Max Coyle’s Submission to Hamilton City Council’s 10 Year Plan #Ham10YP

Id just like to congratulate the designers of the 10 year plan consultation PDF. Beautiful work, it’s easy to read and makes it easy for people to digest the information.

It was also great to see just as many cute little pictures of bikes as cars! You’d almost get the idea that there was some positive steps being made in that direction. So lets look and see.

$7M on cycleways. 2.68% of the ‘projects’ transport budget. Or 1.3% of the total $507M transport budget.

Great there’s some money being spent on cycleways, though it is a mere pittance. Unfortunately it won’t be starting for around another 15 years. With a look to completion in 25 years. Great for my grandkids! And will mean that the Tron is once again not the City of the Future but the city of the forgotten past.

But why do so many of us want cycleways anyway? Why do transport experts provide such interesting studies showing their extremely high return on investment and overwhelmingly positive cost/benefit ratios?

Well looking at the 10 year consultation document we see a projected population increase of 60’000 over 30 years with the number of motor vehicles increasing by 66 percent in that time, which comes to 49,753 cars. With each one of those vehicles making two trips a day. With a population of 145’000 this 25% increase will see a 2/3 increase in vehicles meaning Council’s projections are that every new man, woman and some children will be driving their own car.

A lot of those extra car trips will be needing to cross one of our bridges. Have you seen our bridges currently at peak time? Perhaps we should just concrete over the river and turn it into a highway?

So what’s the solution? Well what would be a positive move for the city is to limit those trips, limit traffic and limit congestion. Here’s some answers which don’t involve spending as many hundreds of millions on more roads, which will of course create induced demand and lead to exactly the sort of numbers you’re predicting.

Few Hamilton cycling trails and shortcuts are destination-signposted. We are not getting the value for money from our already-built infrastructure because we’re not telling people how to use it to go places.

Signage will encourage more users, leading to safety in numbers and its relatively cheap.

Long-term residents and those used to walking/cycling Hamilton may be adept navigators but for many who haven’t explored so much, fear of getting lost is likely a deterrent to them learning their ways around.

Trails and shortcuts within city limits are ideal for spontaneous and short journeys for locals and visitors and activating these will ease congestion and make Hamilton a more liveable city.

Another step is for HCC to Adopt the Hamilton City Green Ring which meets the Council Priority #7 which is to “Become an Urban Garden” (sounds cool right? It’s a shame its not reflected in anything in the 10 year plan).

Following on from that the main routes through the city, as identified by other groups such as Cycle Action Waikato, need to receive separated cycleways.

Once we have these changes we then need to encourage use of new facilities through marketing and promotion of cycling in Hamilton via social media – ‘HAMILTONS SAFE CYCLE NETWORK’

Safe. That’s the keyword here. Speaking to people across Hamilton, especially women, mums, safety is their number 1 reason for not cycling and for being worried about their kids cycling. Making cycling safer will see a marked increase in the numbers of women cycling. Commuter cycling should not be seen as a macho daredevil activity.

So instead of the pittance how much should HCC be spending on cycling? A slightly larger pittance! A good start is $3 million dollar annually. If HCC were organised this would only amount to approximately $1.5 million because of the subsidies available. That would be amazingly good value for rate payers. $3 million dollars a year worth of infrastructure for $1.5 million per annum. Fantastic!

The 10 year plan in its current form is a worry. None of the 3 main funding proposals have cycling included. 2029 is way too late to spend $7M on the current HCC cycle strategy. Council needs to move now and take advantage of current opportunities for funding with the Governments Urban cycle fund etc. We are missing the boat, and in the meantime we will miss all the other cool cycling knock on benefits, both economic and social from the likes of the local great cycle trails & the Avantidrome.

The 10 year plan also has no mention on page 15, the “transport” page, of active or public transport types. Its like they’ve been completely forgotten where it matters most and its sad that the Council don’t seem to have been able to get their act together and secure any funding for cycleways. You’re really not devoting enough energy to cycling and have dropped the ball here.

The finances needed for effective cycleways and outstanding improvements are small, which you will be praised for in times to come as they reduce traffic and lead to a healthier, more economically and socially vibrant city, a true City of the Future. Please don’t stuff it up. Thankyou.

>> I encourage everyone to make their own submission << Feel free to reuse, reword, copy/pasta whatever. Submit here or hashtag your submission with #Ham10YP and post it on Facebook (to the Council Facebook page) or short statements via twitter to Council’s twitter page.

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Pesky Poopwalls

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Goodbye pesky poopwalls!

Car manufacturers told to prove safety of cars, or remove them

Screen Shot 2019-02-21 at 2.49.38 PM

The chair of the Auckland Transport agency, Lester Levy, said he raised questions about the safety of cars as far back as October and asked Auckland Transport to urgently review the conditions of car dealership trading licences.

