave the buildings when the megastructure fails? Poor investment in my view.

          Swan House was substantially converted from office to residential in the mid 2000s. While it was a major improvement, and a number of pedestrian orientated improvements made to the way the roundabout system worked, the overall structure remains very problematic for the future; having the cityregion’s major arterial road passing under this gateway to the city poses lots of risks and challenges that are really, really hard to avoid.

          • Well I agree with you in many ways… especially as that the greater poison is actually all the cars that are delivered into the city by this system, the CRL and then The Cross, are the real big answers to the CBDs urban form and quality as once they are done or even begun we can actually just block or reduce much of the vehicle entry into the city and the severance can become an intensifying force… as for whether capping an urban motorway is a good idea, don’t know the two examples you mention but Perth has a pretty successful version, and anyway there are other smaller and perhaps more creative variations to this. Like just building shops on each side of those bridges, and especially the K’rd one, perhaps like the old London Bridge or the Ponte Vecchio in Florence…?

            Hey I’ve just had a look at that link and I don’t think Swan House is even slightly relevant; it doesn’t cap the roundabout below it, it is of its time so why would it?

          • Patrick – did you see the four-lane motorway underneath the roundabout…? The surface roundabout is on a cap over the motorway, with the building only the crowning element over the whole ensemble! Layered into the whole thing is parking for the building, and a series of badly thought out pedestrian underpasses.

            http://goo.gl/maps/kBJIs

            The motorway forms a semi-collar around the city centre heading north off the Tyne Bridge, in a similar manner to the AKL network. SImilar overall experience, come to think of it – off a bridge, onto a strangulating motorway. The only advantage NCL had was that the corridor was kept very narrow, and the pedestrian renaissance in UK cities is slowly taking apart the awful crossing points provided and replacing them with much higher amenity bridges:

            http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2617/4098562003_5828549b77.jpg

            Not my personal taste in bridges, but it did the trick in lots of ways for this location.

            The Perth example is slightly different again – essentially it was a tunnel, albeit constructed by cut-and-cover. What this means, I think, was that the neighbourhood would have been disturbed during construction, but was really only severed in small parts, for small periods of time. In the mind of citizens there was probably not a big physical break as the process occurred, enough for the neighbourhood to almost pick up where it took off. Socially and in urban behaviour terms this is a big difference from trying to colonise the no-go zone created by the CMJ.

            My point again is that another megastructure cap will not solve the problem. “Fringing” bridges with small shops, a la Ponte Vecchio or the old London bridge is a nice idea, but I’ve not seen this built in recent centuries… for good reason? Unless someone can put me right…

            It strikes me the idea of building a cap requires very deep pockets and high appreciation for investment risk. I’m struggling to see who would pay for this, and why, and what it would really do for the city. More worryingly – would it not just legitimise and prolong the occupation of this land for a low-efficiency movement system?

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2A4M7HpKRy0

            30 seconds in for the ‘cap’ experience.
            Watching this reminds me just how screwed up engineering can get. I’d forgotton how crazy the whole thing was, two directions stacked on each other, lots of REALLY short crossing merges, all slicing closely through the built fabric. Nuts.

            Just for entertainment(!), reverse trip, ending in the roundabout cap:

          • That’s a mess! Again not really relevant… Interestingly I just read yesterday that engineers consider cut and cover to be a bridge not a tunnel because looked at from their perspective [ie not the user] it requires a holding up not a boring through….! But yes the costs will be eyewatering, and especially unlikely because the very presence of the motorway has lowered the surrounding land values. Ha: Catch 22. so the time to bury your transport infrastructure is when it’s first built, before it can ruin its environs…. And what’s the easiest type to underground….?

          • Totally agree on the point of what rail achieves in freeing the collar. Just not with you on opening up architecture students to dream of megastructures these days – my profession is always in danger of being scarily out of touch without encouragement. If we’re talking replacing a motorway with other uses or buildings, like the Cheonggyecheon example in Korea, then great. Let’s hope they see more than just another building/structure as the sole answer for cities…

          • Have no fear Tim none of them are taking Nick’s idea on anyway… I don’t think they see much design opportunity in a big flat plate… They are architecture students not planners after all.

        • Not true Patrick, the dupling restaurant does a roaring trade! (and well, ok the rest of those shops are actually used as apartments).

