Impending Auckland Transport Mess Up With City Centre Street – This is How You Design City Centre Streets #CitiesSkylines

Match the mode for the space

Auckland Transport Executives and the Chair again prove that they are talk and no action when it comes to the livability of a City especially its City Centre. The latest from AT in regards to Customs Street having busses removed to improve the flow of cars through a core City Centre area made me shake my head at the minimum. Greater Auckland were not impressed either:

To turn Customs Street into a 6 lane car sewer will sever Britomart and the Ferry Terminal from Queen Street and the core of the City Centre that follows Queen Street to uptown. Thoroughfare traffic should be using the motorway network and Grafton Gully if people need to get from east Auckland to the Harbour Bridge and vice versa. Customs Street would become an excellent transit mall for busses and maybe Light Rail linking Britomart to Symonds Street, Fanshawe Street and the Light Rail Lines heading to Wynyard Quarter and the North Shore. Speaking of which where is 6 lanes of Customs Street cars meant to go when part of it and Fanshawe Street will reduce those lanes to make way for Light Rail.

Again Auckland Transport Executives not exactly thinking nor seeing the value of Integrated Planning.

 

Cities Skylines Urban Design Offers Lessons

While marco-level planning is what I usually do it does not mean I am going to skimp out in creating quality public spaces for my Cims and the tourists. And of course the City Centre is the prime public space.

Large roads will still be seen but they will not be running through the guts of the City Centre but rather forming the border with smaller 4 lane roads feeding into the guts of the City Centre from the 6-lane roads and then the 2-lane roads, shared streets, lane-ways, transit malls and pedestrians malls forming the interior network.

You will see 4-lane roads running through the City Centre but these roads will often contain one or more of the following:

  1. bus lanes
  2. Light Rail
  3. Cycle ways

This allows transit and service vehicles to have continued access to core of the City Centre as people, goods and even the trash have to be moved around (and out of) the City Centre.

But I am not going to put large 6-lane road or the huge 12 lane road right through the middle of my City Centre as it would split it in half causing severance (and a tonne load of noise)

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If you are wondering about this 6-laner that has two bus lanes with that runs right by the Central Station there is a reason why I have done this. First of all a large 12-platform heavy rail (with subway underneath) station to place it in the middle of the City Centre would sever the place even worse than the 6 or even 12 lane roads. So in this instance the station sits on the southern border of San Layton City Centre to which (and keeping consistent with above) a large road forms that norther border of said City Centre. Remember heavy rail is bringing in commuters from longer distances so to travel within the City Centre itself you have:

  1. Subway
  2. Bus (hence the bus lanes)
  3. Cycleways
  4. Monorail
  5. Light Rail

All which are less space intensive!

 

In any case this is the urban geographic layout of San Layton City – to which I will be focusing on the City Centre:

 

 

San Layton City is a dual-core City with multiple satellites all connected by either road or some form of transit (usually rail).

If you are wondering what the following picture and subsequent pictures like it are this is the closest I get to a Shared Space:

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While these are pedestrian or transit malls:

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Right without further ado here is 9am Sunday morning in San Layton City Centre:

 

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Monorail does look quite Gotham:

 

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Street Trees do wonders:

 

 

And now for Central Station and some big roads – oh and a sky cafe. You can also see the monorail running through the City Centre as well:

 

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And now the main road that connects the City Centre up to the Satellites further east. Centre Bank is the main leisure area on the other side of the rail station:

 

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Finally the second bit minor City Centre – Washington Heights and how that is built around a bus station. Again the larger roads form the boundaries with smaller roads often transit malls or shared spaces forming the interior network :

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This is how you outlay your City Centre. Not with big 6 lane car sewers but with public spaces and extensions of living rooms using shared spaces, pedestrian and transit malls and of course transit lanes!!!

Even 9am on a Sunday the City Centre is teeming with Cims!

