Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Change for the Better

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  • George Darroch,

    This is our city, and these are our lives. And we want to make them better.

    We shouldn't have to justify that. But we do. The proof is usually in retrospect - we see how good things are, and the mainstream changes. The proof is also available elsewhere in the world, but it takes something special for New Zealanders to accept that their country isn't doing things better. I think that the visit of Janette Sadik-Khan, a person from New York, had more impact than would have had a dozen Danish and Dutch.

    The opponents of change slink off from their position without a moment of shame or introspection, before bloviating in public on the next thing. That won't ever change, but hopefully we give them less of a microphone in the future.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    'bloviates' - what an apt description of his vacuous rants

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3189 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to George Darroch,

    The opponents of change slink off from their position without a moment of shame or introspection, before bloviating in public on the next thing

    given the rate cycleways are being introduced (and embraced) it won't be overly long before Hosking et al are champions how Auckland has transformed into a cycling city - probably right about the time SkyCity install a cycling floor or a cycle firm sponsors him

    cycling used to be normal and soon enough it will be again

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 537 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to George Darroch,

    That won’t ever change, but hopefully we give them less of a microphone in the future.

    My use of the word "whiners" was considered. Hosking is fond of complaining about people complaining, but here he is when something good happens – moaning for the sake of it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

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    Jessica from Bike Auckland, who did much of the work to make the big ride happen.

    NOTE: Feel free to share your own pics here. Just write your comment and then use the “Choose File” button to select an image. You can add as many as three pics per comment by saving then going back in via the edit function and selecting another one.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

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    Late on Thursday, a bicycle in the style of later Warhol.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

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    We had a walk along the magenta trail on Saturday. It is only 700m but very impressive. I think the symbolic value of the magenta loop is magnified by the colour. It will be great when a cyclist can ride to skypath and over the bridge.

    Ask anyone in Sydney or SF how many tourists enjoy walking / cycling over those iconic bridges and the answer is – a lot and they are all happy.

    See below – first numbers Friday 511 but 1064 on the Thursday night. It is cyclists and not pedestrians / skateboarders if I am correct.

    The first numbers are in, for bike movements on #LightpathAKL

    On Hosking – that old chestnut – if I am cycling – my car is probably at home so there is more space for other car drivers – everyone wins.

    Just worked out how to add the image table from BikeAuckland - so that is now added at the top.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 363 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Graham, in reply to George Darroch,

    The opponents of change slink off from their position without a moment of shame or introspection, before bloviating in public on the next thing

    Exactly. I don't hear anyone moaning about the Northern Busway now...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I guess driving is regarded by many drivers as not just a way of getting around, but a moral good and a human right - a triumph of western civilization which countless TV shows and advertisments tell them is an important status symbol in a values system they've totally brought into. Cyclists are seen as moral outsiders challenging their value system. On top of that, two other factors feed road rage against cyclists IMHO. First of all, cyclists are not just moral outliers, they are a highly visible minority moral outlier. Secondly, they are egged on by the public 2-minute hates of Hoskings, or Jeremy Clarkson, or any of a plethora of anti-cyclists.

    The dehumanising combination of being seen as moral outliers, having a minority status and public rabble rousing is a particularly lethal one throughout human history.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Mike Graham,

    Exactly. I don't hear anyone moaning about the Northern Busway now...

    The classic there is when John Roughan in the Herald condemned the busway on its opening as a "monstrous" folly, then six years later touted its great success as an argument against rail.

    Sample:

    Auckland is a car city and always will be. Its people much prefer their own cars to any form of public transport and, contrary to the claims of the rail lobby, there is plenty of room for more roading.

    In 2001, he also confidently forecast that Aucklanders would “never use” a rehabilitated rail service.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

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    Another lady on her way to First Thursdays on a trendy cruiser bike.

    It's just as well we're building cycleways, because those things look bloody difficult to ride in traffic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • James Green, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It's just as well we're building cycleways, because those things look bloody difficult to ride in traffic.

    Having spent a month cycling round Santa Monica and Venice on a less exaggerated cruiser, I can tell you that they're much better than they appear. The super upright laid-back position is great in traffic, and equally great on the boardwalk or the firm intertidal sand. The relative lack of gears was a bit annoying on the hills, but rather loved it.