          • Gian

            just to be precise: Ponte Vecchio in Florence is a bridge on top of a bridge. The duke at the time didn’t want to walk with the plebe down in the dirty streets (and probably more than one person wanted to kill him) so he built a walk on top of the streets from Palazzo Vecchio, crossing the river Arno to Palazzo Pitti.

  • Sean S.

    Nice post. I think you can also see this concept operating on a micro level as well. One side of the street is separated from the other in the name of traffic flow. Shared spaces are not designed this way, which might be what makes them so nice. Hopefully they will become more popular. When done well, they have a high degree of pedestrian traffic, which should arguably be more important to businesses than car traffic.

    • Luke C

      the amount of lanes, and traffic operating speed make a big difference. Streets with one lane of traffic like High St arent too bad, however most main streets in Auckland widen to 5 or 6 lanes at intersections, clearly far too wide. This also encourages speeding.
      These issues are another reason why CBDRL is much preferable to lots of busways for moving increasing amounts of people into CBD.
      Busways have the same streetlife destroying effects, as need high speed in CBD for high capacity.

  • Icebird

    @St Nick : The Jacob’s Ladder footbridge still isn’t open. I haven’t been able to find any further reports on progress since the article you linked. You can get bet if it was the Victoria Park tunnel and not a pedestrian footbridge, Gerry Brownlee would have knocked some heads by now.

  • David O

    I’m sure you are all over this Patrick, but obviously, you should talk about the Big Dig in Boston, which while primarily a highway project (at vast expense) had as a significant goal mitigation of the severance effects of the previous elevated interstate highway in Boston’s downtown. In the process of burying much of the existing central city highway, it created several hundred acres of developable land and parks.

    • Peter M

      Oddly though the open space built above the Big Dig still severs the city.

      • Yes the Big Dig seems [I've not been there] to be a pretty disappointing thing in terms of any return of the old city form…. basically it is the sort of result to fixing a problem when you can’t really admit what the problem is…. compare and contrast with the Embacadero in SF or the Cheonggyecheon in Seoul:

        http://www.slate.com/articles/life/transport/features/2010/unbuilt_highways/san_francisco_the_embarcadero_freeway.html

        http://www.slate.com/articles/life/transport/features/2010/unbuilt_highways/seoul_samil_elevated_expresswaycheonggye_road.html

        • David O

          Yep… perhaps the ‘biggest’, ‘bravest’ plan is simply to remove the damn things, or at least close lanes. Or close lanes to cars by making them buslanes. Auckland’s CMJ is plainly on a scale beyond all reason for the city it serves. The parts through Grafton gulley seem excessive to me. Any time I’ve ever found myself on SH16 into town in the morning (a rare event) even in the rush hour it’s not busy. All that on- and off-ramp capacity seems completely over the top. If you are coming into town on SH16 you get to choose which end of Victoria St / Wellesley St you would like to arrive on. And then there’s the on-ramp from Grafton Rd and from Stanley St – it’s like they assumed that absolutely must be able to get to an on-ramp within no more than 1 minute from absolutely everywhere in the CBD. It’s hard to understand what was going on when those plans were approved.

          • Yes David Grafton is insane, and deserves a closer look. Even if you accept the priorities of the traffic engineers here, and I don’t, it’s still an incredibly stupid design… highlighted by that daft double-back from poor violated Grafton Rd, putting local traffic onto a defacto motorway for a few hundred metres, while making drivers turn counterintuitively away from their destination, all to maintain a high LOS…. pharking nuts, and as for pedestrians; what are they?

            And yes the number of local city streets blighted by being dragged into the motorway system as on and off ramps and therefore totally loosing their human scale and purpose is like a body being eaten by ebola. We simply have to just restrict the number of places this happens. To do this we have offer the only alternative way in that doesn’t blight the city: underground rail.

            The CBD within the severance is really quite small; I started to do a map highlighting the streets dominated by motorway flows but I had to abandon it as I pretty much ended up colouring in every big road and lots of smaller streets [Like Alten Rd on Constitution Hill] that never should be part of this system. And the blight often linked right through.

  • Luke C

    A lesson for Christchurch in the big dig too, large open spaces in city not easy to make work. Lots of detail still to come out there I’m sure.
    These in Christchurch aren’t trying to join city up, but contain it within small boundaries.

