Island Life by David Slack

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Island Life: Get over it

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  • dc_red,

    Re: $2.40. My pick is that when petrol hits the $2/L mark (which it would have already if not for the "strong" NZ Dollar) there will be a tax revolt.

    Given that various duties and levies (and then GST on top) make up a very large proportion of the retail price there is considerable room for a government response to keep prices at what are perceived to be more reasonable levels.

    For what it's worth I predict National will make an election issue of it, and promise to moderate the tax on fuel somewhat.

    It will also promise more spending on roads. More spending than Labour, even.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I thought Brian Rudman was being excessively cynical with this piece in the Herald - the other week. I live in the city and work on the shore, and commute a distance of 13km, 26km round trip, every day. I am reasonably sure that by the time you park, etc etc cycling wouldn't add a great deal of time to my commute and probably save me time on a Friday. I think I would use a cycle way, thats for sure. In Auckland nothing evcer happens. They should just bloody well build it.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I have practised that quixotic pastime, cycle commuting, in Auckland and Wellington in the last few years. My (perhaps very wrong) impression is that even though Wellington has a far more inhospitable terrain, it has more cyclists. And I have a theory about this.

    In urban design, there's a well established principle that there is a maximum distance or time beyond which most people can't be arsed walking. I think it's about 10 minutes.

    My bet is that there is a similar limit for cycling. Maybe it's 20 minutes.

    Anyway, Auckland, having had decades of car dominance, is sufficiently spread out that a cycle commute is just too much for the average punter, who lives at a distance from work and grocery shopping that is dictated by what is practical in a car. So while cycle lanes and paths are useful and welcome, they won't be full of happy cyclists until the city itself has become dense enough that a 20 minute ride takes you somewhere you want to go.

    Having said that, I know for a fact that on a bike I can beat a car at rush hour into town from any of the middle ring of Auckland suburbs, paying nothing for petrol or parking. If you didn't take your life in your hands negotiating inner-city intersections (eg try getting through Newmarket up onto Symonds St) maybe more people would try it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    a cycle lane and walkway could be added to the clip ons for not 30 or 40 million but just 3 to 5 million dollars.

    Aw, bite me! And when you're done bite me again. I hereby promise to jump off the Harbour Bridge WITHOUT A BUNGY if they can build it for a finished cost of $5 Million!! And if it's over $10 million YOU have to jump ...

    I thought Brian Rudman was being excessively cynical with this piece in the Herald

    I thought he had it spot on actually. Click on Tom's link everybody. Let's try those shuttle buses again - I bet the result is the same. Cheaper than building a bike lane for 100 people.

    I live in the city and work on the shore, and commute a distance of 13km, 26km round trip, every day.

    That's not very 'green' of you. Shouldn't you move to the Shore? I'm joking of course, but how long before The Green Gestapo start accusing you of contributing to The Destruction of the Planet for exactly this reason? 5 years? 10 years?

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    RE: Brian Rudman's anti-cycling piece in the Herald

    Although he appears to have a good point about the previous shuttle trials on the Harbour Bridge, Rudman craftily glosses over the flaw that put most cyclists off using it (I recall several people complaining about this at the time).

    This flaw was the waiting time. One of the advantages of cycling in comparison to buses is that you are not tied to a timetable. The shuttle link across the bridge removed that advantage. You could leave home whenever you wanted, but almost always had to wait for the shuttle at the bridge. This added considerably to the journey time, plus the not insignificant annoyance of waiting, of course.

    Having lived in cycle-friendly CHCH for 13 years, I am thoroughly indoctrinated into the mindset of cycling as the preferred transport option. So much so that when I have returned for visits to AKLD, I have borrowed a bike and cycled there as well. Interestingly, I have found that I can keep up (and sometimes beat) rush-hour traffic to the city from as far away as Titirangi.

    The main difference between cycling in AKLD and CHCH is that when you arrive at your destination, people in AKLD think you are suicidal to have travelled by bike, and -- when you deny this -- compliment you on your bravery in awed tones.

    The rain-fall in Auckland is admittedly about six times that of CHCH, but for some years breathable rainwear has eliminated almost all the problems associated with cycling in the rain, e.g. this excellent product from Ground Effect.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    I never understand the "petrol prices are high so we should lower the tax" idea.

    You drive, so you spend money on petrol, hence you pay tax, which goes to helping you drive more. Of course it'd be nice if the tax went towards letting you drive less, but that's by the by.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    people in AKLD think you are suicidal to have travelled by bike, and -- when you deny this -- compliment you on your bravery in awed tones.

    Too, too true.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    And, by the way, the walking lane would be a major tourist attraction in itself. How many people have visited Sydney, and not walked over the harbour bridge?

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    "...This flaw was the waiting time. One of the advantages of cycling in comparison to buses is that you are not tied to a timetable..."

