Tuesday, August 16, 2011

North American Blog #2

In the lecture on Monday 15 August Wayne Feiden described how small changes can make a big difference. One example was indicators of obesity being access to reasonably priced healthy food (supermarkets); the ratio between healthier food outlets and convenience stores; and the presence and number of community gardens. Another was road corridor design: how sharp is the angle of a curb, influencing traffic speed? or phase times on traffic lights. Using an example in Auckland, describe how a small change might make a big difference - you can use similar examples to those discussed in the lecture (traffic, health) or select your own. Feel free to upload photos if you wish.

56 comments:

  1. A small change I can think of would be: putting poles or rails close to the road edge or just on the road for cyclists to hold onto when waiting at the lights. Often cyclists’ feet are clipped into their bikes to reduce energy wastage; as a result they pedal back and forward and sometimes side-to-side balancing at the lights.

    If rails were in place, cyclists could rest at the lights, balance, use them to push off and overall be better equip to deal with getting off the line faster in response to traffic signals.

    Here's a picture of what I'm talking about (top right corner) http://www.nt.gov.au/transport/ntroads/cycling/review/darwin/index.shtml

    gsti009 4910474
    Georgia Stillwell

    ReplyDelete
  2. My flatmates suggested having a 'by law or something' which makes buses exhausts face up to the sky rather than onto the footpath.

    While a total electric fleet maybe a while off this idea is easy/relatively cheap to apply to exisitng buses. This would provide pedestrians and road users with less direct air pollution.

    This is standard in other places around. Why are we waiting?

    Georgia Stillwell
    Gsti009 4910474

    ReplyDelete
  3. When thinking about taking advantage of our strengths to make a big difference, promoting renewable source of energy using our natural resources comes to my mind. I particularly focus on installing solar (photovoltaic) panel away to generate power in a sustainable way.

    On average, New Zealand has about 2000 hours of bright sunshine a year, which means that if every NZ home has a 3kW solar panel, they would collectively generate enough power in a year to satisfy over a quarter of NZ’s annual residential electricity needs (EECA, 2011). I believe a stronger lead from central and local government in NZ is crucial and much needed in order to promote the benefits of installing a solar panel to homeowners.

    NZ government can also introduce incentives in order to further encourage this. This is seen in German Social-Democratic/Green government that excess electricity to be sold off and fed into the regular power grid, thus generating additional income for households. These rates are also not paid by taxes but it is from electricity bill of those who consumes more energy thus utilizing the effective “polluter pays” approach.

    Here is a picture of houses in Germany with solar panels:
    http://alt.young-germany.de/uploads/pics/Solarsiedlung_von_oben.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have noticed, children don't have as many opportunities to be (informally) physically active as they use to. Backyards are smaller or non existent, open spaces are often occupied with playground's (which only really cater for younger populations e.g. 2-12years of age), school sports are mainly for the talented and competitive, streets are busier etc.
    A simple routine of walking to and from school is a positive contribution to enhancing the benefits physical activity can have on a child's life... but even this has declined.
    What I'm interested in is New Zealand's School zoning system, which is traditionally used to stop overcrowding of schools, and how perhaps this could be used as an indicator for coordinating walkability (perhaps even cycling) to and from school.
    Research suggests that an acceptable walking distance for college students is up to about 1km. My previous college (a public school) had a fairly small zone acceptance of an approx. average of a 1km radius (can be seen in map on link below). This reflected in the dominant mode of transport to school- being walking by far. This was also largely influenced by the strict rule of 'no driving to school'. But because of proximity this was rarely an issue.
    A neighbouring school however, 'Saint Kentigern College' (a private school), has no zoning criteria and has a large car park for students, the results in a similar survey would be quite different.
    Although zoning, as a device for planning, is used in terms of land use and development of land... In a public health perspective it can and has been used to promote physical activity (e.g. park and recreation allocation).
    Could (or is) this approach to the zoning of schools be used to promote physical activity in Auckland? Walking or cycling to school in particular?

    Link to zone of Macleans College:
    http://www.schoolzones.co.nz/enrolmentzones/Search.aspx

    Sophie Elwood
    1281553

    ReplyDelete
  5. I believe that radical changes have to be made in the country's planning system. The RMA takes an environmental bottom-line approach. For example if a developer wants to build a KFC in a neighbourhood, he/she can do so if it meets the environmental impacts are more than moinor. Submissions during a resource consent hearing will only be considered if it is regarding environmental/amenity implacts. Shouldn't social/health consideration play a greater role in our decision making? i.e. the KFC will be considered a controlled/discretionary activity because of its health implications; or that special considerations can be given to the development if it improves the healthiness of its foods.