  • Max

    Mmmh, for some reason I can’t seem to reply to Patrick’s post above…

    Anyway, re Grafton Gully. I think we should really streamline the system – accept that there needs to be a serious road link to the ports, but reduce the crazy way it affects all the local roads too. In the City Centre Masterplan, there’s some thought about lowering it into a trench or tunnel to go through the future Quay park development. I’d like that – then we could restore more human roads on the surface (sadly it’s going to cost a lot of money and I really don’t want to encourage NZTA to spend billions right now fixing what they spent billions putting there…)

    • Max if you reply higher you the thread it will be added at the bottom of the last comment…

      Yes NZTA and AC are looking at this, it was always NZTA’s plan to keep taking their excellent work further down the gully…. As it happens I have had my own amatuerish play with this and it is an incredibly difficult problem- entirely of their own making as you point out. I plan to do a post on it but basically; you can spend a billion dollars here no trouble and not change a huge amount, restore a bit of civility to the gully, a bit that is, ruin a few places downstream a little more, but in no way transform anything. So my conclusion will be; please, please, spend that money on the CRL and then we can actually start to reduce blight on these motorway raped places in the city permanently.

      Of course i don’t have all the data [can you get it?] but an NZTA guy told me that only 10% of the traffic through here is to and from the port! But of course much of that is big semi trailers so I think that figure is a little misleading in terms of impacts. In the same conversation he said that it would be good to send more freight on the rail line but we can’t because of the needs of passenger rail!, to which i said then we should build an extra track on the Eastern Line then and he just shrugged and pulled a face and said they can’t think about about that….

      There you go: not a Transport Agency just a highway builder…..

      • Max

        Yes, it’s a bit (okay, plenty) screwed up that our government excluded rail from NZTA’s remit*. I can understand that for ports and airports to a degree (they use a different place to travel in after all), but really, rail and road are in the same space, and compete and interact and combine – they SHOULD be handled together.

        Anyway, will respond to your separate query in a while, yes would be interested.

        *Similarly, I asked – for IPENZ Transportation Group – during the supercity setup that KiwiRail gets a non-voting seat on Auckland Transport’s table. Just like NZTA does. Nope, they didn’t want that either.

        • Patrick Reynolds

          Yes the money NZTA spends comes from the National LAND Transport Fund. What are trains then; very low flying planes?

          It just reflects the mode bias of the government. A government that will use the expression ‘Multi-Modal’ at every PR opportunity. A mode bias that is in no small part because of total capture of their policy by the road lobby.

      • Max

        Oh, and I would say that 10% trucks have at least 40%-50 of the total impact in terms of emissions and noise. Just a guess, but I am pretty sure of it. Amusingly, I remember that on my second or third date with my partner, we walked down from Grafton, down along the gully to the ferries to go on a trip. It was pretty arkward, because it was so loud on Stanley Street we couldn’t even talk!

        By the way, trucks would also, at a guess, do 80% in terms of road damage. Power of four – double the axle load of a vehicle, and the road damage increase is times 16. Quadruple it (and how many trucks have more than 4 times the axle load of a private car – plenty) and each 1 truck does as much damage as 256 cars. And so on…

        • Patrick Reynolds

          Yes which is why any sensible city or country would have a policy of facilitating this traffic onto the rail network, but here, under the pretence of a free marke, ‘invisible hand’ we subsidise road freight and manage the destruction of the rail network.

  • Naina

    Talking about severence city in the context of tranport network, I just can’t seem to figure out the justification of ramp signalling! NZTA on the website claims that “Ramp signals – traffic lights at on-ramps that manage the rate at which vehicles move down the ramp and onto the motorway – help improve traffic flows and safety on the motorway, while enabling more consistent speeds, safer merging and more predictable travel times.” They further claim that that this has overall had a positive impact of the motorway flow..Really??? I so far have not obeserved/experienced this and even if it has (maybe by a marginal amount), it looks like NZTA while busy making tunnels have really adopted a tunnel vision assessment of traffic flows. While improvement in motorway flow and flow along key routes is clearly a desirable outcome, I believe that it is important to establish whether this is due to a reduction in traffic volume or to displacement of traffic. If due to traffic displacement (which is the case in Auckland), it will be important to determine where this is occurring and what impact it may be having on the local population. For example, the advent of traffic light controlled motorway on-ramps appears to have resulted in some areas in Auckland with traffic backing up locally and impacting on residents and people attending educational and other institutions in the area. Exposed people may include residents, elderly people living in rest homes, people in hospitals, children attending early childcare centres and schools, people working in the area, children and adults using local parks and those undertaking leisure activities in the area etc. The impacts of concern are likely to include increased noise, adverse impacts on pedestrian safety, and increased exposure to air pollution; all of these parameters should be measured or modelled as appropriate to provide meaningful exposure data. The population most likely to be adversely impacted should also be determined. In general, young developing children, elderly, adults with chronic disease and pregnant women tend to suffer the most profound adverse effects on health, although poor air quality has been found to have adverse impacts on all members of the population. So to me it seems that ramp signalling is causing more harm in both short and long term. I personally rather have a congested motorway then congested local roads where people live, work and our children play. But a congested motorway does not need to happen if we take whole system approach that includes well-connected public tranport and the impact of any plans, developments on the whole population and the environment. But ofcourse this would be just too sensible and I am sure NZTA would rather pay lots of public money to consultants to create problems than to solve any.

