In the past the use of our streets wasn’t so defined as it is today. Sure there were footpaths however people, cars, trams and even horse drawn carts all had equal access to the road. The image below of Queen St in 1922 shows this well, after all can you imagine the reaction you would get today if a group of guys decided to stop for a chat in one of the traffic lanes on Queen St.
Queen Street, Auckland. Smith, Sydney Charles, 1888-1972 : Photographs of New Zealand. Ref: 1/2-046201-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23203589
But over time we went from this and turned over as much of our streets as possible to the movement of cars. For the reason why, I believe the answer lies partly in human nature and partly in the saying “you can only manage what you can measure”. For the former the car is meant to represent freedom, the ability to go where you want and when you want so I doubt there is a single person who gets behind the wheel of a car and enjoys it when they held up as it goes against the very dream upon which cars were sold to us on.
As more and more people took to driving, there became increasing problems with congestion. In an attempt to solve that congestion traffic engineers looked at ways of increasing the amount of road space available, taking over road space that was once used by everyone and devoting it solely to the movement of vehicles. I believe that one of the key ways they were able to do this is because they realised how important it was to count traffic. The engineers were able to fairly accurately point out just how much traffic there was and how fast it was growing. Over time the movement of as many vehicles as possible became the most important aspect and justification for nibbling away at the pedestrian environment for which there was no such usage information.
But why was there no information about the pedestrian environment? I suspect there are two reasons. The first being that we forgot that a street isn’t just a place for movement from A to B but that it is a place for interaction and activity. In effect we took it for granted that we could change the quality of it but that the use of it would stay the same. We also didn’t have any way to measure the pedestrian use of a street. In fact up until recently the only way to really get a feeling for how many people using a street was to hire a whole bunch of people and have them manually count every single person. As you can imagine that isn’t a cheap proposition so it can only be done very infrequently which means counts are subject to issues like weather, special events or other influences.
Thankfully that is now starting to change. Just over a year ago, Heart of The City (HoTC) in conjunction with the Auckland Council started installing automatic pedestrian counters in various locations throughout the city. Here is the press release from the time.
We are excited to announce that we are taking real steps towards understanding how people use the Auckland City Centre at all times of the day with our new high tech counting equipment. The new 24/7 monitoring system charts pedestrian numbers and provides meaningful performance data to assist property owners and retailers and track the impact of events and other activities that occur in the city.
The previous ‘snapshot’ system provided data gathered on a Wednesday in mid-October every year – rain, hail or shine. Of course the weather, or road works or a cruise ship or even a blockbuster sale all had huge impacts on the results. but a lot can happen over a year in such a vibrant place like the City Centre, so getting better data was essential.
With this new technology, we now have automated pedestrian counts on a 24/7 basis, which enables us to better understand the pedestrian numbers at any time or day of the year, and compare current and long term trends in the City Centre.
Understanding pedestrian counts is also key determinant for setting rental values, as well assisting businesses in determining where they want to locate, and even their opening hours.
On Saturday 17 March when the city centre hosted both the Volvo Ocean Race and St Patrick’s Day celebration, pedestrian numbers at the bottom of Queen Street increased by 63% on the previous four Saturdays.
Four locations in the City Centre have the automated counting technology – three in Queen Street and one in High Street. The data is instantly sent back over the 3G network to a server at HOTCity offices, where ‘real time reports’ can be downloaded over the web at any time. Heart of the City members will be the first to see the counts.
One of the important ways of keeping a tab on a city centre’s progress is to monitor and report on pedestrian foot traffic. The system is already proving it’s worth and we hope, in partnership with others, to be able to expand the number of locations over time to cover the whole City Centre.
HoTC are able to get some very detailed data from these devices and since that press release have added three more sites to the network. They eventually intend to have 15 of them scattered around the city centre and they have been publishing a summary of the data collected on their website. The current locations are:
Note: 205 Queen St hasn’t been updated on the map yet
One of the things I like about the summary data provided is that HoTC show the average Weekday, Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday counts which means that the numbers aren’t subject to the changes in the calendar like we have with the PT stats. Here are the average weekday pedestrian counts (excluding public holidays).