    I have talked to a few people about this but most of them believe it is a matter of personal choice. Of course my current idea is still in its primitive stage, however just like environmental issues, these social issues touches on the ideas of the overall wellbeing of the population and intergenerational equalty (the burden of increased obesity on the health system for the future generation).

    I would be keen to see if anyone supports my idea and will considering writing an article regarding this matter on PQ

    Yiqiang (Daniel) Shao
    4931603

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. One of the major obstacles to walking in Auckland is the city's relatively wet climate. On a rainy day, waiting to cross at a set of traffic lights can turn into a very wet and cold experience.

    Why would people want to soak themselves, when they could just use their comfortable, sheltered cars?

    The city of Wellington seems to have the answer to this.

    Many intersections in the capital city, particularly those that are in high foot traffic areas (for example, around the Railway Station), provide shelters for pedestrians waiting to cross at the traffic lights.

    These shelters have also been designed to protect pedestrians from wind driven rain (very useful in Wellington), through the use of large glass panels.

    The same should be applied to Auckland. There are many exposed intersections in both the downtown area, and the suburbs, where pedestrians can get absolutely drenched on a rainy day.

    Maybe, by providing a little more shelter from the elements, Auckland could encourage its citizens to walk, regardless of the weather.

    For pictures and details of Wellington's fine work see: http://www.architectureplus.co.nz/public/streetcornercanopies/

    Simon Christopher Mitchell
    1284770

    ReplyDelete
  8. Introducing HOP, the new smartcard ticketing system to Auckland’s public transport system is effective and efficient in promoting and managing buses, trains and ferries services. However, I do not think it is good to use “stages” to determine how much we should pay for a trip. Passengers should be charged according to the distance we travel, instead of whether the bus passes the boundary of 2 stages.
    For example, I live in Epsom and it is about 20min walk, or 4min drive to Newmarket. There are only 3 bus stops between my home and Newmarket, where the boundary of stage 1 and 2 sits. If I get on a bus at the nearest bus stop and get off at the second stop after New market, I still have to pay $2.4 despite of only 5-stop distance. This is even much shorter than the distance of a whole stage (eg from Britomart to Newmarket, costs $1.8).
    I believe many people are facing this problem. Some may choose to walk to the boundary stop and take the bus, but more may choose to drive.
    If bus fares can be charged based on counting stops (which I believe is easier to achieve with current HOP system), more people will use public transport because it is more fair, efficient and working for the public.

    Yuqing Zhou 1560341
    yzho146

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've always liked the design panels along sections of Auckland's motorway system. The concrete designs and sculptures help to add a little interest in an otherwise dull motorway. I think this small detail would be easily (and eagerly) left out by other councils in NZ and elsewhere, so Auckland gets a point from me for this. It helps that it isn't the same design for everywhere as well. There are many different designs depending on what section of the motorway they are placed. I'm not sure how much of an impact these may make, but I see them as a very nice touch, and my family from overseas has often commented on them.

    Anthony Blomfield
    ablo020
    1033322

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am living in a house that belongs to Grafton Hall-a student hostel of UOA. In the begining of this year, a small open space in the back of my house was leased to the Grafton Community Association as a community garden,by our hall manager. This space was divided into six beds, and each was planted with a few veges (potatoes, tomatoes...)and strawberries. Apart from the local residents who are part of the Association, our hall also gathered students to help with the garden voluntarily. Therefore, each Sunday I can see them working hard in the garden through my window. Although this garden is very small,( about 50 square meters), everyone who work on it seems vey dedicate to it. This community garden is not only a place where the people nearby can get the fresh veges and fruits; it can also strength the community, to make local resdients feel belonging. And, to those students who come to help on weekend, this is also a chance to encourage them to take part in physical activity, gaining teamwork skill and to form a health lifestyle.

    Yiwei Zou 1005356

    ReplyDelete
  11. an idea would be to have a countdown system on traffic lights to show when lights will turn red. a similar system to the pedestrian countdown system we have on Queen Street, but do it for traffic lights also. this will reduce drivers going through red lights as they are able to see how many seconds left until lights turn red. this will help improve traffic safety and also pedestrian safety

    David Pan 4616910
    dpan032

    ReplyDelete
  12. David I disagree. I lived in Brazil where they have this traffic light count down system. If anything I find 1. Is it a way of encouraging the use of roads for cars and 2. People often significantly increase their speed when the count down is below 5 or so in order to make the lights. I found this system to be very dangerous and the speeding increases to get through the lights are not only a danger to other drivers but pedestrians too.

    When you think about it, how long would a car traveling at 50km/hr take to cross an intersection, a couple seconds? Drivers know this and I think countdown lights would encourage them to push the limits.

    Gsti009 4910474
    Georgia Stillwell

    ReplyDelete
  13. Just a logical idea. legalise cannabis, that way you wont have so many uptight Aucklanders, and Auckland might actually become a better place to live.