    • Ramp signals are simply the result of NZTA’s narrow focus on conditions on their ‘assets’; what happens elsewhere is only given lip service. They are not really a transport agency but a State Highway agency; plus a little PR. The institution did grow out of the National Roads Board after all.

      Of course there should be a Whole System approach, and not just road system, but a whole Transport Systems approach… by investing more cleverly in PT and rail and sea freight we could save billions on uneconomic SH spending…. maybe not; but we will never know, it isn’t ever properly examined. But this is only the agency’s fault to some degree; it is them doing as they are told by their bone headed masters… they’re only ‘following orders’ after all…. and how long this sorry state of affairs continues depends how we vote….

    • Coincidentally i found myself at a presentation of the Joint Transport Operations Center (JTOC) on wednesday, which is a partnership between NZTA and Auckland Transport. JTOC’s aim is to get the best usage out of the highway systems and local roads of auckland – a quiet success of the new supercity amalgamation as before the local roads and highway were run separately.

      The point of the ramp signals is to keep the motorway flowing, if it doesn’t flow then the onramp queues actually get longer because there is no space for cars to get on. JTOC employs staff who manage and adjust the ramp signals with a systemic overview, its not just a static dumb system, it is actively managed. Removing ramp signals would send all those cars onto the motorway without moderation, then they would all try and merge at once and 2 lanes of motorway would slow to crawling pace. Management systems like this allow use to get more use out of our hardware.

      On another note, i am very interested to see what projects your students come up with. Keep us posted.

      • Hi Alastair, thanks for dropping by.

        I am not objecting to management of the traffic volumes on the SH network, especially when it is really coordinated with concern for the local system too and the JTOC is a good thing and as you say a positive thing to come out of the Super City. But my point remains that NZTA is a national agency focussed almost exclusively on providing and maintaining State Highways above all else, and is not charged with finding and funding transport solutions from a mode neutral perspective and nor does it take sufficient responsibility for the effects of its work on place as opposed to movement [and then generally only of the vehicle kind]. Grafton Gully is a stark example of this.

        As I also said above this what the gov wants them to be so I am not accusing individuals of anything so much as criticising the current set up with a hope that this may bring about some improvement. And I am encouraged that there are signs that the old culture may be changing at NZTA a bit, or at least that some in the agency can see that things should be done better….

        Note also that the paper is not a transport planning one but an Architecture and Urban design one so they students will be addressing issues of place. Because of this they have to design around the existing major transport structures. Perhaps we should try to expand the reach of the paper next year and do a joint study with the traffic engineering students….. that might be interesting!

      • Bryce P

        Yeah, it’s much better to have the cars all backed up on residential streets instead of stopped on the motorway. It’s all in the interest of traffic flow and the motor car must not be impeded even if it means residential streets need to be over engineered to cope with the volumes on stopped backed up traffic which then leave the streets barren of people during 90% of the time (off peak and weekends) because they have to be 4 lanes wide. Exactly the opposite of what we should be doing in my opinion.

  • Bryce

    I see it has been confirmed that the Wellington St on-ramp is to be re-opened (NZ Herald). Brilliant (sarcasm)!

  • Jamie Walton

    Dear Patrick, great post. Did the bright young architects come up with anything?

  • Jamie Walton

    P.S. Perhaps a “Related Posts” link could be added to the blog posts, to help users keep up to date? (I don’t know how to do that, but I’m sure someone does.)

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