Fear and loathing on Tamaki Drive

Despite being a Wellingtonian I’ll confess that I’ve driven on Tamaki Drive many times before. And my anecdotal experience has been that it’s not the latte-and-lycra cyclists on their bikes-that-cost-more-than-cars that are causing road rage. It’s the hundreds of other cars banked up behind each other. A bike pelaton moving along at 35 km an hour is hardly likely to slow down a car stuck in traffic and moving at 25 km an hour? The only rage they cause is to the cafe-goers sitting quietly down to a coffee when 30 cyclists all drop by en masse to order their long blacks.

$4.27 per km – this is what a new walker saves the health system

And it’s $2.14 per km for cyclists, according to a new NZTA report.

Only half of this amount for established walkers and cyclists, but still, it’s had me totting up my dollars contributed to the economy as I walk to the supermarket or down the hill to town. And Arlo Guthrie keeps whispering in my ear, “Just imagine if fifty people a day in this suburb decided to walk instead of drive to walk each day. Fifty people a day! My friends, you may think it’s a movement, and it is, the get fit and healthy, destress, avoid parking hassle and save us all money walk everywhere movement.”

And how long until these figures of active transport as an economic benefit start working their way into the transport planning departments in our local and national organisations? It’s worth mentioning in your submission to your Long Term Community Council Plan. And it shows how daft is a GDP model that includes lack of fitness and its health burdens as an economic positive.

Missed Public Transport Opportunity

Missed Public Transport Opportunity

Civic leaders ignore need for high quality public transport system

While the economy crashes around us and the International Oil Agency warns of fuel shortages, the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor plan reserves the big dollars for roading enhancements and tunnels, rather than for a high quality public transport system.

Greater Wellington Regional Councillor Paul Bruce said that it was at the same time appalling and ironic, that while passing the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan, the Committee also received the Annual Monitoring Report which highlighted increased accident rates and greenhouse emissions from private cars. It also showed the lack of good public transport and safe cycle way alternatives.

Go to


Report 5, Recommended Ngauranga-Wellington Airport Corridor Plan

Members of the Public will be protesting the Council’s apparent disregard for their submissions to the Plan, lack of public transport capacity, the chronic levels of safety for cyclists and walkers, and the miss-allocation of resources to new road capacity. The demonstration will be held outside GW offices at 12.30pm on Friday 31st October this week.

Cr Bruce says the new Regional Transport Committee was unable to pick up the ball,
despite advice from special interest representatives for an immediate shift in investment towards a high quality public transport system. The majority of public submissions on the Plan urged the inclusion of light rail, and criticised roading expenditure. A feasibility study for light rail had been done in the early 90s, and thus GW had a head start, along with a clear mandate from the Public to get on with it.

On the positive side, the Corridor plan supports passenger transport improvements measures along the golden mile, bus priority measures on arterial routes, and better walking and cycling connections between local networks reflecting support for the Great Harbour Way Walking and Cycle proposal.

However, Cr Bruce who is on the GW Transport and Access Committee, said that investment in public transport should have been accelerated. Instead, the first major expenditure was on the flyover for the Basin Reserve in 2011/12, which would facilitate private vehicle west-east traffic flows. 79% of submitters did not directly support the construction of the flyover. Expenditure of at least $380 million is being planned for roading infrastructure, with another $63 million on projects benefiting both private cars and public transport.

There are 90 to 120 buses plying the CBD during peak times, with serious bottle necks near the railway station and at Courtenay Place. Angry bus drivers are blocked by other buses during peak hours, timetables are not reliable, passengers don’t get a seat, and some passengers are refused entry. A limited shaft of traffic through a single artery is exactly what high density public transport will solve. Light rail is the fastest growing transport mode and the preferred solution overseas. It has greater capacity, replacing at least 8 normal buses. Light rail runs on existing roads and is safer in urban space and through malls. It has lower operating costs, and can integrate into the wider rail network.

Cr Paul Bruce
Greater Wellington Regional Councillor
272 Ohiro Road,
Tel 04 9728699, 021 02719370
“The thinking that brought you into trouble will not bring you out of it”
Albert Einstein

Go Wellington

There are two significant costs in the private provision of public services. The first is the risk premium demanded by the private provider, a premium that is always born by the taxpayer. The second is the cost of monitoring the performance of the private provider.

  1. How much was the company fined for trips missed on Thursday 25 September when NZBUS locked out their staff?
  2. What efficiency gains, if any, have there been from the private provision of public transport services in Wellington, and what proportion can be attributed to cost cutting and a reduction in the wages and conditions of the employees.