    On a side-note, that whole area is surprisingly fabulous for cycling. A lot of on-street cycle lanes (typically one street across from the major thoroughfares like Santa Monica Boulevard), the boardwalk along the beach (I think the only separated facility), and a really high level of respect from motorists — apparently in part from fear of legal liability if they were to collect a cyclist. Even a friend that would never cycle in NZ was really happy to cycle there, sans helmet...

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Su Yin Khoo, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I don't have a cruiser but did swap out my flat bars for cruiser-style bars which is what enables me to continue climbing Auckland's hills at 37 weeks. :-)

    FWIW, I don't get any more care and courtesy on the roads cycling with a puku nui.

    I've never had such a big grin on my face on this Nelson St bike hoon since the great Harbour Bridge civil disobedience crossing in 2009(?).

    Auckland • Since Aug 2011 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Kavin King, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Vacuous 'rant'. Is this a spelling mistake?

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ahem, tis pink rather than magenta - designed to represent heart totara. Can see it from planes apparently.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Ask anyone in Sydney or SF how many tourists enjoy walking / cycling over those iconic bridges and the answer is – a lot and they are all happy.

    Actually, having just done the cycle over Golden Gate bridge 6 weeks ago, I can tell you it's not as pleasant as you might think.

    It's 3.5 metres wide, non-separated, with half allocated to cyclists and half to pedestrians, both pedestrians and cyclists bi-directional.

    The cyclists are a combination on about 90% tourist who have rented bikes from Jefferson Street at Fisherman's Wharf and 10% serious sporting cyclists going (or trying to go) at speed.

    There are no decent sized pull out bays, the pedestrian lane is the seaward side and most of the tourist cyclists try to cross onto the pedestrian side for the views/photo ops.

    The steep road downhill into Sausalito has a single width cycle lane, non-separated from traffic.

    Try navigating that with young kids riding unfamiliar bikes.

    There are big issues on the Sausalito side too, the nearest free parking for bikes is about a kilometre from the ferry/shops/cafes, there is a pay and display bike park right by the ferry though which is not cheap.

    The ferries can only hold limited numbers of bikes and it's a first come first served basis, it's routine to queue for 2 hours+ to get a return ferry.

    It's basically too popular.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas, in reply to Tom Semmens,

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    Re duhaminising of cyclists.

    This was the point of the recent safety ads getting people to think of cyclists as real people. They featured a person with DAD or DAUGHTER written on their shirt while riding a bike. Perhaps whoever researched that campaign discovered that drivers' dislike of cyclists is the greatest threat to cyclist safety more than being visible, leaving a bubble etc.

    I'd be interested to hear what these commentators like Hosk and Clarkson, who are frankly just assholes, have to say about the lovely general public hating on cyclists so much that we need public safety messages about it.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • JessicaRose,

    The fact is, this whole thing cost $18 million to build. Which might sound a lot, until you place it in the context of $4.2 billion of NZTA spending in Auckland in the next three years alone.

    So important to have that context. You can forgive people for thinking that $18mil sounds like a significant expense, say compared to the staff xmas do, or their annual income. But comparative to other traffic infrastructure projects it's a relatively small financial allocation.

    A lot of people were prepared for the inevitable bikelash, even though it is still frustrating and disappointing to see such a painfully obvious manipulation of fact (#bikehosking). But this is also related to the acceptance of bullying, you have to obscure the reality in order to legitimise the awful behaviour.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Turning right out of Gundry is a pretty game maneuver, even in a car - I don't usually do it, even though it's an obvious shortcut if you're coming up Newton to K Rd. It's got many layers of wrong about it.

    Agreed that drivers shouldn't be dicks, though. Some layouts seem to promote dickheadedness and I guess it's part of being a road savvy cyclist to slowly build up a store of knowledge about where those are. It's stink that this store is built through frightening experiences, at great risk.

    I think quite a few motorists have no real idea just how much risk they're putting cyclists to, that their memories of cycling are as children, where falling off a bike was an unpleasant but seldom particularly terrible experience, with young light bodies that recovered quickly, and riding less on the road than in parks and on footpaths with berms. They don't realize what happens when an adult on a road even just falls off a bike, let alone collides with a car.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Sam M,

    Is there a good resource that can help cyclists figure out routes in AKL? I commute in regularly along the Northwestern Bike Path and then to Albert St but haven’t figured out if this new stretch of Light Path should feature or not.

    I have no idea how to get on it, or what to do once on Nelson St.

