Weekly Roundup 15-October-2021 – Greater Auckland


Header image: Queen St, 1940s. Source – Alexander Turnbull via Auckland History Initiative

Kia ora on the eve of what looks like a few days of solid sunshine in Auckland, perfect for picnic season. Here’s our roundup of interesting thoughts, newsy items and good reads for the week.

In case you missed it – the week in Greater Auckland

  • On Monday, Matt wrote about the latest tranche of speed limit changes under consultation.
  • Tuesday’s post was a guest post by Alex Bonham, about the ‘playful city’ and what that means
  • Wednesday’s post by Matt covered the Emissions Reduction Plan, hot off the press. Hope our 10am publishing time didn’t confuse anyone – sorry, we couldn’t publish any sooner!
  • Yesterday we published a guest post by Sam Duncan, an Urban Development student, about his group’s C40 Reinventing Cities-winning masterplan for Northcote Town Centre

Everyone’s noticing that transport is the standout of the ERP

RNZ reports on the absence of detail in Agriculture compared to that provided for Transport, and Greater Auckland’s Matt, quoted in the story, spoke about the big reductions in VKT we’ll need to see in urban areas to meet the targets.

Transport seems to have had more detailed work done on it than the other sectors. This is good; transport affects everyone, every sector, every business, every endeavour. With the transport section being more developed, this hopefully means we can get going quickly on it.

The government’s key message needs to be that a low carbon transport system is something to look forward to. The earlier we can implement the changes, the sooner we’ll start reaping the benefits of quiet and clean streets which are safe for people to travel actively, and more efficient for deliveries.

Enough talk, let’s do this.

And we’ve been brainstorming ERP talking points. Find yourself stuck in a debate with someone who can’t see past cars?  Try this:

Think about how much easier life will be with x% fewer cars  on the road.

Better journeys by bus – than you ever imagined!

Better journeys by bike – than you ever imagined!

Better for everyone – and you won’t have to be stuck in your car anymore.


If the full ERP discussion document itself is a bit much for your lockdown-fried brain, here’s a handy twitter summary:

Auckland’s parks: our secret weapon against Covid-19

It’s been a hard couple of weeks for us all as we contemplate the sustained presence of Delta in the community. Dr Kirsty Wild, writing on Newsroom, finds a silver lining in Auckland’s beautiful beaches, parks, maunga and open spaces.

Spending more time outdoors doesn’t just make lockdowns more sustainable, it can also make them less likely. Throughout history, cities have had to adapt to cope with infectious disease outbreaks. Covid will be no different. Moving more of our lives outside, creating an outdoor ‘ecosystem’ of open-air activities: from recreation, dining, transport, play, schooling, and social opportunities, will all be part of the new ‘urban hygiene’ to help us prevent as well as manage outbreaks. Many cities overseas have already moved to rearrange their public spaces to prioritise outdoor activities in response to the pandemic.

South Auckland train stations moving ahead

A short piece over at RNZ reports on progress with Drury Central and Paerata moving ahead under the Covid-19 Recovery fast-tracking law.

Subject to approval by a fast-track consenting panel, construction on the first two stations is expected to begin in 2023.

“With an additional 100,000 people expected to move into the area over the next 30 years, encouraging people to switch from using their cars will help ease congestion on an already busy road network and reduce carbon emissions in Auckland,” [Kiwirail’s COO for capital projects] David Gordon said.

“We’re working closely with Auckland Transport and Waka Kotahi to plan and construct the transport infrastructure required to support the expected growth in South Auckland,” he said.

Central City parking woes worsen in Level 3

We’ve noticed lots of chat on Twitter this week about cars parked all over the central city’s nice paved shared spaces, even more so than they are in normal times. Hopefully MP Chloe Swarbrick turning her attention to AT will make the difference and get some enforcement happening? We’re with you, Chloe!

Generation-defining local body elections in Wellington

With housing density, underground infrastructure, getting Wellington moving, and an ambitious cycling plan all making headlines for Welli
ngton in the last few months, the city is heading into high-stakes local body elections next year. Stuff’s Joel MacManus writes about the issues on the table for the upcoming elections. Watch this space…

The debate around the Wellington Spatial Plan was most divisive of this triennium, as the city argued about how to balance character protections for existing homes with the need for higher-density apartment buildings.

On balance, the pro-density crowd probably won the day. Character protections were slashed and building height limits were raised across the city

The changes were strongly opposed by most residents’ associations – groups that hold enormous sway in the world of local politics.

Will there be a backlash of older, home-owning conservative voters who want these policies stripped back, or will we see a wave of frustrated renters and would-be buyers who push the council to make even more aggressive moves?

Trains dominate planes in Italy

CNN reports that Italy’s national airline has hemorrhaged passengers to the country’s high speed trains over the last decade. Now, more than two-thirds of travellers between Rome and Milan, Italy’s busiest business route, travel by train.

Traveling those near-400 miles between Milan and Rome takes as little as 2 hours and 59 minutes. And, of course, the train stations are in the city center, and there’s no need to turn up long before your train — the doors close two minutes before departure.

Contrast that to a minimum half-hour drive to Rome’s Fiumicino, checking in 90 minutes before departure, an hour in the air and then landing outside Milan — Linate airport, the closest, is about 20 minutes’ drive into town — and it’s obvious why people are opting for the train.

Which leads you to wonder, as Italy’s national airline prepares to shut down on October 15 — did the high-speed railways kill Alitalia?

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An Italian high speed train station

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