Website Update

We’re looking at the performance issues that have been affecting the website lately.

We are trying a few different things like adjusting the way caching (WP Super Cache) is done, and we have removed the sidebar from posts once you click on them from the main page. This is designed to reduce the amount of caching that is happening on the server.

Hopefully you’ll notice transportblog become more responsive as a result. Let us know in the comments if you come across anything that isn’t quite right.

IPENZ Transport Debate – The car is so last century

If you’re interested in transport and are looking for something to do tomorrow night then perhaps the annual IPENZ transport debate is just what you’re looking for.

IPENZ Transport debate 2014

I understand that Patrick is also the MC for this and I’m sure he will have lots to say about this this topic along with those debating.

Welcome new readers

If you’ve come here as a result of the Herald article then welcome. You can find the original article about how rail was saved here (has some different images to what the Herald added)

We specialise in discussions about transport and other urban issues so if you’ve ever wondered about something related to either of these then there’s a good chance we’ve covered it at some point. Ask about it in the comments and we or our regular readers can try to answer it for you and/or provide a link to posts we’ve written on the topic.

While you’re here why don’t you check out the Congestion Free Network we’ve developed. It’s a plan to deliver a network of high quality rail lines and busways across Auckland decades faster than currently planned and does so while saving around $9 billion. It’s an idea we’ve managed to get support for from a wide range of people and the council have asked Auckland Transport to investigate it further (which we understand is currently happening).

CFN 2030A

 

For existing readers something I’ve wanted to do for a while is to put together a resource that people stumbling across the site can read that covers off the key things we talk about/advocate. As such please suggest some of your favourite posts on the various topics we cover.

Last Call- TransportBlog Movie Night: Her

This is the final reminder about our upcoming fundraiser event tomorrow night at Capitol Cinema. Thanks to Campaign for Better Transport, Patrick Reynolds Photography and Odyssey Wines for joining our list of sponsors.

You can order tickets here. Some tickets (cash) will be available at the door.

poster8blog

Like last time we will meet up beforehand  at Go Go Music Cafe which is a large, hard to describe bbq restaurant upstairs and across the street from the theatre.  Anytime after 6:30 should be a good time to join everyone for dinner and/or drinks. See you tomorrow.

TransportBlog Movie Night: Her

This year Capitol Cinema has been kind to arrange a special screening of the new movie Her on 12 March at 8PM (doors). Her has been getting a rave reviews around town and recently picked up a gong at the Oscars for Best Original Screenplay.

Like last time, we’ll arrange a place to meet up before the event (suggestions welcome). Here are a couple photos from the event by @bythemotorway. In addition to supporting the blog this is a great event to meet others in the interesting milieu that is Dominion Road.

Capitol

Peak congestion.

theatre2

Capitol Cinema, Auckland.

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You can order tickets here. Group tickets and physical tickets (cash) can be arranged.  Big thanks to Isthmus for joining our growing  list of sponsors.

TransportBlog Movie Night: Her

We are pleased to announce the second TransportBlog movie night. This year Capitol Cinema has been kind to arrange a special screening of the new movie Her on 12 March at 8PM (doors).

Set in the Los Angeles of the slight future, “Her” follows Theodore Twombly, a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive entity in its own right, individual to each user.

Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha,” a bright, female voice, who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other.

Print

You can order tickets here. Group tickets and physical tickets (cash) can be arranged. We’ll provide more details about the event over the next few days.

CFN presentation to the AT Board

In my post yesterday about the AT board meeting I omitted discussing one crucial agenda item – although I’m sure some of you picked up on it. It was

Presentation by Cycle Action, Generation Zero and Transport Blog on cycling Auckland

Both we and Cycle Action Auckland were invited late last year by the board to present to them on the Congestion Free Network and on Cycling. Both us and CAA believe there are huge synergies to be had between PT and cycling and so we agreed to combine our presentations into one (for which we were also given additional time than had we done them separately).

I also have to say a huge thanks to Lance Wiggs and his wife Su Yin for heroically helping us last minute to vastly improve the presentation.

You can see the presentation here (7MB) but as you will see it has a lot of photos and not a lot of text.

Worlds Best City

The general thrust behind the presentation was that

  • Auckland has the right ingredients to make it one of the best cities in the world. What we need to do now is make that a reality and make Auckland more liveable.
  • On top of that there are a lot of great things going on already with the likes of Wynyard, shared spaces, electrification, integrated ticketing/fares, new bus network etc.
  • That we are at a tipping point, we’re seeing trends change with less people choosing to drive and more opting for PT, walking and cycling.
  • That investments in a more liveable city are already paying off e.g. in Fort St where Hospitality spending is up 400% since the shared spaces were created.
  • That the CFN builds on what AT is doing and does so primarily by re-prioritising the projects they already have.
  • That the CFN is much cheaper than what is currently planned which will reduce/remove the need for much of the funding shortfall that the council will need to find.
  • That the impact of the CFN can be greatly boosted by improving cycling (not just about feeding the CFN though).
  • That improvements to PT, walking and cycling can make it easier for kids to get to school, thereby helping to improve traffic.
  • That this is also what other cities are doing. As Patrick says, if a city like New York can do this stuff with the demand for space that they have then we certainly can.
  • That it doesn’t have to be done with expensive road widening.
  • That the boards leadership is needed to help make these improvements and that ultimately they are the ones responsible for/have the control to make Auckland the world’s best city.

The presentation was well received and we had a number of comments from board members afterwards saying they thought it was done very well. I could also definitely see a few of them nodding in agreement with what we were saying.

