Halswell Domain

Halswell Domain
View from the Model Engineers' site in the Halswell Domain

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

5 Good Reasons Why

New Zealand has very low density cities that have developed largely to rely on cars as the main form of transport.  There are at least four things that are making that reliance on cars undesirable now and these are long term things that will continue into the future.

First and foremost is the rising cost of running a car.  IRD currently puts the cost of car running at 83c per kilometre.  On top of that, is the cost of parking. Garaging, or even just space on a section, costs you in terms of what you pay for that section and the rates you have to pay.  In addition, the cost of car running to ratepayers and tax payers is at the level of billions per year in New Zealand in both road maintenance and injury from accidents.  This is a lot of money for something that sits idle of around 95% of the time on average!

Second, Congestion.  Cars take up a lot of road space – whether from parking on the roadside or the space needed when they are moving.  We become most aware of this when we find ourselves sitting in slow moving traffic.  Traffic congestion is a feature of many of our cities most days of the week and months of the year.  We can never build our way out of this congestion because more cars just come in to fill up the space on roads that are widened and the parking and congestion problems just increase over a wider area.

Third – they take up time.  Every minute you are in a car is a minute that is not contributing much to your wellbeing.  In comparison, walking or biking allow us to exercise while travelling to work and might mean we don’t have to take more time to exercise formally.  More minutes are added to this when you get stuck in traffic.  On top of that, the rising cost of running cars means we need to work more to earn the money to drive. 

Fourth, they negatively affect physical and mental health and our productivity. Human beings are animals that need to move to stay both mentally and physically well as a recent article in the Listener pointed out.  Many of us sit in our cars to go to work, then sit at a desk all day while at work and then sit in our cars to come home before sitting in front of the TV for the evening.  Biking or walking to work results in better physical and mental health without you really having to try.  It can also help you leave work at work rather than taking books and computers home.

Fifth, they are contributing to climate change which is costing all of us all in terms of extreme and more erratic weather.  This includes bigger rain events and rising sea levels which are both contributing to more damaging floods.  At the same time, we are experiencing more summer heat and as a result of that, longer droughts, and more fierce fires.  The more fossil fuels such as petrol, or dieselthat we consume, the more extreme our weather will become and the less easy it will be for us to recover from these events as individuals, and as a city or country.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Walking Every Single Street

A growing movement of people around the world are realising that they know very little about the many streets/ lanes / paths around their city.  For many this was inspired by being locked down and looking for some variety in their walks or runs around home.   For some, this has grown to aiming to walk or run every single street in their city.  Michael Shanks for example (see  https://everyglasgowstreet.com for more) finished running every  single street in Glasgow – over 6000 of them – in January and has written a blog about it. 

This is an inspiring idea which can start right here in Halswell.  How about getting out there and seeing what you can find?  You might want to extend your walk to more than just streets and explore some of the great walking paths hidden away in local parks.  You might even be surprised by how far you can walk without too much trouble and how it can help your fitness and mental health.  

Once you have finished going down all the streets in Halswell, try jumping on a bus and going somewhere different.   On a similar theme, you could make it your goal to catch every bus in the city and see where it goes. Better still, get off and walk around the streets/ footpaths in a different suburb.  If you have a Gold Card, travel after 9.00am and before 3.00pm is free, so you can explore to your heart’s content at no cost.  For others, get a Metrocard which gives you good discounts and means you can travel on one fare for up to two hours, even when you transfer between buses. Check out www.metroinfo.co.nz for more information, or ask at the desk at the bus station in town.

To find out more, try googling “Every single streeter” or “CityStrides”.  You might like to track your own progress by using a map or one of the many tracking apps you can put on your phone.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Cutting Transport Costs


Cutting Transport Costs

Many of us are noticing the steadily rising prices at the petrol pumps and the effect that is having on our weekly expenses. Add to that the cost of parking and other car running costs and it is quite a burden.  It seems like a good time to think about the many other ways we can get around the city.

1)       Take a bus.  The government has made public transport half price for the next few weeks.  If you have a Metrocard, those fares get even cheaper. Halswell is served by four different bus services, including an excellent service to the central City and one to the airport (which can save you bucketloads of money in parking costs)

You can find out more about what buses go where and when by dropping into the bus station in town, or one of our local libraries to pick up bus timetables and maps of where they go.  Alternatively, go online and check out www.metroinfo.co.nz where you can try out the Journey Planner to find out how best to get where you want to go.   There is also a useful app that you can put on your phone that can give you real time information such as when the bus is coming for any stop in the city.

2)   Get on a bike.  A growing number of cycleways around Christchurch are turning biking round the city into a pleasant, safe experience that is good for both body and soul. 

Bikes are easy to park and can be a surprisingly quick convenient way to get around town.  They also give you very good exercise.  A 10km trip takes around half an hour – the minimum amount of daily physical activity.   Bicycles can also be put on buses for use at each end of your trip.

With cycling, it is best to avoid busy roads where you take your car.  Halswell is served by two major cycleways – the Quarrymans Trail which starts at Te Hāpua and takes you into the city, and the Little River Rail Link which you can get onto from the Wigram side of the overbridges on Aidanfield Drive and Dunbars Road. To find good cycle routes, talk to someone who already cycles and ask them about the good routes. You can also pick up a free cycle map from local libraries which shows you where cycle facilities are around the city, or go to www.CCC.govt.nz, search for Christchurch Cycle Map and you can download it, free. 

3)   Buy an electric bike.  E-bikes are relatively expensive bicycles, but they can save heaps of money in car expenses and may even mean you can manage without that extra car.  They can pay themselves off very quickly; the cost of the power for running them works out at about 0.1 to 0.2 cents per kilometre. E-bikes leave you drier in the rain, cooler in the heat, faster in a head wind and they significantly extend the distance you can bike. They are also excellent for mental wellbeing and often get you where you want to go faster even than a car, particularly if you are travelling at rush hour.  

4) Walk.   For shorter trips, walking is a wonderful way to go. It is also a good way to check out the local area and to get some exercise as well as getting somewhere.  Halswell is blessed by some great walking with lots of greenspaces.  Most of us can easily walk 2-3 km in half an hour. Walking to the bus stop and then walking on to work can be a good option for those who need to go further afield.