This shows quite nicely just how many more pedestrians are walking up and down Queen St every day compared to the other streets in the CBD. The numbers suggest that depending on which part of Queen St you look at, pedestrian volumes tend to range from 45,000-60,000 people per day. It is also surprising that Darby St seems to have better pedestrian volumes than High St – although admittedly it is compared to the worst end of High St. Unfortunately we can’t compare these Queen St pedestrian volumes with vehicle numbers as the last traffic count that I can find for it was done in 2004 which was before the upgrade which delivered significant improvements to pedestrian priority. Back then there were around 20,000 vehicles per day using the road but I suspect it is much less now.
Here are the volumes for Saturdays
And here are Sundays.
I have left out Public Holidays as they are obviously a bit more sporadic.
Overall this is a great development and I hope we eventually see more around not just the CBD but in other areas too. It’s just a shame that we didn’t have these counters sooner, how great would have been great to be able to see the impact that the various upgrades have had?
I have been keeping an eye on these numbers for a while and post them more regularly from on.
This a guest post by Tim Kvingedal, a student at the School of Architecture, University of Auckland. Tim is from Norway.
I´ve been living in central Auckland for 11 months now, and you know what? I’m getting sick of waiting for cars. Every time I step out of my flat I feel like I’m wasting my time and this is why I did this research.
First a little backdrop of the situation in Auckland
Tim K 2
This map shows all parking, which is run by the big companies like Wilson etc., in Auckland CBD. The ones marked with letters are all multi storey car parks and the red dots are “smaller” ones on the ground. You can also add all the parking that belongs to private offices, shops etc. There are so many parking spots but still not enough for the ridiculous amount of cars. So we need more car parks, you say? Well, if you want to dig your own grave, the answer is yes. If you’re more interested in making Auckland work as a well functioning city in the future public transport is the answer, and by public transport I first of all mean train.
Lets do a quick assessment of what kind of work cars and train are doing best. Well, one single railway has about twelve times more capacity than a single motorway lane. This means that you can ship a large amount of people in and out of the city centre ten times more efficient than a car would do.
On average there are 1.2 people in each car going in and out of Auckland CBD. This means that there is a lot of space wasted to get 1.2 people from A to B. The car is also running on fossil fuels and will pollute a whole lot more than an eco friendly electric train. What the train cannot do is to take you to rural places like your bach, which are miles away from the rail lines. So the car is good at transporting you out from urban places whereas the train is good at taking you in and out of the cities.
For my research I decided to see how much time I wasted on a single trip from my apartment in Union Street to Countdown grocery store next to Queen Street. This should be a 10 minute walk with 7 intersections. Lets see what happened:
I only need to walk 20 meters before my first red man. I started the stopwatch. 30 seconds, 1 minute, still no sign of the green man. So what do you do? Call a friend? Well, with all that traffic noise there’s no point in calling anyone. Better do nothing. So finally, after 1 minute 45s I’m allowed to cross.
I walk up Hobson Street and I spot this gap between two buildings. This is not the only one I’ve seen, Auckland is filled with these gaps and most of them are used for ‘temporary’ car parks. In this gap it looks like it´s one lucky car that found this secret little spot with great view.
The thing about these gaps is that people don’t see them, except people that are in a cars looking for a car park. The street life desperately needs these gaps to be filled, because they’re puncturing the whole experience of walking down the street and being activated by the programmes in the surrounding buildings.
This particular spot would be great for a café or what about just putting a big cow there to activate people walking down the street and open their eyes for that gap and what kind of potential it has.
I start walking again and I see people running like crazy to cross the street before the green man disappears. They simply don’t want to waste their time waiting for cars to cross.