    ReplyDelete
  14. jethro 4893213 jjof001

    In regards to what david and georgia are saying I agree with georgia although i think by the time you start putting in traffic lights, especially excessively, as on Queen street you sort of have completely missed the point as to the function of that streetscape.

    In terms of small changes that have big effects how about designing for exciting experiences to promote behavious that have positive effects on individuals. The fun theory 'piano stairs' touches on this idea( see link below). I cant help but notice , that in nicai, planning students in particular are lazy as, and choose to take the elavator over the stairs everytime. Maybe putting more posters in that stairwell or making it more exciting to walk up in some other way would make us planning students walk more, and lose some pounds.

    ReplyDelete
  15. heres the link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lXh2n0aPyw

    ReplyDelete
  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Grafton bridge is closed to cars between 7am and 7pm weekdays, allowing buses, cyclists, motorbikes and scooters to move swiftly across the bridge and create a more pedestrian friendly environment. Firstly I find this to be positive, however....

    As I scooter rider I notice that the lights won't change to let you off the bridge onto symonds street/k road. I think that his has something to do with sensors on the bridge? Unlike buses, who the sensors respond to and cyclists who can cross with the pedestrian crossing; scooter and motorbike riders get trapped on the bridge. This has happened to me many times and I have either had to go back and get off the bridge where I got on, turn off my scooter and wait 5-10+ mins for a bus to come set off the sensor or run red lights/go at the end of the pedestrian crossing. This issue has led me to stop using the Grafton bridge which is the best route to university and work.

    A change to the sensors and/or traffic signaling needs to be made here before an accident happens.

    Georgia Stillwell
    Gsti009 4910474

    ReplyDelete
  19. James Cheng: jche344 4920998

    The use of spared space designs on Elliot Street is an example, where a relatively small section of road as been converted into an nice public space. The overall results allows the furthered promotion of pedestrian movement and heavily discourages the use of motor vehicles not just physically but psychologically. If I drove into the Elliot Street shared space, I would feel like a bit of a downer, sort of anti-Christ and assume the general assumption of being looked down by the pedestrians. The use of uneven surfaced paving, the lack of parking and without the distinction of the common curb, drivers are effectively drawn into the notion of a motor vehicle unfriendly zone, surely he or she will be able to see the higher numbers of pedestrians on the shared space I hope.

    Though, this is one of the major renovation of its kind in Auckland, shared space seems to be catching on internationally, the Council and other governing bodies must also realise the potential negative effects that shared space may bring to the surroundings and the existing usages. People with disabilities, the likelihood of inappropriate lingering individuals and groups; these are all elements thats have to take into consideration to ensure that the overall effects of shared space contributes to a positive outcome for the community.

    http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/229643_10150246079650496_523670495_7923127_7012062_n.jpg
    Link to a photo I took of the Elliot Street spared space at night, which at present is already attracting certain types of individuals.

    James Cheng: jche344 4920998

    ReplyDelete
  20. I think that the presence of community gardens, especially within the inner suburbs, is a small change that could make a big difference within Auckland.
    Community gardens present an opportunity for greater community involvement and interaction as well as providing healthy nutritious food and a different channel for learning. They also provide open space for residents living in an area (or certain housing typologies i.e. apartments) in which space for gardening is not a given.

    It isn’t just the community who benefit from community gardens either. When I was in Melbourne at the start of the year, my sister and I discovered a community garden on the top floor of one of the shopping malls. The act of discovering something like this made our ordinary trip to the mall way more exciting and goes to show how creative you can get with the actual location of community gardens.

    The website below gives a list of current community gardens in Auckland (and New Zealand) I think that Auckland could benefit from some more!
    http://good.net.nz/magazine/community-gardens

    Melissa Spearman – 1265035

    ReplyDelete
  21. The introduction of shared spaces by the Auckland Council is relatively recent as part of the CBD upgrade programme. According to the Auckland Council, shared spaces create environments that are attractive and people-friendly. For example in Darby Street, the speed of vehicles is informally managed by the change of behaviours for drivers and pedestrians when they enter a shared space. However, what lacks in Darby Street in terms of effectively reducing vehicle speeds is the absence of a speed limit sign. A 10kph speed limit sign should be installed in Darby Street as having no speed limit sign means that drivers can drive at whatever speed they wish, hence can create unsafe environments for the pedestrians.

    Pamela Santos 4621875

    ReplyDelete
  22. I agree with Simon's comment. Would be interesting to see street corner canopies in the Auckland CBD as it will prob encourage more people to walk than say catch the free bus on a rainy day..

    ReplyDelete
  23. For me, when I walk around (in the city specifically) I find that there are so many spaces that have the potential to be a unique feature along my journey.