    I think (not self interestedly surely) that a major route that needs fixing is Waterview to New Lynn. That is the bit I feel least safe on and keeps me off the bike in darkness (i.e., all winter).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    A few thoughts:

    1. I can't think of a single cycle project that has generated as much excitement as this, even amongst the relatively bike friendly circles I move in (online and off). I rode up for the first hoon with a group of several colleagues plus one more who met us in town with his wife and primary-school age son. That's never happened for me in several years of trying to persuade acquaintances to get into the bike scene.

    2. And I think that's really the key; you don't have to be remotely tied into advocacy or the (entirely) worthy wrangling over Auckland transport policy to get this project, and to get excited about it. It's most definitely a people on bikes project, not a ghetto for "cyclists" as too many other projects have ended up being.

    3. Whoever went for the pink colour has nerve, and in a very good way. The AT consultation on the offramp treatment gave a few anodyne options around "contemporary", "classic", "natural" etc. In the intervening months, someone has grabbed the ball on contemporary, sprinted over the try line and smashed straight on through the grandstand into the suburbs beyond. I'm very keen to see where else this kind of approach pops up in future.

    4. Taken as a whole, Canada/Nelson Street most definitely does the business as a transport link. The offramp section has tons of room, a good quality surface, and for once there is an Auckland cycleway with a camber that actually enhances fun and safety, rather than threatening to throw you off (cf: top of Grafton Gully, and the Newton Road cloverleaf). But the most obvious thing is connectivity. This thing actually talks to the rest of town - you're surrounded by destinations wherever you go, on left and right. The difference from Grafton Gully, or even Beach Road, is like night and day. I've used it on a weekday precisely once I and already know that it'll be my ongoing route into and out of town.

    5. Despite the praise above, the diagonal crossing and route proposed from Victoria Street northwards still sucks. Hopefully the praise heaped on this part ("Phase One") will embolden AT to keep their nerve and shift the "Phase Two" path to the left side of Nelson Street all the way to the Viaduct.

    6. Even if it's a one-off, it's really sad that people are extending on-road intimidation of people on bikes onto a "protected" path. I suspect, and fervently hope, it's a one-off lone idiot deciding to take their frustrations out on a new very visible facility in a car-dominated part of town. Still, it'd be nice if Hosking and others could put a lid on their vapourings, so we can hasten to the point where people consider cyclists' humanity and remember not to be sad, antisocial dicks BEFORE they pull these stunts.

    7. If the Ti Xiang Dumpling House ever reopens at Upper Queen - directly opposite Canada Street - we'll unlock the potential for 100% jiaozi fuelled crosstown rides, clearly the transport solution of the future.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    I've never had such a big grin on my face on this Nelson St bike hoon since the great Harbour Bridge civil disobedience crossing in 2009(?).

    My forgotten 8th reckon from the post above was just that - at last, a return to that same festival atmosphere.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • JessicaRose,

    It was bloody scary, which I presume was the driver’s intention. It felt like a deliberate and very dangerous attempt to intimidate.

    That’s awful. More so as it’s not even uncommon.

    I was going straight ahead on MacKelvie Street on Ponsonby and a guy at the stop sign on Rose Road, who was stationary in his vehicle, elected to drive his car into me, forcing me off the Road when I was halfway across the intersection, it was terrifying.

    More so because the guy driving the car was staring me in the eye while he did it. I don’t really have words to describe the humiliation and powerlessness when someone is so deliberately mean for no reason.

    I saw another guy in a car do this to a person on a bike turning right into Nuffield Street in Newmarket. I was driving, and in the lane next to them. There was a red arrow and the guy in the car behind the person on the bike physically used his vehicle to push the person on the bike into the oncoming traffic. No Reason.
    What do you do at those times? I’m ok admitting, I was frightened of that driver.
    (by the time I had been able to pull over they were both gone, I’m not sure how that one ended, I did try finding the cyclist for a while).

    It’s the same as any other ‘ist’ or ‘ism’, and the more it’s recognised as a thing, then the more we can address it.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • Su Yin Khoo, in reply to Sam M,

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    Bike Auckland has collated a few map resources here.

    If you're coming off the North Western, it's not too much of a detour to use Light Path to get to Albert St. Give it a go and see how you feel.

    Attached is a very rough sketch of the route.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2011 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • JessicaRose,

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    At the risk of over commenting - we have some amazing crowd shots of so many happy engaged people of Auckland all enjoying the moment. It's weird that this invokes a negative response from anyone.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 56 posts Report Reply

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