So after a couple of red men and one lucky green I’m standing next to Auckland’s biggest wound, the gap next to Elliot Street. Not surprisingly this is used for parking cars, and this is just devastating for the area. Again, why not do something to activate the area before they start building there? There is already one carousel so yeah let’s have a temporary mini amusement park. Think of all the joy this will spread out to the area. Kids laughing, music, the smell of popcorn. I mean anything is better for the city than another car park.
Another thing that fascinates me when I’m walking are all the cars popping out of buildings like Jack in the box.
As a pedestrian I almost constantly have to be aware of that there might be a car coming out of this slot. It’s not that it’s really dangerous but you still have to be aware of it all the time. On my way home I clocked how long time I’d spent on passing these car slots.
This picture sums up the feeling as a pedestrian with all this cars popping out. It’s a battle:
It’s not just the cars crossing the pedestrian lane that is annoying, but also that the pedestrian lane itself sometimes disappear! There is no marking and no lights telling you when you can cross. So I guess if I want to follow the traffic rules I better go back and try another way?
So after crossing 14 intersections in total I’m home again and these are the stats from the walk:
So thanks to the auto-dominant nature of Auckland I will have wasted 91 hours of my time this year just to buy groceries.
And I’m not sure it’s working out so well for all the drivers either…
About 5 years ago what was then the Hyatt Hotel (since renamed the Pullman Hotel) underwent major renovations, which involved adding some apartments on the northern side of the building and rebuilding their frontage with Princes Street.
The location of the hotel is shown below, on the north-eastern corner of the intersection of Princes and Waterloo Quadrant.
Then something very strange happened – a verandah pole encased in plywood boxing was plonked right in the middle of the footpath on Princes Street, as illustrated below.
At the time it happened the whole arrangement looked so mediocre I assumed that it had to be temporary. As years passed, however, I have reluctantly come to realise that the pole and associated box were a permanent feature of Auckland’s pedestrian environment.
This, I suggest, is problematic.
The first issue is that the pole and box together block a good proportion of the footpath, which at that point is quite narrow due to the presence of a post box and street tree. The second issue is that the top of box have sharp corners that sit at head/eye height for a slightly shorter than average person. The third and final issue is that it’s just plain ugly.
So I contacted the Pullman Hotel and raised the issue with them. To which they responded:
I am just following up on your expressed concern to me on the 07/08/2012 about the boxing surrounding a beam connected to our hotel which is blocking a part of the pathway on Princes Street.
I have been in contact with the hotels Director of Engineering in regards to this and he has informed me that when the hotel was originally operated under Hyatt the boxing was a temporary supporting. However during the change of ownership the boxing was given consent and the council approved for it to stay there permanently.
I appreciate your concerns and can understand where you are coming from in retrospect of this, however as this has not directly affected anyone at this stage there are no plans in the near future for this to be removed.
If you do have further queries in regards to your concerns, please feel free to contact the city council directly.
The points in bold are quite important. The first point is an acknowledgement that it was intended as a temporary arrangement. The second point is an assertion the pole and box “has not directly affected anyone at this stage.”
Which seems odd – because it obviously affected me enough to raise the issue i the first place. I suspect the box has also affected many more people over the last 5 years, even if they have not bothered to raise the issue with the hotel.
So anyway, later in August 2012 I followed the advice of the Pullman Hotel and followed up with Auckland Transport. On the 6 September their feedback coordinator replied with the following email:
Thank you for contacting us about the Verandah pole outside the Pullman Hotel on Princess Street. While we had hoped to provide you with an update by this time, our investigation is taking longer than initially anticipated. We apologise for the delay and you can expect to receive an update by mid-September.
As you’re probably aware September 2012 has well and truly come and gone, as have another 6-7 months, and I’ve still not yet received any further information from Auckland Transport, despite me sending a follow-up email to clarify what the status of my complaint was.