    Many times on my journeys around the city have I come across big blank walls. A small change I feel would make a huge difference is street art. We all love to see a creative piece of art - so why not maximise on this and liven up our street scape?
    Few examples include upper Symond Street, Along Custom Street East and along Albert Street. These areas have spaces that scream "paint me".

    If these areas were made more interesting, walking around the city would not feel as much of a chore, as I would know that something beautiful awaits me just around the corner.

    Hannah Good 1229712

    ReplyDelete
  24. Building on what has been raised by Hannah and Simon, a relatively small change that could have major implications for the patronage of Auckland's alternative transport forms is an improvement of the pedestrian environment. Improving the pedestrian landscape increases the distance people are willing to walk and hence makes bus stops/train stations accessible to a greater number of people. There are many examples across of Auckland in which the lack of any pedestrian amenity promotes private motor vehicle use as the only viable transportation option despite alternative transport forms being in relatively close proximity.
    An example of this can be seen here (http://www.media5.co.nz/index.php?action=sites&view=61) of Mount Wellington Highway in Panmure. This road contains multiple bus stops but these are unlikely to be the residents first choice of transport option as a result of the poor pedestrian amenity that exists along the road.

    Harry Halpin
    1023992

    ReplyDelete
  25. Regarding the traffic light debate: cities is parts of China have the countdown timer system, however there isn’t a countdown when the lights are green (presumably to prevent cars from rushing in the last few seconds), it still goes through the process of green-orange-red. The timer only displays the countdown when the light is red.

    Daniel Shao 4931603

    ReplyDelete
  26. A small change in Manurewa’s bus timetable could increase both train and bus patronage. The Manurewa transit exchange contains the Manurewa train station, main bus stops and park and ride facilities. If local buses were timed to arrive within 2-3mins of trains arriving into the train station people could get off the train get on a bus and walk home from a bus stop. This small change would decrease the demand for car parks at the exchange and encourage more people to use “sustainable transit modes”. Currently, people getting of the train have to wait 8-12mins for buses, which discourages many from using it.

    Rhezza Layco
    1148293
    rlay007

    ReplyDelete
  27. Georgia and Jethor, about the traffic lights the reason why drivers are gassing it at traffic lights now is because they dont know how long it will stay on orange before it goes red therefore they push the limits. with a countdown system drivers know how long left until it goes red and can be more relaxed and take less risks. of course there will still be people who wants to risk their lifes and others by trying to beat the timer. its a possibility the government can look into, i think there's a reason why most countries are using this system.

    Jethor, i said a countdown system similar to the pedestrian system on queen street, didnt say to do it on queen street. and plus what is the function of the streetscape of queen street?

    David Pan 4616910
    dpan032

    ReplyDelete
  28. jjof001 @ D. Pan


    My reason for agreeing with Georgia is because i have experienced this system recently in Manilla and it actually is fairly ineffective, just like your arguement(:O). In fact recently the majority of traffic lights functioning with pedestrians were put into disuse in the metro area in favour of underpasses because the countdown system was too dangerous.

    I see the weakness in the countdown system as not understanding general behaviour. If you treat drivers like idiots, all you are going to achieve is more idiots on the road. The countdown system is essentially trying to take away judgement from the driver and is simply promoting dangerous driving. Put it this way if you see the countdown for pedestrian crossing has 5 seconds left, you bust a move and speed across, this principal does not change whether you are walking or driving.

    additionally your question to me about Queen streets function pretty much answers itself, you dont know what the function of the streetscape is, because it hasnt been defined well.... however if you yourself know the function, feel free to say so.

    ReplyDelete
  29. David Pan
    dpan032 @ jethro

    well if thers 5 seconds left to walk i dont BUST A MOVE i wait for the next one. theres already lots of idiots and reckless drivers on the road a few more wont hurt? i dont know the function streetscape of queen street thats why im asking you because you mentioned it.

    ReplyDelete
  30. i agree with anonymous legalise weed, the kronic stuff is no good. got to keep it natural

    ReplyDelete
  31. Jessica Yun-Chu Chen
    4915451

    In respects of what Jethro was saying, I do not think that planning students are particularly lazier than other types of students; anywhere on campus there are lots of people using the elevator instead of the stairs. I just think that everyone needs incentives to change their behaviour. Fun things like the piano keys Jethro referred to are really great ideas for motivating people to do more exercise. Obviously, that was a temporary measure used to promote other things but temporary things do work.

    A health example would be the Food Truck show on television. Chef Michael van de Elzen drove around New Zealand and made healthy alternatives to fast foods such as burgers and tacos. Even though the season is over, the point was made that fast foods are convenient but healthy options are available if only they would change the ingredients.