“From the outset, I have had serious safety concerns, initially about user behaviour, but recently we’re seeing hundreds of deaths every year. I am very concerned,” he said.

“I think we should have a formal safety case that is created beforehand that is considered with due diligence by all the relevant organisations that are critical to this.”

Not wanting to be seen as limiting transportation, Dr Levy said “laziness” had trumped “safety”.

Hundreds of people have been killed year on year including children due to the car itself being a multi-tonne piece of metal careening at speeds up to and over 100km per hour. Car manufacturers have until the end of the week to prove the fleet’s safety.

Car manufacturers response is too slow, he said.

“I’ve asked our chief executive at AT in his involvement to alter the threshold of this. If we don’t get responses quickly, in my view they should take more severe action which could involve curtailing the sale of all new cars and the recall of existing ones.”

Cars were introduced under to NZ starting in 1898, with the first two arriving in Wellington. Since then they have killed an average of 300 people per year since records began.

“I’m quite uncomfortable with many aspects of this,” Dr Levy said.

Now, Dr Levy is looking into a “deeper, wider” investigation.

“The burden of proof should be on car manufacturers, unless they can prove with immediacy there is no problem and the litany of deaths will end, then they should be removed.”

Car manufacturers and industry bodies have lobbied and financially assisted both Labour & National Party MP’s in the past.

We revealed that to AT chairman Lester Levy, who’s now considering an investigation into the role of paid lobbyists continuing the automobiles dominance in Aotearoa.

Free Meth/The War on P

So almost 10 years ago, the National Government announced its ‘WAR ON P’.
Since then, usage rates have remained exactly the same, arrests have gone way up and things are actually getting worse.
Who would have thought? Why does this happen?
When meth first hit the scene, I was there. This was in the early 2000’s. All the gangs switched to making it or selling it and it became difficult to source other drugs. Many non gang sources did the same.
LSD, speed, oil, hash, ecstasy, ketamine, all those fun drugs which used properly, respectfully and by knowledgeable adults, can lead to a great night in, a night out out or ‘into the within’, disappeared. Cannabis was still plentiful but it became harder to get all those other things, and easier to buy meth. While its always been hard to get things like cocaine in NZ, the white powder of meth was easy. Its a shame its such a shit drug.
And the supply of that shit drug was endless, the demand grew with it. People have always used drugs and always will. People use the drugs they’re able to get ahold of. Whether it be a can of flyspray (cheap but not recommended) or a bag of meth.
When John Key announced the ‘War on P’ in 2009, I’d long ago left that world behind. But I knew what it would mean for those involved. Dollar signs.
true

Thanks to RNZ for the awesome pictures and the stories that prompted me to write this! http://shorthand.radionz.co.nz/brokenbad/index.html

The further the government tried to crack down on the supply of meth, the greater the demand for it and the more lucrative it would become, and the more addicts would be pushed into the inexorable meth madness thats has been created.
So whats the solution then Maxy boy? Pretty simple really. Make better alternatives available. Make all the alternatives available. The advertising exec in the RNZ story won’t be buying mth when they can go and buy coke. Poorer users will buy a cheaper high, one that won’t shit them out as bad as meth will. But still if people want meth, it can be for sale alongside everything else, sold by a pharmacist/retailer with detailed knowledge of the drugs and with information given on usage, treatment options, counselling etc etc.
Tax it. Just like we do with alcohol. Not ludicrously like we do with cigarettes. Use the proceeds to fund treatment, counselling, education and studies.
But if its legal then everyone will have access and everyone will do it? That first part is correct, just as it is correct right now. Its easier for a 16 year old to go and buy meth than it is to buy alcohol. But eventually if they want either they’ll get ahold of it. But the everyone will do it part? Not so much.
People that want to use drugs, will use them. The trick is, helping them to make the best decisions whilst they do so, and to minimise the harm to themselves, the community and society.
Its time to end the ‘War on P’, and the ‘War on Drugs’. Both have cost us billions and done nothing but destroy lives. I’d love to have an alternative catchy name like the ‘Peace on People’ but it doesn’t quite fit.
Its time we started doing what experts have recommended and what studies conform to be in our best interest. To be spending money on helping, not harming people.

Another great graphic from RNZ’s meth story of stories. Listen to them online now https://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/live/national

Garden Place madness

So Council is now proposing another Garden Place
makeover? Hot on the heels of putting out the idea of turning
Garden Place into a shared space with roads through it and
carparks, an idea which was heavily opposed by the public,
they’re now promoting the same thing again? This time though
the idea is being put forward by private property developers.
Nevertheless the ratepayers will be the ones forking out for
another concrete covered revamp with even less green space.

What is most interesting is that Council has seen
fit to promote these private citizens plans so widely,
spending ratepayers money on communications staffers
time to prepare social media posts and press releases.