So having demonstrated what I think is a reasonable amount of patience (~5 years since the box went in and more than 8 months since I first raised the issue with the Pullman) I think it’s time for me to simply come up with my own version of how the situation has unfolded:
The original designs for the verandah screwed up by placing the pole in the footpath, when a much cleaner – albeit more expensive – solution would have been to anchor the support to the side of the building. Someone at the Pullman/Hyatt Hotel then managed to pull the wool over the former Auckland City Council’s eyes by convincing them it would not be a major issue if the temporary verandah support was a permanent fixture. Meanwhile, Auckland Transport / Auckland Council are paralysed by this situation because consent has obviously be granted in error. And instead of being proactive about resolving the issue they are hoping that it quietly disappears off the radar.
As an aside, I think the attitude of the Pullman Hotel in response to this issue demonstrates a disregard for the public realm. I can’t escape the irony that as soon as you walk through the door to their hotel (which is situated a mere 10m up the road from this ugly pole) you see granite paving and plush carpet. If the Pullman Hotel thinks obstructive and ugly plywood boxing is good enough for Auckland’s footpaths then it should be good enough for their foyer, in my opinion.
I’d suggest Auckland Transport’s needs to get it’s act together and engage more proactively with pedestrian issues when they are raised by members of the community. All I want is an explanation for why a private business has been able to treat the public realm with such blatant disregard.
Having raised the issue with both the Pullmand Hotel and Auckland Transport the only avenues left for me are this blog post and capitalist resistance. But that I mean encouraging all of my guests to avoid staying at the Pullman Hotel. I encourage you to do the same.
When moving around the city, the shortest way from A to B is generally in a straight line. Sometimes though, following a straight line isn’t always easy due to obstacles like buildings so you have to work your way around them and the street network is generally designed to facilitate this movement. We tend show these movement options through maps like the one below.
But in the CBD the streets aren’t always the only way to get around as there often unmarked passageways through buildings all across the city.
Land in the CBD is a premium and naturally when it gets redeveloped, the developer wants to maximise their return. That has resulted in building taller than what we have in the past giving us the skyline we have today. But their are limits to how high we can go, not so much physical limits but ones imposed by councils over the years to protect things like view shafts. Those height limits were a bit more like guidelines though, developers were able to apply for permission to build extra floors in return for providing public amenity. This amenity could come in many forms, it might be a public viewing area, a kindergarten or importantly for this post, public access through a building.
This public access can have quite an impact on if you want to get somewhere. One that I have been using a bit recently is in the Lumley centre on Shortland St. A public lift is available from an entrance off Fort St that whisks you up 8 stories almost to the top of Shortland St. That saves you not only a decent uphill trek, but depending on your destination, can save you quite a detour. With this access getting from Britomart to the top of Shortland St can be done in a matter of minutes without having to build up a sweat. The Fort St the entrance can sometimes a bit inconspicuous so I have pointed it out with an arrow.
Similar access also exists in the Vero building and people may be more familiar with the set of escalators in the neighbouring building.
These isn’t the only building that you can use to save time. For example to the south west many people know about the arcades (Midcity and The Strand) that provide a link from Queen to Elliot St. But perhaps less well known is the link through the Atrium on Elliot through to Albert St. Entering the mall you can use the escalators to rise all the way up to Albert St where you can exit through the foyer of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Once again if you don’t like hills, not that Wellesley is too bad, this can save you from having to negotiate them. If the rain is driving in it can also be a route to keep you a little bit drier.
These access ways are littered all over the city and can really help people to get around yet none of them show up on maps. It would be good to create a map of them all so in the comments lets get a list of all of them so we can do that.
The other bloggers and I have been looking at simple “piece of cake” solutions that Auckland Transport can implement to improve the quality of life for pedestrians. The idea is that the solutions can be quickly and cheaply implemented. Work is going on behind the scenes to progress the ideas raised and we will be talking more about these soon,however I wanted to share and get feedback on one of these.