    A permanent example of healthy food choices is the changes made to school cafeterias. Five years ago, pies and carbonated drinks were sold in tuck shops every day and no one made any comments. With the growing concern over child obesity here and overseas, the menu was changed and healthy options were included. This is a good way of getting young people used to eating healthily.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Food waste makes up about a third of our landfill rubbish. The small change of using worm farm would enable us to recycle as much as possible from food waste, and also makes a major contribution to our goal of reducing waste to landfill. However this approach to landfill reduction has not been implemented to all households in Auckland, this could be an opportunity for local government to enforce the use of worm farm through both statutory and non-statutory methods. Such as public education on the effectiveness of worm farm, free maintenance services, bylaw requirements on worm farm ownership, and building contribution.
    Qiaofeng Hu 4915881

    ReplyDelete
  33. Last year a horrific cycling accident took place where a tourist was hit by a truck and killed. She was cycling around the waterfront from the city towards St Heliers and as was riding through Okahu Bay and past Kellytaltons. The car parks on the corner of the road are very close to the bend which means cyclists have to veer out into the passing traffic. As she did this she veered out into the path of a truck and was tragically killed. Both the truck driver and the cyclist were found not to be at fault. It is interesting to note that 2 years prior to this the council had employed a cycling group to critique this as a part of a 50km cycle route and their findings were that this was a pinch point and that some of the car parks should have been taken off the bend to avoid any potential accident however nothing was done. Within two days of the death of the cyclist council acted upon this and removed the car parks from the bend. Often it takes a death for action to actually be taken and a small change like taking car parks of the bend would have made a significant difference. I think this is a clear example of how Auckland needs to improve its cycling infrastructure to make sure that accidents like this don’t occur in the future. Improving cycling infrastructure will also encourage more people to cycle as they will feel more confident that the infrastructure sufficiently supports cyclists.

    Holly Coates
    1221649

    ReplyDelete
  34. Also, while on the cycling topic,

    A small change but one that is highly relevant is when council or transit allocate funds to do major road upgrades it would be an ideal time to increase the shoulder of the road to allow more space for cyclists to ride safely. This only needs to be another half meter to a meter which would make a big difference. When they are doing temporary road works to upgrade infrastructure where the road is dug up it would be a good time to make allowances between the various authorities such as Council and Transit NZ and Watercare services to plan extra road width for cyclists and in a cost effective way.

    Holly Coates
    1221649

    ReplyDelete
  35. I agree with Hannah G that many main pedestrian journeys within the city contain blank walls and in my opinion blank spaces and corridors. An example of this is the stretch of Symonds Street between the bridge to the University of Auckland. This route is highly used by pedestrians due to its connectivity to other transport modes. However it is void of personality and interest on a human scale. Instead of the blank walls that Hannah G has mentioned there are many towering commercial buildings with little street interaction and a lack of active edges. Along the Western side of the street there is a wide footpath which presents opportunities for increasing pedestrian amenity (as Harry has mentioned). Auckland Transport and Auckland Council could transform this grey and character-less space into a green corridor with trees and planting. Perhaps the property owners along both sides could be worked with to create planting to beautify this street for the benefit of pedestrians, drivers, local businesses, and the environment alike.

    Melanie Cripps
    3592750

    ReplyDelete
  36. A small change that has made a big difference in Auckland is the speed limit reduction on Ponsonby Road from 50km/h to 40km/h. Previously, the locals saw the road as more of a 'major highway' that had no sense of community. A number of accidents occurred before this change including a death in 2005 (while a woman waited in the pedestrian island to cross the road safely) and a bus hitting a pedestrian in 2008.

    The change to the 40km/h speed limit has made Ponsonby a safer environment for the people and the cars on Ponsonby Road. This relates back to the idea covered in class about designing streets for both people and cyclists, not just cars. Lowering speed limits creates a friendly and walk-able environment which is the direction that Auckland needs to take.

    This is an interesting article from NZ Herald in which the writer admits he would rather use his car than be a pedestrian because of how dangerous it is at times.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/motoring/news/article.cfm?c_id=9&objectid=10745354

    Rachael Thomas
    1284746

    ReplyDelete
  37. I agree with Georgia’s flatmates with the idea of directing bus exhaust fumes away from the footpath side of the road. It would increase amenity for both cyclists and pedestrians within the city. Because I live in the city I walk along Symonds Street every day. The route I take is between Karangahape Road and the University. Because Symonds Street is a main bus route there are many buses emitting exhaust (and noise). As a pedestrian I find that sometimes the level of fumes is choking. This is especially around the bus stops when several buses pull-up and idle for some time. Trouble spots I’ve noticed are the stops outside the Langham, outside Gordon and Harris, and up from St Paul’s Church.