 

Who Say’s I Don’t Do Green #CitiesSkylines

100% clean green power

 

There are several ways I like to keep my cities green in Cities Skylines:

  1. Power production will often come from low-carbon emitting sources including hydro or nuclear. I do use the Waste to Energy Incinerators that produce small amounts of air and ground pollution but they make up no more than 1% of total power production
  2. Recycling centres and recycling is a must
  3. EV cars are encouraged city-wide
  4. Mass deployment of mass transit
  5. Street Trees
  6. Urban Forests
  7. Green self-sustained residential buildings in some Districts

Okay that was a few more than several 😉

 

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The big two pollution emitters are power production and transport (followed by heavy industry). Heavy industry pollution is handled by urban forests and the Filter Waste policy meaning factories have to filter their sewerage before it heads out to the sewerage plants. This leaves power production and transport.

 

Power production

I follow what I preach when it comes to power production for a City. So if I say I believe in 100% (or near to it) Low Carbon Power Production then I follow through into Cities Skylines:

 

For San Layton City:

  1. 1,449MW of power is produced as electricity coming from:
    1. 1,254MW (or 86.6%) coming from two nuclear reactors
    2. 80MW from Geothermal
    3. 50MW from incinerators
    4. 65MW from on and offshore Wind turbines
  2. 400MW comes from Geothermal based bores sent through to the City as District Centralised Heating (steam or hot water)
  3. Using electricity map (and assuming the incinerators let off as much as a biomass plant) the carbon output is: 37g/CO2/Per KW or 98% low carbon – same as France as of writing this post

 

As you say when I say Green I do Green!

As for transit I invest in most modes depending on the Geography of the City. Patronage is about 50% of the population (using transit) with more using cycling. Given San Layton has two Cores connected by heavy rail and monorail with urban islands coming off of them (surrounded by pasture or forests) that are interconnected also by all forms of rail and bus it is quite easy to move around the city without the need of a car – even going to the industrial complexes.

And yes my transit system runs 24/7 on an integrated fare system. Quite interesting to see even the big 135 bendy busses straining to keep up with passenger demand at 3am in the morning of a Saturday or Sunday as the night owls like to party.

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#CitiesSkylines Park Life is Out and I am Having an Absolute Blast. Also Urban Geography and Green Utility Skills Tested

DLC handles well with a few minor bugs

Well one of those bugs is pretty major if I can not place down the International Airport in your map.

Anyway yesterday the Cities Skylines Park Life DLC came out so I decided to give it a whirl – once the crucial Mods were updated. I didn’t have to wait long as by mid-day the Mods were updated and away I went for the rest of the day.

First a quick prelude in Park Life from Paradox:

Cities: Skylines – Parklife is NOW AVAILABLE!

 

……

Source: Steam

So what did I get up to?

Well the normal Urban Geography game play of building and tweaking continues as always. A new major suburb known as Kent Square was opened up in one of San Layton’s bays connecting the City Centre and Centre Park to the historic area of the City.

That said the Satellite method (establish a Core connected by multiple urban satellites) is being tried in San Latyon City and should be easier to do with Nature Reserves (part of the new DLC) being able to be established in between urban areas.

As of today San Layton City has two “City Parks” and one Amusement Park. The first Nature Reserve and a Zoo are in the planning pipeline for when I next load the game.

 

Park Life

Some early photos of Park Life in action:

The initial look around

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Building our first “City Park”

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All Aboard the sight seeing bus linking the Amusement Park with Centre Park (Convention Centre, Casino, Sky Tower and Monorail hub)

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Some quick broad shots

 

And now for the tram between Centre Park and the historic area:

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Finally some shots from a hot air balloon and other random shots:

 

 

I will get the Nature Reserve and Zoo built next week and test the Green Utility out further as the City continues to expand.

 

#CitiesSkylines New Expansion Out Next Month: PARKS – Lots and Lots of PARKS

No not car parks

 

Paradox and Colossal Order have announced a new DLC coming out for their vaunted hit – Cities Skylines

 

From Paradox via STEAM:

We’re thrilled to announce Parklife, our next expansion for Cities: Skylines!