The change is simple and only requires a bit of paint. What’s more we’ve already seen some examples of it cropping up in both the central city and in the suburbs so it’s not even revolutionary. The idea is to paint light-controlled pedestrian crossings red, as has been done at the recently installed pedestrian crossing on Victoria St:
The crossings painted red are much more visible than simple white lines on the road, sosurely must be better for safety. As a driver it acts as a great alert to tell you that something has changed, and you should be more cautious. That is exactly the kind of environment we want to be creating, not just in the central city but in many other places around the region. It can also work well for Barnes Dance style crossings, such as in the image below from California (I also like that the diagonal crossing is fully marked out):
The biggest problem is that over time the paint degrades due to vehicles driving over it, as you can see is starting to happen in the first image. However there are many more advantages to this idea. A frequent issue at intersections are drivers who, perhaps out of confusion, use the crossings as the vehicle limit line – stopping right on the edge of where pedestrians are walking. Painting these crossings red might help to address this issue by making it clearer which lines are specifically for the crossing. It might also assist in reducing the number of cases where people enter intersections during congestion and subsequently block them, because it would be easier to judge how much space is available.
What I really like about this change is that it can be implemented at every intersection without there having to be a debate around the priority of different modes at intersections. And lastly, I love that it adds some colour to our urban environment.
What you think? Should we paint all of our crossings red? Are there any downsides? Do you have any other simple suggestions for making existing crossings safer?
There are some great traffic engineers out there, some of whom frequent this board a lot. However, I get the feeling that there’s still a big section of that profession who would think that this is a good outcome:
From Manila in the Philippines – hat tip to Gordon Price.
It’s amazing how many discussions I’ve had with traffic engineers that result in them suggesting a pedestrian overpass or underpass around a busy road – supposedly for pedestrian safety but I think more realistically to limit delays for vehicles. Slightly more enlightened engineers will discuss the various options for trying to provide better pedestrian facilities without affecting traffic flow. It seems to take a really enlightened traffic engineer to understand that, particularly in areas with a lot of pedestrians (like the whole of Auckland’s CBD) we might actually want to negatively impact upon vehicle speeds in order to make life better for pedestrians.
The typical defence from said engineers is that they’re only trying to give effect to a policy decision made by others to maximise roading throughput. Does this excuse fly? When looking at the CBD, it seems like the policy documents have been saying forever that pedestrians are important yet we still end up with high-speed defacto motorways all over the place. I’m not entirely sure whether this excuse is valid – what do you think?
The following is a guest post by regular reader and tram and heritage aficionado; the always analogue Geoff Houtman.
Last February, the Western Bays Community Group was asked to come with a “Ponsonby Road Plan”. We have received hundreds of suggestions to the deliberately open questions,- “What would you like more of?”, “Less of?”, and “None of?”. This is the first in a series of posts based on the answers received.
Ponsonby Rd Lane Uses
Three options are presented below, incorporating those ideas relating to the Roadway. Firstly though, let’s look at what we currently have.
Ponsonby Rd is a little over a mile long (1724m) running basically North-South. The Roadway is generally 18-19 metres wide and divided into 6 or 7 lanes; the two outermost being parallel street parking, with two general traffic lanes each North and South bound and a central median designed to facilitate right hand turning at nearly every side street and intersection. There is no cycling priority at any point. And very scant bus privilege at the southern end plus the mostly mid block bus stops. Clearways operates to speed peak traffic on the section between Williamson and Crummer Rds. At its northern Three Lamps end Ponsonby Rd is one-way, just before it meets Jervois and Crummer Rds. Redmond St and the top of Pompallier Tce have also been one-wayed to handle all of Ponsonby road’s north bound traffic movements for this section.
Can we make it better? Here are three possibilities based on community suggestions.
Traffic cut to one lane each way, Cycleway runs beside the footpath with vehicle parking between it and the traffic lane, Light Rail or buses use dedicated centre lanes.
Footpaths are pushed out a lane on each side, bike lane, then parking and one lane general traffic each way, PT lanes removed, painted median/turning lanes retained.
Parking lanes contain spaced trees, one general traffic lane each way, Cycleway brackets PT lanes.