    Melanie Cripps
    3592750

    ReplyDelete
  38. I agree with Holly about the importance of improving cycling infrastructure around Auckland. Cycling is getting more and more popular for people to get around the city. But it is often very dangerous. I think that Auckland could have a dedicated cycle lane in many of its main roads, which would keep cyclists protected from wayward motorists, many of whom do not take much care when driving beside cyclists. More people need to be encouraged to cycle on our roads, not being put off because it is so dangerous as so many are.These dedicated cycle lanes are already in use all over Sydney are more recently in Wellington.
    This blog shows what is being done in Wellington: http://cyclingwellington.co.nz/2011/04/bike-lane-nirvana/img_1902/

    ReplyDelete
  39. The idea of dedicated cycle lanes appeals to me as a cyclist and a driver. By separating these two conflicting groups, there is the opportunity to reduce accidents and near misses between them.
    Currently Auckland cyclists get a pseudo space that is theirs to occupy on the road. Often it is in the form of sharing with a buses or parked cars, which are from experience two of the larger threats to cyclists. Parked cars with drives who don't look before opening doors are a fatality waiting to happen. I suggest widening these shared spaces so that there is room between the parked cars and the flow of traffic. It may not create a dedicated cycle space, but having an extra meter of room to move, before ending up in front of a car, may just be enough to save a life.

    sfos028 1231978

    ReplyDelete
  40. We have always learnt that every little bit counts. Such as turning off electrical appliances such as televisions and DVD players at the plug when they're not in use at night as they are usually on standby or turning off lights in rooms that are not being used. On an individual level it may not make a big difference, but on a community level it can make a big difference in reducing power consumption.

    Tin Lo 1066001

    ReplyDelete
  41. To expand a bit on what has been said previously:
    @David/Jethro/Georgia/anyone else involved in the traffic lights debate, coming from the UK there is a countdown system of sorts, but it sort of works the other way round. Instead of counting down to the red light, traffic lights kind of 'count up' to when they are going to turn green. A few seconds before the light turns green, the amber light turns on concurrently with the red to warn drivers that it is about to change. The consequence of this is that drivers are aware of the impending change and can move away faster. Rather than waiting for the person in front to go, traffic in the UK tends to move as one which is a much more efficient system. As a side note, I haven't been back to the UK in 9 years and can't confirm whether this is still the case, however, I would advocate this being trialed in Auckland as it may speed things up and also lead to fewer people jumping reds.

    @Rachel, sort of as a complimentary idea to the hard response you have talked about in the changing of speed limits, there is the potential to introduce 'soft' options. These are more passive speed reduction measures such as narrowing the road and introducing trees that narrow the optical width to reduce the comfort of the driver. The spin off effect is reduced speeds as drivers aren't as confident in moving through these areas, which definitely improves the pedestrian experience as it no longer feels like a highway. This can also improve the visual amenity of the street which as a bit of a bonus.

    Sid Scull

    1001224

    ReplyDelete
  42. As already stated by Yuqing Zhou, the new HOP smartcard system is a more effective means of managing payment on public transport. The expansion to more and more bus/train/ferry services will only see it become more effective. I personally have found myself making more spontaneous public transport trips than before, now that I have an easier means to pay for them. I have read that the Auckland Council is looking into providing the HOP card as a means to pay for parking in their city car parks. By spreading this service to all car parks throughout the city, it would greatly increase the number of HOP card holders. I believe this small change would make public transport a more viable option to everyday car drivers, who might make the choice to take the occasional bus (not everyone carries cash).

    Karl Anderson
    kand095 (4889652)

    ReplyDelete
  43. As the Rugby World Cup is approaching, the waterfront has caught a lot of attention, especially Wynyard Quarter and the newly built Viaduct Events Centre. I must say it is a nice area even to just walk around leisurely. One thing that caught my eye when I was down there was the street furniture and the design of the street furniture. I believe that by designing the street furniture in a contemporary manner such as the seats near the information centre. Instead of placing ordinary benches you see elsewhere, the benches sits on rail way tracks that can be seen as symbolic as the area previously was used for transportation. It also provide a sense of heritage rather than disregarding what used to on the site.

    4940825 phui005

    ReplyDelete
  44. I have been living in Auckland city center for a couple of years, and I recognized that there are always some safety issues for pedestrians walking on the roads, and the presence of these issues reduces the level of quality living standard of city central, and incompatible with the government’s efforts to promote a healthy living goal for people. To increase road safety of pedestrians and encourage more physical activities for the residents, some minor options can be sought to make a big difference to the current situation.
    Car speed needs to be reduced on some arterial roads, such as Beach Road and Quay Street, to ensure more safety. This can be achieved through installation of road humps, as studies have shown that road humps can reduce accidents involving pedestrians by 63 percent and cyclists by 29 percent (Department for Transport, 2009).
    Increase safety in open space at night: I also recognized that there are some safety issues at some of the open spaces at night, such as Te Taou Reserve, Alten Reserve and Mahuhukiterangi Reserve. The design of those open spaces is excellent and beautiful, but many people would fear to go there at night. There’s a need to install more street lights in open space and parks.