After Council overwhelmingly heard that there was no appetite
for another GP redesign or roads through the middle, the public
may have been mistaken in thinking the matter was put to
bed. It appears HCC is particularly keen to make this happen,
thankfully judging by the latest public response, Hamiltonians
have not yet got tired of saying No to things they don’t want.

As other developing cities around the world have started
adding more places where its safe to walk, it seems like a
‘Back to the Future’ move by Council to be moving the other
way. In 2015 alone they were talking about fning people
parking in the Ward Lane/Caro Street shared road. This never
came to fruition though and now the poles have reversed.

As the whims of Council change, we can only hope that more
consultants are not fowin in from overseas or Auckland at the
public expense to drip yet more concrete over poor Garden Place.
If they want to make it more family friendly, surely a destination
playground and having the library open would be better.

Originally published in the September edition of the Western Community Newspaper.

Trump v Trump – NZ News Sites Report the US Primaries

I gave up my daily habit of checking Stuff.co.nz and the NZ Herald sites a while back. Between coverage of Entertainment news and Crime reporting and cross-over ‘stories’ on reality TV and its ‘stars’ it just didn’t seem like there was any actual news.

I was comforted by the fact that if there was some, you know, news in the newspapers, someone else would link to it and save me the trouble of seeing more Kardashians than child poverty reporting. Of seeing more The Block stars than people from my block and the real issues people are dealing with.

Anyway, I wondered how NZ news sites were covering the US primaries, after seeing a story from The Guardian showing Donald Trump has received more media coverage than all the Republican candidates put together.

Surely our bastions of kiwi journalism (No not RNZ) wouldn’t be as bad as Fox News, CNN, CBS etc.

I used a simple metric, it’s called Ctrl-F (or Command F for you Applets). On the home page of each website, where a huge number of kiwis go to digest what the site has chosen to show them, you hit find, and type in the word, and see how many times it appears.

The first time I tried it, just after the Super Tuesday primaries, my hope in NZ news editing was, unsurprisingly intact! That is the complete and utter lack of hope, which has been evident ever since the lead up to the last election.

Mentions on the home page:
NZ Herald
Trump: 14
Rubio: 6
Clinton: 4
Cruz: 3
Sanders: 1

Stuff
Trump: 11
Rubio: 5
Cruz: 1
Clinton 1

Have checked back a few times since then and seen similar flows of numbers. Today for instance:

NZHerald:
Trump: 4

Stuff:
Trump: 3
Rubio: 3

No I didn’t miss anyone out in today’s ones. We seem to have a higher Republican coverage slant. No mention of Sanders historic and game changing Michigan primary win. Unfortunate.

Many Kiwi’s would assume Trump is on the way to becoming the next American President, based on their ‘headline only, quick glance’ consumption of news becoming more and more prevalent.

It’s a worry.

 

Against “conservative leftism” : Why reactionary responses to neoliberalism fail

The most pertinent essay for the NZ left in a long time

FightBack

NZ flag

by Daphne Lawless. For Fightback’s upcoming magazine issue on neoliberalism.

If you had told a socialist or a radical of a few decades ago that Marxist socialists would not only be defending the Union Jack-emblazoned New Zealand flag – a remnant of the British Empire, known as the “Butcher’s Apron” because of all the blood spilled on it, the flag of the colonialist, capitalist state – but marching behind it on demonstrations, they would undoubtedly think that you’d gone crazy. As recently as 2005, the “Defend Our Flag” movement was the preserve of conservatives like the Returned Services Association or the fascist National Front.

And yet, on the marches against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) signing on 4th February, Union Jacks were plentiful. On Facebook, socialists and radicals were calling supporters of Kyle Lockwood’s alternative flag, to be voted on in a referendum in March, “traitors”. How did this…

View original post 5,315 more words

Hamilton City Council caves conceding cash to cycling

As readers of this blog may have noticed, I’ve been campaigning hard for decent cycling infrastructure in Hamilton for some time now. My blog post numbers reached 500 individuals a day. As one of Hamiltons 2 cycling/make world a better place/political blogs (chur Hamilton Urban Blog!) thats pretty ok numbers for a small city who tend to not even vote in local body elections.

An info graphic showing Hamilton City Council planned to spend $0 over the next decade was used by the good young things at Generation Zero and led to over 350 submissions on the ‪#‎Ham10YP‬ and shared all round the place. We drove online social media submissions and accounted for 98% of all of them.

Yes it’s wonderful that the council have finally bowed to massive public and factual pressure and decided to actually spend $ on cycling infrastructure.

Of course it’s only 0.6% of the transport budget and cyclists make up 6% and growing according to census figures. Bow down before the mighty 10th of what should be received. We as a City are clearly not worthy.

Jump on this piece of consultation, tell them you want more, you want better, maybe even also thank them for at least making a start. Sigh. Do it for our kids, so that they may ride safely. Do it for others both now and in the future. Do it for less traffic and a cleaner planet. Do it for the love.

Chur.