Do any of these choices seem like an improvement? Do you have any better ideas?
UPDATE: Thanks to all the commenters, based on your helpful advice an Option D has been created. The cycles lanes are now buffered from moving traffic by footpaths and combined parking/ tree lanes. A bus has been added in the PT lanes to indicate their continued viability until the next oil price rise and the possible return of light rail/ trams. On a technical note the parking lanes are now only 2m wide instead of the previous 2.5.
Yesterday’s post certainly attracted a lot of comments and a lot of great ideas about ways in which we can improve life for pedestrians in Auckland. I think most helpfully the suggestions didn’t have the CBD focus that I was perhaps worried about – with a nice geographic split. As I noted in yesterday’s post I think that our chances of success are best if we focus on a relatively small number of specific improvements rather than more general (if still justified) statements for how things can be changed.
For a start, it was interesting to see Max’s comment on the particular example given in yesterday’s blog post – a roundabout at the corner of Queenstown Road and Hendry Ave in Hillsborough:
Funny – I have literally spent dozens of hours getting AT and NZTA to fix that exact spot on the SH20 cycleway. They wouldn’t budge, even with an official CAA complaint. “Straight off the motorway, speed to high etc…” – all we managed to get was some stupidly high planting replaced with low planting to improve the sightlines.
This might be a tough one to resolve (perhaps we’ll counter-balance this with some of the others being easy) but I think it’s worth throwing whatever weight we can behind Cycle Action Auckland’s efforts to get a better result here than sending people for 120m in the wrong direction.
A next “easy win” I think is removing the “pedestrians give way to cars” signs which infest places like Henderson, instead putting in place proper pedestrian crossings. I think this is a pretty easy win as Auckland Transport have already made the change at the crossing over Railside Ave connecting the train station with the mall (just outside their head office, coincidence I wonder?) If the change is OK there I can’t see why we won’t be able to achieve the same thing around the corner on Great North Road. Are there any other spots around Auckland where these signs proliferate?
Shifting onto some changes which are more “software focused”, a few intersections were proposed in the comments as being suitable for changes to phasing or the addition of “legs” onto intersections which currently ignore the fact that pedestrians may not want to have to cross three sides of an intersection rather than just the one. For phasing I think the following:
- Barnes dance at the corner of Albert and Victoria Street (after all that’s what started off this whole discussion
- Barnes dance at the corner of Grafton Road, Park Road and Grafton Bridge
- Reducing the amount of “green time” given to vehicles going up and down Queen Street to slow them down and reallocate time to cross streets (particularly at corner with Wellesley). Same for Quay Street (especially outside Ferry Building).
And in terms of adding legs to intersections, the following seem pretty obvious:
- The Kitchener/Bowen abomination that we’ve been moaning about for quite a while
- A pedestrian leg across Beach Road on the eastern side of the intersection with Anzac Ave
- Same thing just along at the corner of Customs Street, Fort Street and Britomart Place
Some obvious locations for pedestrian crossings:
- Along Ponsonby Road (we’ll do a bit more thinking about the best locations)
- Hill Road outside the Botanic Gardens
- Along Pah Road between Greenwoods corner and Mt Albert Road
Finally, I think we ought to try and do something about this:
These are just my preliminary ideas. I know Kent has some further ideas and discussion may highlight that some of this is unrealistic, will happen anyway, needs to be rolled into something more extensive or perhaps there’s a compelling reason why what we’re suggesting wouldn’t work. Once we’ve got a list finalised we can put together a letter to Auckland Transport (copied to key politicians of course) and hopefully begin the process of making this happen.
With patronage stalling on our rail network recently, it is important that Auckland Transport do everything they can to get patronage growing once again. We are due to hear some of the potential solutions at the next AT board meeting and the list could include options like higher off-peak and weekend services, changes to fares or discounts, addressing fare evasion and improved marketing. One solution that I do hope is discussed is that of improving access to stations for those living nearby. In posts over the next week or so I am going to try and identify a few locations where the creation of walkways would dramatically improve the potential catchment of a station. The other great benefit of making these types of improvements is that it helps to connect communities, reducing the need for vehicle trips. To do this I am going to be working out how far someone can get within what is considered a typical walking catchment of 800m.
