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Sunday, October 02, 2005

The sound of music

From Frogblog:
"An uncongested city, with a good quality public transport system, is a happy city - environmentally, economically, and socially."
I think the frog blog would be greatly enhanced with good stirring music playing in the background. Still, Frog may get its wish. With hundreds of people leaving the country every week, the cities may soon be uncongested. Problem solved. Who said a Labour government isn't environmentally friendly?

Posted by ZenTiger | 10/02/2005 01:46:00 PM

8 Comments:

Anonymous Ed Snack said...

Thinking of cities that fit Frog's specifications, Moscow springs to mind, Havana, maybe. Any other ideas ?

10/02/2005 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

I believe Pyongyang has little congestion, is a sparce consumer of resources and releases fewer "greenhouse gases" into the atmosphere than other cities.

10/02/2005 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Thanks Ed. Let us not forget Moscow has an efficient rail network, and reasonably priced! It probably mirrors the ideal the Greens are hoping for with the Auckland underground rail project.

Of course, the fares might be a little higher in Auckland as it will not get the 8 million plus passenger trips per day. Or does that just mean taxes on the working folk of Christchurch, Hamilton and Eketahuna are higher?

I wonder if the Greens support prison labour? I was under the impression the Moscow underground rail network relied on Gulags for construction. If not for the actual construction, then for the mining of raw materials required.

There was this quote I heard somewhere when a Russian dignitary wrote off the huge cost in human life following the building of a great canal - "what is a life when this canal will live on for ages" or some such flippancy.

10/02/2005 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger Tane said...

Well, alternative is to always do nothing, and leave people no choice but to drive around with $1.50 petrol. Or $2 petrol. Or $5 petrol....

The market will sort this out, but it won't do it very nicely; demand destruction is a terrible thing, as we found out in the 70's. If a government can lessen the effects of a massive rise in the cost of fuel, then it makes sense for it to do so. Such a huge undertaking may be beyond the means of a private firm, and it's certainly beyond it's intentions (I expect the profit margins will be either negative or barely positive).

And no, I don't think we'll need slave labour to build those rail lines. I'd suggest using fossil-fuelled machines to do it. Let's make use of the stuff while it's still cheap and plentiful.

Finally, Greens do not equal communists, any more than capitalists equal fascists. Shall I start comparing you all to Mussolini.....?

10/03/2005 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

It all sounds much more like The Mound of Spew Sick to me.

10/03/2005 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Howdy Tane. I wasn't trying to equate the Greens to Communists (at least in this post). I was pointing out my concerns that the costings for the underground rail system might not stack up in terms of "universal low cost, frequent and reliable transport for all Kiwis"

I picked Moscow because it has been touted as a model example, but the building history and size of the city has some relevance to its success story. We need some more specifics for Auckland before saying the idea is a no brainer.

I haven't seen any cost projections of what the train fares would be to repay the investment, and the estimated cost as under 2 billion dollars seems a little light-on to me.

The "do nothing" alternative is not the only one, surely. Dedicated bus lanes/car pool lanes (must have 3+ passengers) and some encouragement of hybrid cars and ramping up electricity generation via hydro etc might also help.

If pressing ahead with underground rail is a good thing for the long term, why not consider parallel or stacked construction of an underground city road bypass/circuit at the same time?

I would expect some economy of scale to plan some roads along side the train tunnels at the same time. Or is any new roads EVIL EVIL EVIL in the Green world?

If the earthquake issue is real, then parallel roading/tracking might make it easier to access any cave-ins following a big quake.

On Frog blog they say building new roads never ever helps as the roads automatically fill to capacity, and they also say the roads will empty as petrol gets higher. Which one?

10/03/2005 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Tane said...

G'day Zen,

Thanks for not doing the Green=Communists thing, I would have had to track down some of Mussolini's utterings, and it's never fun trawling through those.

To be honest, while I like the idea of rail for Auckland, I don't know if we'll ever build it, not as some form of subway system anyway. The cost is pretty steep, and the timeframes for Peak Oil are too short (ahem, lets not go into oil this time.....). The resource consents will also be a mongrel to get (damn the RMA!! ;D)

The alternative I suspect we'll fall back on if oil rises sooner rather than later will be trams. Use the rapidly emptying roads to lay light rail, using electricity (which will be relatively plentiful) to power the trams, on machinery that can be manufactured here in NZ. Rails can be made out of old Pajeros and Prados after all, and the overall cost is a fraction of rail. It'd have to be pretty substantial to work, but once it's in place, the energy costs to run it are minimal. Whatever worked in 1922 is going to work in 2022, so trams could well be the way ahead. Even better, those horrible manufacturers in the private sector could get rich making all this stuff (Hang on, manufacturers are the only bussinessmen who like the Greens. Damn it's confusing sometimes).

The Green attitude to roads is that now is the worst of all times to spend billions on something that will not be used. The whole 'congestion getting worse' arguement, while true, is something we throw into the debate to cover our arses. A dollar each way on Peak Oil. Either no-one can afford to drive due to massively increased cost, or if we can, no-one will be able to drive due to massively increased use. So either way, to us it makes more sense to spend the bucks on something that works in either situation. Trains and buses are the options we're preaching about, but just quietly, most journeys of the future will be on foot, on bike or just not made at all. After all, our vision of the future means no more fun and frolics relaxing at the Mega-Mart with half of South Auckland. I should add that we don't, won't and can't impose this vision. The impending collapse of consumerist economy will do that. (sing along now, 'Happy Days are here again...')

And if we're wrong, well at least the good folk of Auckland will have some shiny trains and buses to use, so that those with Beemers and Porsches can take their rightful place up there in fourth and fifth gears. So don't say that the Greens aren't friendly to drivers!

Disclaimer: This is all my personal opinion, and not worth a long streak of monkey piss to the official Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Blame me, not them, and no, I am not privy to the inner sanctum of the party. I've only been a member since April and it takes time to work your way into the central coven.

10/03/2005 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Melbourne has Trams. Any-one from Melbourne (or ex-Melbourne) care to drop an opinion on how effective the Trams are for them. From memory from my few trips to Melbourne, they have carved out a bit of space by having a few wide roads to work from. Then there's that weird hook turn rule to shoot across traffic and trams...

Sydney stuck in some Trams on a relatively small run. Not sure how that's working. I think every-one got used to it.

What's Wellington doing with its trolley buses? I thought moves were afoot to dump them for cheaper and prettier diesel buses? Are Tram lines the answer?

Given that petrol is heaps more in Europe, I see the lower incomes being squeezed in the short term, and a quick flip to smaller cars, hybrids and blended fuel mixtures.

The Greens seem to be promoting the idea that people move out of the suburbs, closer to the schools and jobs. That generally means high density housing. It strikes me the Green party is all about seeing the environment using a telescope from your lounge window, not actually living in it.

Question is, are our RMA rules capable of enabling more high density housing? Last I noticed, the Greens blocked some rules that would have enabled developers to develop.

So there's the problem: More high density housing to pull people away from the land. More public transport that will cost lots to build and take a long time. Lots of RMA hassles to slow this down. Rising fuel costs for those unable to move closer to work.

I suspect the logistics of supporting the planning and implementation of all this is more of an issue than peak oil (at least at this point)

We shall see.

10/03/2005 06:20:00 PM  

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