    Reference:
    Department for Transport, (2009) Improving road safety for pedestrians and cyclists in Great Britain, http://www.nao.org.uk/publications/0809/improving_road_safety_for_ped.aspx, (accessed: 15/08/2011).

    Xinyue Wang (xwan266)
    1181130

    ReplyDelete
  45. Sid: I agree that the passive measures you talk about are more effective in achieving an objective of creating more pedestrian friendly streets. Ponsonby Road could be improved in many ways in this aspect because although the cars are travelling at a slower speed, crossing 4 lanes of traffic is still not safe. The idea of trees to make streets look narrower is a viable idea in this instance. I am guessing in the case of Ponsonby Rd there was not enough funding and it would have been easier to replace a few speed limit signs than to implement passive measures - which is a shame!

    Rachael Thomas
    1284746

    ReplyDelete
  46. An issue for East Auckland is that you can’t really get to many places via public transport. For example, there is no direct bus that takes you from Howick to Sylvia Park. This is probably a factor in people’s decision to use public transport, as they would rather drive to places rather than hop on a bus, then transfer onto another bus or maybe a train to get to their final destination. The fact that the Howick and Eastern buses are not a part of the HOP system can also discourage people even more, as they would need another bus card for transferring buses or it would cost them all their spare change.

    A simple solution could be the availability of direct bus routes for people in East Auckland, as providing the option for people to travel via public transport can reduce their dependancy on private vehicles.

    Sarah Wong
    1299374
    swon190

    ReplyDelete
  47. I also agree with Penny's point that neighbourhoods can discourage people from walking. For example, in my neighbourhood there are some walkways that people can take to get to local shops, however, these walkways are surrounded by high fences which are painted blood red for some odd reason - this can give off the perception that the area is unsafe, and that it is probably a better idea to avoid these areas, despite them being the most direct routes possible.

    Sarah Wong
    1299374
    swon190

    ReplyDelete
  48. A revolving headline for a news article caught my eye today which is related to my first post on planting trees along Symonds Street. What I saw as I went to check my Yahoo email today was 'Tree-lined avenues, rail loop'. The actual article title is '$5.5bn to transform Auckland CBD and waterfront'(see the link below). It shares some proposals from the soon to be released Draft Auckland Plan such as turning Hobson and Nelson Streets into 'tree-lined avenues'. I definitely agree that the amenity of these vast arterial roads is very poor. In comparison, Symonds Street is wonderful (which is not saying much). If we are to take Wayne Feiden's approach of implementing small changes to make a big difference, then I believe that turning an average street like Symonds Street into an excellent public space through tree-planting would achieve this.

    Melanie Cripps
    3592750
    mcri011


    http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/10131028/5-5bn-to-transform-auckland-cbd-and-waterfront/

    ReplyDelete
  49. chanel Hargrave char215August 29, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    I would like to respond to Simon's post about installing walking shelters in Auckland. I think this is a very good idea because it would be nice to be able to walk in all whether. I have worked at the airport and the distance from the staff carpark to the terminal is a long way but there are rain shelters most of the way so it stops you getting wet. I think this would be a good idea in commonly used walking routes around the city. One route I feel that this could benefit from this is that from Britomart to the University. Many students walk up from Britomart after catching the train and it would be nice there was some sort of shelter to make the walk more enjoyable. I also think it would be great to have a free dedicated bus from the University to Britomart as the loop bus can take 15 minutes from Britomart and it often makes me late for class.

    ReplyDelete
  50. chanel Hargave char 215August 29, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    A small change that I think could a big difference is the improvement of public open space or green space in residential area, especially suburban areas. I worked as a landscaper for trade-enviro a company which had a contract with the Manukau city council to plant reserve and open space areas.During this time I noticed the poor quality of open space in residential areas. They usually lacked any amenity that would make people want to use them. They consisted of grass and a few trees. I think that small changes like adding a few seats, putting a path through or around the grass and adding a small pathed area as well as making them more attractive by adding flowers or art sculptures area would encourage people not only to want to use the area but to also move through the open space making them safer and able to be used for recreation,which I assume is the point of having them in the first place. I have an example in my mind and will try and upload a photo the space tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Char215 Chanel Hargrave
    Hi just adding the photos I took for the post above. This is a part in Manurewa west/ Alfriston area. As you can see the park consists of nothing but a green space and trees. I think adding a path through the space and a bench would increase the pedestrian traffic through the park which would in turn increase access and also increase public safety. I planted 20 speciman trees in this park and now only 8 of them are left.Money could be spent on other thingsto make the green space more useable with a higher amenity value.
    Photo at this link
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/67022649@N04/6101865922/in/photostream