    Now, I know of another major flaw in general with Auckland's public transport, and it is about waiting as well. If you want to commute in the morning from, say, Kingsland to the shore from south of the bridge and vice versa in the eventide, then you have to hub and spoke it on two buses via Albert Street. There is not a single bus that travels along from Great South Road/Newmarket/Symonds Street, or New North Road, or Great North Road that can take you all the way to the North Shore busway without having to get off in the city and wait for a second bus to take you to the shore, and the same in reverse. Not having a direct service effectively makes the bus at least as expensive as driving in terms of the weekly petrol bill and three times longer in the commute, which is deeply unattractive. I would use the bus in a flash if such a service existed, because apart from anything else "I've got to go - my bus is coming" is one of the best excuses possible to get out of a meeting that is threatening to run well past knock off time.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    How many people have visited Sydney, and not walked over the harbour bridge?

    At least one! But someone did point it out, so I was actually aware they had a bridge.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I walked over the Sydney harbour bridge last year on the occasion of its 75th anniversary. To digress - the authorities closed the entire roadway and issued every walker with a lovely orange cap with a blue LED in it's front for no other reason than to create an effect at dusk/dark, as you turned and looked back over the bridge, of a sea of thousands of blue dots - a magical sight to behold and a shared moment of pride for Sydneysiders in their city & as their celebration of an icon of public architecture. There were fireworks, Aboriginal concert parties and (I think) a flyover.

    Imagine, then, dear readers of P.A. the bah humbug reaction of the small minded and vocal cabal of our local "business leaders" if the Auckland City Council had proposed such an event for our harbour bridge for no other reason than to have a party to celebrate its 50th birthday a little while back and you will have the perfect illustration of the national defeatism that curses so much of our discussion of major (and minor) infrastructure, and why nothing ever gets done in Auckland.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    On the subject of cycling: Cars, trucks and buses harm cyclists every time a cyclist is in their proximity, by emitting toxic gases. Putting a exhaust pipe in front of your mouth, when your body is sucking in large amounts of air due to exercise, is not a good idea. Cars slow cyclists down, and they poison them.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    In urban design, there's a well established principle that there is a maximum distance or time beyond which most people can't be arsed walking. I think it's about 10 minutes.

    My bet is that there is a similar limit for cycling. Maybe it's 20 minutes.

    Actually, I was just looking over some GIS analysis of just this thing in Wellington, and the upper threshold for walking to work seems to be 20 minutes for most people (I know people on this list who walk at least twice this, but that's where rates seem to drop), and that people don't start cycling until after that distance.

    Cycling is influenced by topography even more than walking is, and since anywhere that's too far to walk is usually too steep to cycle, Wellington has a fairly low (3%) rate of cycling to work. The exception is places like Newtown and Berhampore, which have relatively high rates of cycling because they're at the outer reaches of walkabilty yet have a flattish route to town.

    Here's a question for Wellington cyclists or would-be cyclists: where are the bottlenecks, gaps and deathtraps in what one might exaggeratedly call our "cycle network"? Are there some suburbs with frustrated pools of cyclists who could be unleashed given a small stretch of cycle lane or an improved intersection?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    Here's a question for Wellington cyclists or would-be cyclists: where are the bottlenecks, gaps and deathtraps in what one might exaggeratedly call our "cycle network"? Are there some suburbs with frustrated pools of cyclists who could be unleashed given a small stretch of cycle lane or an improved intersection?

    I live in Newtown, and I take the bus every day, but if there was a cycle lane all the way in to the CBD, where I wouldn't have to ride on the road at all, I'd buy a bike and ride in. But as it is, I learnt to ride my bike in Tokyo, where we rode on the pavements, and so I'm terrified at the thought of actually riding in traffic.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Personal bug-a-boos in Welly near my route:
    - the cycle lane on the Evans bay road disappears at Greta point, only to reappear a few 100 meters later. Apparently you're supposed to use the shared path. The shared path there is vy dangerous because of the heedless residents coming out of driveways.
    - Oriental parade gives you a choice of hitting pedestrians on the shared path, or having an angleparked car back out in front of you, or a cruising motorist cut in front getting into an angle park.
    - Most of the corners on the slopes of Mt Vic/Roseneath could do with some painted centre lines, just to cue motorists that they really shouldn't be in the middle when they come around a blind corner. There are a couple of strategic mirrors, but there could be more.
    - Where I grew up in Hamilton, the curb was slightly curved in profile so you could take evasive action up on to the footpath easily. The high right-angled curbs in Wellington make this impossible, except maybe for the most athletic mountain biker.
    - Did I mention I don't like shared bike paths? 1, 2

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Joanne: yeah, that Adelaide/Riddiford/John St clusterfuck is pretty scary on a bike. I'd be abandoning the road code for the footpath if that was my regular route too.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I live in Newtown, and I take the bus every day, but if there was a cycle lane all the way in to the CBD, where I wouldn't have to ride on the road at all, I'd buy a bike and ride in. But as it is, I learnt to ride my bike in Tokyo, where we rode on the pavements, and so I'm terrified at the thought of actually riding in traffic.