The first station I’m going to look at is out west in Ranui. The yellow circle shows the total area within 800m of the station while the blue lines are where you can walk to within 800m. Oh and before anyone comments on it, the reason a couple of the lines extend out past the 800m circle, is that I took the walking distance to be from the end of the station but the circle is based on the centre of the station.
As you can see, there are quite a few houses in the north east of the area that are actually fairly close to the station, but that don’t have easy walking access to it. So lets look at that area a little closer. I’m not sure why the two sides of Marinich Dr were never connected up, and it doesn’t even seem to be designated. I’m going to guess that the plan was to do this when the grassy section on the southern side was subdivided (the grassy areas on the northern side are a school and park). Until such time as that happens, AT should investigate building a pedestrian and cycling walkway between the two road ends. A quick count suggests that such a connection would increase the number of dwellings within an 800m walk by about 80. Further to this, many dwellings that were previously within the 800m catchment would become a lot closer.
Carrying on from that connection I looked further to the North East to see if we could fill in some more of the gaps. Perhaps a bit more expensive than the previous connection, if AT were to buy some of the land from the edges of a few the sections at the end of Cameron Pl and Alton Pl, a walkway could be created which would mean another 30 dwellings would have easy walking access to the station.
I also looked in the north west direction to see if I could find some improvements there. The church on Swanson Rd has a carpark behind it, the back corner of which is very close to the end of Edwin Freeman Pl. Being a church it is not likely to be used as much during the day, so perhaps AT could come to some arrangement with them to create a walkway through to the road. Doing so would add roughly another 20 dwellings to the list.
So all up that is potentially an extra 130 dwellings that could be given much easier access to the station. Based on the population in the area, that would mean as many as 450 extra people who could more easily use the train. Even if you could get 10% of them to do so, that would mean tens of thousands of additional rail trips per year. Here is a map with the 800m catchment if AT were to implement the suggestions above. The red is the first suggestion of the Marinich connection while the other two are in green.
Lastly there are also clearly a couple of sizeable areas of land south of the station that are starting to be developed. AT need to ensure that these are developed in a way that makes it as easy as possible for people to walk to the station.
Within the rather robust comments thread which accompanied this post on pedestrian safety I suggested that perhaps a constructive thing we could do on this blog is identify a few really simple improvements around Auckland (perhaps with a focus on the city centre but not necessarily) which would improve life for pedestrians. Some of these improvements may have a safety benefit, some might just treat pedestrians as something a little better than the “scum of the earth” approach that Auckland’s road designs and management typically take. Sorting out things like this:However, this time we won’t just be highlighting a massive number of situations where huge changes – likely to take years to implement – should happen (although absolutely we need to fundamentally change the way we view pedestrians when designing transport infrastructure). This time we actually want to make change happen. So we’re going to be as constructive as we can possibly be – to work with Auckland Transport, the Local Boards, NZTA (if necessary) and whoever else needs to be involved to make these changes happen.
2013 is also obviously a local government election year, and we think that perhaps the time pressure of politicians wanting to see stuff happen might be a useful ally in our goals here. So we’re looking at specific, quick, cheap, easy changes that can create a noticeable benefit for pedestrians in particular. Things like adding crossing legs onto intersections, removing a particularly nasty slip-lane, changing the phasing of traffic lights to a ‘Barnes Dance’, adding in a pedestrian crossing in a particularly necessary location and other things like that. Perhaps if we pluck out the best five ideas, being as specific as possible about the necessary change and the justification for it, we just might see some of this stuff happen.
And of course, we will follow up on progress and we will shower praise where positive change occurs. Let’s find those “piece of cake” pedestrian improvements and make them happen.