A Tramways Union delegate noted that if the company meets the driver’s claim it will still mean that a driver with one year’s service will still only receive $14.20 an hour. Surely this is not out of line with the wages of other workers in similar industries?”….

As Greater Wellington proceeds through its review of Wellington’s public transport services, we must ensure that not only does the network provide the range and frequency required to enable people to leave their cars at home, and that the buses and trains are powered by renewable energy forms, but that those that are working at the shop face, have the conditions of work and remuneration that will ensure a quality service.

A review of the entire Wellington city public transport operation will take place over the next 9 months, with implementation by June 2010. The contact person for the of Wellington Services review is Adam Lawrence (mailto:adam.lawrence@gw.govt.nz). See the report.

Well… so of us were out cycling and walking when the buses weren’t running, and we could have more of that too…. If you haven’t caught up… visit the website.

and join us at a public meeting on 12th October.

Great Harbour Way

Great Harbour Way

Hey, I’m cycling here?

I was going to post this on Friday but thought I’d wait a bit. Calm Tranquillity Happy Spaces. It’s been a bad week for me out on Dunedin’s streets. Last weekend I had to step back from the path of a speeding van, which I wouldn’t mind to much… if I wasn’t on a pedestrian crossing. So if you drive a Chub Security van please watch out for pedestrians on pedestrian crossings. I wasn’t surprised though – which is kind of lucky otherwise my assumption he had seen me crossing and would start slowing, any time now, would have been wrong. It’s not the first time a similar incident has happened to me on that particular crossing however it has been the scariest encounter of the automobile kind I had had for a while not on a bike which brings me to Friday afternoon.

Last Friday I was cycling up Moray Place where it joins Burlington Street. It’s kind of a Y intersection. Anyway I had turned the corner – You can’t see on the map but the right of way is from The Princes St end of Moray place down Burlington Street – and next thing I know I am being forced against the curb by a taxi. A bang on the window makes him aware that I am there and I narrowly avoid being squashed, We both stop. I enquire (Probably not the most politely given the adrenalin factor) “Didn’t you see me?” or something along this line and he starts getting into me for being in the wrong place on the road? He refuses to tell me exactly where on the road I should be – (Perhaps that’s the problem) A pedestrian backs me up and given that traffic is backing up I decide to give up trying to figure out where exactly he expects cyclists to cycle and move on to the organic shop.

It didn’t seem like a major incident – and I have had worse encounters – but I was still shaking when I left the organic shop after making my purchase.

I know quite a few people who refuse to cycle on Dunedin’s Streets as they don’t feel safe. While not the best weather for a cycling city during winter – in the Summer months surely enabling people to chose a really efficient (perhaps most?) form of transport would be a good idea? So how do we educate drivers to watch out for bikes? I don’t have a solution but I know that since I started cycling in Dunedin my awareness of cycles on the road increased dramatically both in the urban environment and open road. What are your thoughts?

ps: Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a Google maps directions mash up that designed for cyclists that took into account the gradient of the path…

Bluey the bike

I took my bike into a shop to get it serviced last week.  The last time it had been near a bike mechanic was about February.  When I came back the next day to pick it up the mechanic shook his head sagely at me and said that I needed new wheel rims, chain, wires, cogs, pedals etc… sum total quote $675.

Problem was this quote was for a bike I bought for $699 two and half years ago.  I’ve subsequently seen a newer model of the same bike for sale in another shop for $599.  So, ethical question for Green consumers: Should I repair (‘completely refit’) my bike and not buy a shiny new one, thus costing myself money, or should I buy the new bike and get rid of the old one, thus unnecessarily adding to the amount of unneeded stuff in the world?

It’s a good bike that has been loyal and I have rode it nearly every day up or down the hill I live on, which is why the rims and wires have had such a rough life. And I know that either choice is cheaper than the alternatives – a bus pass or a car. But it seems funny that repairing a bike costs more than buying a new one. There’s something out of kilter with our economic system there.

Tagged while cycling

At some point g.blog is going to get a designer to have a go making our site look a little less ‘out of the box’ but in the mean time I’m playing around with the header.  I just came across the new one above on flickr and it appealed, so it can sit as place holder for a few days.  Don’t worry, I’ve saved the old, less criminal one if you miss it.  Check out the original photo here, along with photos of the Berliner tagger and some more of his work. I wonder why he wrote it in English not German?