    There's an interesting dynamic for cycling in cities -- it's better if the traffic is completely poked. In London, I could shoot up between lanes of stationary cars (it was flat too) in relative safety, and get places very quickly. There was the odd nightmare stretch of course -- the Elephant & Castle roundabout was a doozy.

    In Auckland, by contrast, there is little enough traffic that cars can travel fairly quickly, which is way more dangerous for a cyclist. And then there are the hills ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    heh. i used to cycle from mt eden to auckland uni when i lived there.

    there's nothing like a extremely tall, helmetless and skinny wannabe hippy in a swandri barrelling down rush-hour symonds street at 30km/hr to remind all the bus passengers of their own mortality.

    had some mighty close calls around that time.

    loved it.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Jamieson,

    people in AKLD think you are suicidal to have travelled by bike

    Yep - years ago when I started working (at the Museum), I cycled every day, secretly thrilled at my ability to fly past queues of traffic and dodge through all sorts of narrow shortcuts. My 10-speed bike also allowed me to put off pouring money into a car for a few years.

    Later on, after succumbing and getting thoroughly used to the pleasures of weather proof, comfortable and quick car travel, I eventually decided it might be beneficial for my fitness to try cycling again. But by that stage, getting out of the seemingly impenetrable cocoon of the car was completely terrifying. I'm not sure that the traffic could have got that much worse after a few years, but I just didn't have the nerve to expose myself to imminent annihilation everyday. Auckland roads would have to be a hell of a lot safer for me to cycle in rush hour traffic, so now its the car or when I have time I walk.

    Weird that B Rudman is so reactive about cyclists - he often used to write about his bus commute, so perhaps they congest his bus lane...

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 99 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Baker,

    Here's a question for Wellington cyclists or would-be cyclists: where are the bottlenecks, gaps and deathtraps in what one might exaggeratedly call our "cycle network"? Are there some suburbs with frustrated pools of cyclists who could be unleashed given a small stretch of cycle lane or an improved intersection?

    I take the airport->city cycleway to work every day. As soon as the cycleway runs out near the airport I'm onto a busy Miramar street called Broadway. This is a wide street but was recently upgraded so now there is a large flush median in the centre of the road. This would be fine except that the median is dotted with concrete islands whose only apparent purpose is to be vessels for cabbage trees.

    On most days when riding east towards Seatoun, cars feel they need to slow to my speed because they don't think they can fit between my bike and the island. I already ride close enough to the left that I am worried about parked cars opening their doors in my path. A handful of times cars and buses have ploughed through anyway, requiring me to take evasive action.

    My suggestions for improving the current layout would be to:
    - remove some of the centre islands
    - remove some of the eastbound parks which are near the remaining islands
    - extend the airport cycleway all the way to Seatoun (its flat all the way, and who really needs to ride a bike to the airport anyway?)

    wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    In urban design, there's a well established principle that there is a maximum distance or time beyond which most people can't be arsed walking. I think it's about 10 minutes.

    I think the real obstacle to bike use and pedestrian use - for me anyway - is traffic, not hills, not time constraints, not the weather. I like hills, especially if you have gears - and I ilke hills when running too, the chewier the better. The effort is a real pleasure, it's dodging traffic that is harrowing.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • noizyboy,

    Here's a question for Wellington cyclists or would-be cyclists: where are the bottlenecks, gaps and deathtraps in what one might exaggeratedly call our "cycle network"?

    yeah, that Adelaide/Riddiford/John St clusterfuck is pretty scary on a bike. I'd be abandoning the road code for the footpath if that was my regular route too.

    My exact rationale for running to and from work each day instead of jumping on a bike.

    Particularly the Berhampore/Newtown bits of Adelaide Road. It's narrow enough in a car, but combine a cyclist crawling up the steep bit of the hill into a blustery southerly, with an impatient bus-driver (is there any other sort in Wellington?) wanting to get past - sheesh, terrifying.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    The main difference between cycling in AKLD and CHCH is that when you arrive at your destination, people in AKLD think you are suicidal to have travelled by bike, and -- when you deny this -- compliment you on your bravery in awed tones.

    **
    The main difference between cycling in AKLD and CHCH is ...** CHCH is FLAT!! Auckland has hills.

    And I see no-one has argued with me re the true cost of a Harbour Bridge cycle clip on ...

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Auckland has hills

    Feh. My Wellington commute makes those hills look like plains. :-)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

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