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Cartoon history of transport

A week or so ago, in a comment on his own guest post, NCD alerted us to this cartoon which I thought was brilliant. It is from French cartoonist Jean-Jacques Sempé and is from 1962 yet still seems relevant today.

26 comments to Cartoon history of transport

  • Make It Go

    If only we could get Mr Jones in Auckland to ride a bike…

  • We’ll have to get an updated cartoon after flying cars become the norm!

  • Actually, this “cartoon history” shows very well what happens as cities develop. For towns and smaller cities, the history stops at the third image. A good example of why decentralisation is best.

    • Yeah Geoff those centralised cities like Paris really are the worst.

    • Luke C

      Hamilton has really bad traffic congestion, so have to be much smaller than that. So should we all live in towns of 20,000? If those towns were less than 50km apart still would have terrible traffic as people would have to drive to adjacent towns for a variety of work, shopping, lifestyle etc. Sounds like the worst of both worlds to me.

      • Luke E

        Hamilton had bad congestion? Sorry if it’s obvious, but please tell me you’re being sarcastic.

        • Luke C

          Maybe overstating the really bad bit, but the point is that most cities have traffic jams, and Hamilton is terribly auto dependent. Even Feilding has a traffic jam from 5pm to 5.10pm everyday.

        • Not particularly sarcastic, actually. Sure it’s not on a scale like Auckland, but Hamilton only has about 15% of Auckland’s population (if that). Try and traverse through the city north-south in the early evening and it can turn what’s ordinarily a 15-minute drive into double that.
          Hamilton is quite sprawly for a small city, and although its bus services have improved dramatically from the once-an-hour-and-nothing-after-7pm experience I “enjoyed” as a teen living there in the early-mid-1990s it’s still very heavily automobile-centric. It has pretty serious congestion issues for its population size, and some of the traffic queues I’ve experienced would be right at home in Auckland; 10 minutes to make it through one set of traffic lights, for example.

          • Luke E

            Hamilton’s traffic can be heavy in some areas, particularly State Highway One, but elsewhere it clears very quickly, for rush hour at least. It does back up yes, but travel times don’t dramatically increase (in my opinion, and I’ve driven all over the city at rush hour). There are delays in Wairere Drive, but that’s because of it’s ongoing construction.

            Most of Hamilton’s traffic issues aren’t caused by it’s residents, anyway, they’re a product of the commuters from the satellite towns, like Cambridge, Te Awamutu, Raglan, Ngaruawahia, Huntly etc. All but Raglan are on or near a railway line, and Hamilton has an unused underground CBD station, and plenty of places more stations could be installed. Lots of potential for decent intra-regional PT (not that I’ll hold my breath).

            But yes, the city of the future is definitely auto-dependent at the moment.

  • Lukes – does Hamilton even have a CBD? I’m being serious – I know it has a retail area, but does anyone actually go into the centre and sit in an office building? My recollection of Hamilton architecture is of a museum over looking the Waikato at one end of town, and some shops, but nothing else except car yards – is that correct? I do find it hard to connect Hamilton with this Parissian cartoon….

    • Bryce P

      The Hamilton link came about from Geoff’s assertion that the 3rd cartoon image suits NZ’s smaller cities and that decentralisation is the way forward.

      • And it’s a view with a simple answer; if that’s his taste he should move to one of the many small towns this country has instead of wasting his energy trying to argue that the one city of scale should have an inappropriate form, ie that of a different sized place. Cities need city shaped and city sized thinking to work well. Of course they aren’t for everyone, and for those that find them too big the range of smaller options is very broad.

    • Hamilton absolutely has a CBD. Many mid- and high-rise office blocks within the area bounded by Hood Street/Rostrevor Street (south-north) and Anglesea Street and the river (west-east), plus a small cluster just across the river south of Bridge Street. Its CBD is more defined than Auckland’s.

      • Luke E

        Indeed, and many new multi-storey office blocks are under construction at the moment, or have recently been finished. Fonterra, Genesis, IRD, both local councils, Telecom, PWC, KPMG, and more all have offices in Hamilton’s CBD

  • jaywocky

    Paris has a great system of municipal bicycles with stands of a dozen or so near main tourist attractions.

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