Perhaps one of the funnier moments was that we had talked about how parking needs to be addressed and that in some cases it should be removed. At the end of the presentation it was mentioned that a group from Freemans Bay were in the audience and who might disagree with us however they also approached us saying how much they agree. They could see that by improving the PT network we have that less people would want to or need to drive to inner suburbs to park their cars on residential streets (also known as hide and ride).

All up we were very happy with the outcome and the main thing is it is something that will be in the back of the minds of AT board members who will shortly be having internal discussions about their future strategy.

Now we just need to work out who we should talk to next, perhaps we should also try to present to the NZTA board (I know at least some have already heard about it).

Update: Google Drive doesn’t seem to be playing very nice with the images so have used Dropbox instead. Links updated or click here.

Lots on this weekend

The screening of The Human Scale along with the Pecha Kucha night has unfortunately been cancelled due to high winds with the organisers looking to reschedule the screening in March.

However if you are in the area and want something to do another event in the area is still going ahead. From 7-8pm our very own Patrick will be talking about transport and urban issues including the Congestion Free Network. It is being held inside the six-pack silos. Tickets are needed to ensure the place isn’t overcrowded but they are free.

WORLD’S EDGE is excited to bring you one of New Zealand’s foremost photographers of architecture and a leading contributor behind the transportblog.co.nz  – Patrick Reynolds.

Join us for what should be an insightful glimpse into how we interact with our built environment as Patrick shares his perspective on Innovation in Urbanism.

Worlds Edge

There are a few other things on this weekend.

Tomorrow there is also the Big Day Out. If you are attending make sure you plan how you’re going to get there.

On Saturday Auckland Transport are opening the new Panmure station with a public open day – only you can’t get there by train.

Panmure Station Opening

On Sunday there is the Auckland Ironman 70.3 which will result in a number of road closures including lanes on the harbour bridge and the Northern Busway.

The Human Scale at Silo Park

Interested in urban issues, not attending the Big Day Out and looking for something to do next Friday night? Then have I got the thing for you. At 8:30pm The Human Scale will be screening at Silo Park

The Human Scale

50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050 this will increase to 80%. Life in a mega city is both enchanting and problematic; today we face issues surrounding peak oil, climate change, loneliness and severe health concerns due to our way of life. Danish Architect and professor Jan Gehl tries to explain why, combining his understanding of urban design and a 40-year study of human behaviour in cities. After a successful season at the Internation Film Festival in New Zealand, Silo Cinema has teamed up with Pecha Kucha Auckland to screen an unmissable film which speaks directly to the issues Auckland is facing as the population is tipped to hit two million by 2030.

Before the movie there will also be a Pecha Kucha night with the talkers/topics being:

Dr. Stephen Rainbow // General Manager Strategy, Waterfront Auckland // great design, sustainability and commercial development

James Samuel // Food Forest NZ // Urban food: creative and fun

Bevan Woodward // Project Director, Sky Path // The SkyPath and the plan to transform Auckland into a cycle-friendly, walkable city

Alastair Jamieson // Ecologist and photographer // The volcanoes in our backyard

Julie Anne Genter // Transport planner and Green MP // Improving the user-friendliness of Auckland

It should be a good night and when I checked recently most of the TransportBlog team were planning on attending. Hopefully the weather is good.

2013: A year in review – Part 4

In the final part of my year in review – and which counts as the last post of the year I’m going to look back on the blog.

I think it’s fair to say that this has been a massive year for the blog from pretty much any measure you look at (and plenty of things that can’t be measured). We’ve seen the number of people reading and interacting with the blog increase throughout the year. Here are some stats for the year:

  • We’ve published 794 posts (including this one) an average of just over 2 per day. That’s almost exactly 100 posts more than we published in 2012 (695)
  • We’ve had ~36,000 comments, about 14,000 more than 2012
  • We’ve had about 1.9 million page views, up from about 1.2 million in 2012. That’s an average of over 5,100 per day. The graph below shows the number of page views we’ve had each month

Blog 2013 page views

The thing that I personally have been most proud of this year has to have been the Congestion Free Network. We came up with the idea as we didn’t like the direction the official plans were heading and we wanted to show that it is possible to have a high quality and extensive core PT network made up of rail lines and bus ways. We carefully costed it out using information gathered from official reports or similar projects that have been built in the city so that we could comfortably say that wouldn’t cost the earth to build compared with what is currently planned. We also engaged with our friends at Generation Zero who helped to design the maps and other graphics for the CFN, they have also helped to push the idea far and wide. However I think the thing that has resonated most with people is not so much the details but that it actually creates a vision for Auckland that they can understand, relate to and get behind.

Since we launched it, Patrick or I have given numerous presentations about the CFN to a wide variety of audiences from government ministers down to industry conferences to local community groups. The one thing that has perhaps surprised me the most about it all has been the positive comments and support that we’ve had from most people about the idea, particularly those in the industry which has included numerous people in the even the construction and freight industries (including the agreement we need to cut back on road building). It was also heartening to see earlier in the month three separate councillors mention the CFN completely unprompted when the debate about the East-West link came to the councils Infrastructure Committee.

Over 2014 you can definitely expect to hear more about the CFN as we’ve been asked to present on it to the Auckland Transport Board in February as they get ready to go through the process of a new Integrated Transport Plan.

CFN 2030A

To everyone, thanks so much for reading (and interacting) with the blog. I hope you all have a happy and safe New Year and I look forward to 2014.

Note: tomorrow I’ll give a rundown of some of the big things we can expect from 2014.

I’d just like to add a big thanks and round of applause for Matt who has been shouldering the the bulk of the post writing and moderating work here. He has also proved himself to be a very insightful analyst and chartologist of urban and transport trends in this most interesting of times. I’m sure the rest of the team share this sentiment, well done Matt, you’re helping make Auckland a better place- cheers Patrick.