……

Source: https://steamcommunity.com/games/255710/announcements/detail/3339858483831123709

 

This will be great for my latest city San Layton City as I try new Urban Geography techniques including large park spaces and the use of those paths – that currently I can not build beside – yet!

I was also thinking last week that my City is missing a theme park like my flagship city had in Sim City 4 (it spanned half a map tile in the region).

 

As a result I will put my City on hold so I can make maximum use of the new DLC – when it comes out May 25 – the day after my Birthday

 

Thanks Paradox and Colossal Order!

 

 

Monorail! #CitiesSkylines

Let’s try Monorail

We are all familiar The Simpsons and Monorail:

 

There is even an essay on Monorails and Urban Geography: MONORAIL: A KEY URBAN LESSON FROM THE SIMPSONS. So last night I decided for the first time in Cities Skylines to build a monorail line from the City Centre to Thorton Park halfway across the map.

At the moment the line only has two stations on it (same as the heavy rail network) as San Layton City is a very young city having only being founded a month ago (real-time).

 

None-the-less I built the line and it designed for more stations as the City expands. Once you get the 70km/h speed restriction off the train moves as fast as heavy rail allowing very rapid connections.

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 You can also see some of the first developments here:

Now to get the daily rush hour of traffic under control (caused mainly by inter city traffic rather than intra city commuting)

 

Introducing San Layton City A #CitiesSkylines New Creation

Testing out new features

 

San Solaria recently reached its limits as the game as a vehicle agent limit of 15,000 to prevent the computer being overtaxed. This means your cities without a mod to break the limit mature out at around 300,000 to 500,000 as San Solaria did. I will keep going back to San Solaria to tweak it but in the meantime it is time to start a new city.

 

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San Layton City looking towards the ranges

 

Introducing San Layton City – A Green City

San Layton City will be the first city I have built from scratch since the Green Cities DLC came out in October last year. Rather than retrofitting back as I did with San Solaria, San Layton will be built with Green ideals and planning in mind.

Monorail will be used for the first time ever while heavy rail for commuting will be used again (not every City I build uses heavy rail for commuting) as I look at building satellite cities as well as a main core.

As always Green Power will be at the forefront with nuclear, geothermal and wind (no rivers for Hydro in this map) used as base power and the use of residential solar, and E-cars also to be City-wide policy.

 

So away we go with San Layton City – a Green City!

 

Redesigning the Transit Network #CitiesSkylines Style. Lessons for Auckland

Could Cities Skylines transit network redesign offer hints for Auckland’s poor accessibility to transit?

 

Yesterday a paper was released by MRCageny on accessibility to transit and basically how Auckland’s accessibility let alone equity to transit sucked.

The paper can be found in the Tweet below and I’ll write on this more extensively next month after the Summer Series concludes:

 

 

And yes Auckland pretty much sucks at accessibility:

 

 

I have also written on accessibility in the past over at Talking Southern Auckland when the Manukau South Link was a topical issue:

Manukau South Link catchment close up by Saeid Adli

 

Cities Skylines offers lessons

 

Having to redo your entire transit network becomes a must as your City matures and approaches larger sizes. Bus lines end up a mess as the City expands while trams don’t operate efficiently due to expanded roads and lack of priority measures. As much as you can forward plan it some days a reformat is required.

 

 

San Solaria’s bus and trams will need a reformat as they are not tying in well with the subway network and central bus stations throughout the City. Patronage use to exceed total vehicles on the road but recently it is struggling to match one-third of its previous peaks.

Route accessibility has become the problem with routes going everywhere BUT where people wanted and this has a double knock on effect. The first being less people on the transit network means more cars on the road. More cars on the road means roads and intersections are more jammed up blocking busses and trams. Given the tram and bus network was designed around San Solaria being a mono-core City but in reality it has matured into a two Core city accessibility fast becomes a problem. Also as industry expands into new complexes the population becomes more diverse in its travel patterns.

Sounds a lot like Auckland right?

 

 

 

So time to delete about 10 tram lines and 75 bus lines (some more recent ones will stay) and reformat the surface transit network!

Fun times ahead!