    ReplyDelete
  52. the introduction of the hop card i think is one small change that have a major influence on how people travelled, or at least on how i travelled, on the surface it may seem to be just another form of paying for the bus ride, but its flexibility and the future potential of it meant that it is perhaps the most important change to public transport in transport history.
    the reason it is important is because unlike the previous GO card, it no longer charges 4 stage price even if only 3 is travelled. this has, at least for me personally to be able to hop on and off on different spot without worrying about the money wastage.
    the reason it is important is because unlike the previous GO card, it no longer charges 4 stage price even if only 3 is travelled. this has, at least for me personally to be able to hop on and off on different spot without worrying about the money wastage.
    furthermore, the promise of full integration of HOP to all forms of public transport Auckland has to offer, this would allow the card users to travel more places with more ease, and as such would be a dramatic change to the Auckland transport scene
    the reason it is important is because unlike the previous GO card, it no longer charges 4 stage price even if only 3 is travelled. this has, at least for me personally to be able to hop on and off on different spot without worrying about the money wastage.
    the reason it is important is because unlike the previous GO card, it no longer charges 4 stage price even if only 3 is travelled. this has, at least for me personally to be able to hop on and off on different spot without worrying about the money wastage.
    furthermore, the promise of full integration of HOP to all forms of public transport auckland has to offer, this would allow the card users to travell more places with more ease, and as such would be a dramatic change to the auckland transport scene
    Fengqiao Han
    ID: 4596921

    ReplyDelete
  53. I know the time limit for this is over now, however re: my comments on Grafton Bridge sensors, I got this reply from Auckland Transport;


    Dear Georgia,

    Customer Reference Number: AT2011-035388

    Subject: Grafton Bridge - Sensors



    Thank you for contacting Auckland Transport on the 22nd of August 2011 regarding the vehicle detectors on Grafton Bridge, Grafton. Your query was passed onto the Road Corridor Operations Department.

    This intersection is one of the sites within the Auckland Central area which we are undertaking a trial of new vehicles sensors installed specifically to detect cyclists. Cyclists should no longer have to wait for larger vehicles in order for the phase to change at this intersection provided they position themselves within the cycle box provided.

    We believe the new detectors will be a success in detecting cyclists at this site. We will look further into expanding the detection zone to also cover motorcyclists stopping at the limit lines a little further back from where the cycle box is positioned.

    We appreciate you taking the time to contact us and trust you will see improvements at this intersection shortly.

    Kind regards


    Georgia Stillwell
    4910494
    gsti009

    ReplyDelete
  54. One example of how small changes can make a big difference in Auckland is where having designated bus and transit lanes in major roads during peak hours. This makes travel to and from the city a lot faster, more efficient and effective, encouraging more people to use public transport and or carpool, that would otherwise be dominated by individual car users causing more congestion on the roads. In the North Shore where I live, bus lanes and transit lanes in major roads such as in and Akoranga Drive and Northcote Centre, also contribute to the overall effectiveness of the Northern Busway. This has reduced car numbers and road congestion in the motorway. Since it opened in February 2008, the number of people commuting to and from CBD continues to increase, proving its success.
    (photo link: http://www2.northshorecity.govt.nz/transport_and_roads/Public-transport/buswaymap.html)

    ReplyDelete
  55. The first thing flashing through in my mind about this topic is garbage recycle, especially household garbage disposal. Most of residential in Auckland have two garbage recycle bins that one is for general waste and the other one is for recycle garbage. That small thing reduces large amount of garbage disposal to ensure the recyclable resources could be processed in the sustainable way. Just simple separating different garbage into two different bins is not only minimizing methane in terms of reducing the amount of garbage for landfill, but also creating more recycle resources. Furthermore, orange garbage bags require purchase to pack up the garbage is also a small thing but make big effective. This behavior controls the waste amount of each household which could greatly reduce the stressing of waste management processing.

    Hui Yin
    ID: 1159929

    ReplyDelete
  56. A small change that could be made to make a big difference is having busses running until 3 or 4am from the CBD on Friday and Saturday nights. If you are drunk and leaving from anywhere in town after midnight, your only options are to walk or taxi (or drive a private car if you are sober). After attending a 21st last week, and walking up Queen Street, I was gobsmacked at the number of taxis. There is obviously demand for transport at this time of night. Having busses (and trains) running after midnight would mean less emissions from cars, less drunk-driving and they are a safer and quicker method of getting home than walking. They could even charge a higher fare after midnight to make it more feasible. I know that I would rather pay a dollar or 2 more for a bus than pay an expensive taxi fare. Getting on a bus is also potentially less risky/frightening for a lone woman than getting into a taxi with a male driver.

    Elsa Weir
    1300996

    ReplyDelete