Catching up with Manukau #CitiesSkylines #UrbanGeography

Some 700 photos – and been slacking off a bit

Some 700 photos between March and now means I have been slacking off a bit with updates to my cities here.

I won’t share all 700 in this post as that is picture OVERLOAD for anyone. So over the next few posts I will be staging all the photos including data sets for Manukau while sharing the Urban Geography story through Cities Skylines.

In the run up to upgrading the City Centre

Manukau City Centre and Downtown have received upgrades over the last four weeks as well some urban expansion including a new technology park. In the run up to those photos lets take a look at where we are at the moment with game-style in Manukau.

Starting with the trams that run through the City Centre and Downtown of Manukau

Trams in Cities Skylines are particularly useful as they can move towards 300 passengers per rolling stock unit compared to my largest bus (a bendy bus) moving 135 passengers. Unlike heavy rail and Metro Rail trams are integrated into the urban area (no severance) and can blend other features like cycle ways. Trams are also quieter than monorails as well.

The main problem is they are at grade with the traffic and get caught at intersections causing congestion as seen below:

I am going to have to bite the bullet and replace the trams with monorail which takes the same road as trams but is elevates – so not fouled by intersections. Noise is easily mitigated mind you through trees and some rezoning (commercial loves monorail stations, residents don’t). Ah well onwards and upwards!

Buses

My workhorses of the transit fleet:

Buses I divided into three classes to make most of their flexibility:

  1. Light: these are feeder busses running every 15-20mins either all day or in daylight hours. These as they say they do feed into larger transit lines and will seat between 30-70 people per bus. Bus priority not often used except near transit hubs
  2. Standard: this is where the bus is the primary mover of people in a given area. The budget varies and allows frequencies between every 5 minutes in peak and 20mins off peak (night). Capacity ranges from 30 to 90 passengers per bus and bus lanes are seen on arterial roads
  3. Metro: this is where the big bendy buses (130 passenger) ply their trade often on busways connecting different Districts within the City. Frequencies are every 3-5 minutes and bus lanes or bus ways are used along most of their route. Metro buses can also feed into Metro Rail where the Metro rail runs north-south and the Metro Bus will run east-west intersecting the metro-rail at a transit hub. If the Metro buses are constantly overloaded I will swap them out for Trams or Metro Rail (more often Metro Rail owing to their grade separation above or below ground)

Bus Hubs of various sizes are used depending on purpose with some also interconnected with trams and mono-rail stations as well. And as expected Transit Oriented Developments are utilised around the bus hubs or transit interchanges as well to get best utilisation.

Bus Lanes and Busways:

Cycleways and Pedestrian paths

Cycleways and pedestrian paths I tend to use to connect cul-de-sacs up to nearby main roads. However, when your City has a river or three running through them cycleways and pedestrian paths become good cheap sources of moving people from A to B without needing the car clogging the area. Paths can also included Shared Spaces (with cars) or Pedestrian Malls.

Some examples:

Of course separated cycle lanes and ordinary cycle lanes help too:

Big Data Mk1

Finally the data sets I use in both planning and evaluating decisions when working on the City. The data set is very rich and covers a wide range of topics including even individual transit lines as you are about to see:

Cities Skylines is a bit more than slapping down some roads and zones. To make the City function optimally you have to respond to happenings and plan for them as well. The data sets can help especially with transport, electricity, water and amenities – unless you want the City to lock up and the residents sick.

A final shot of Manukau in the prelude before we go over to how the City is currently and how it got there:

Manukau Continues to Grow, Using the Toolkit to Make the City Function #CitiesSkylines

Maps, Big Data and pictures – how to make the City flow

When your City surges from 109,000 to 133,000 in two days of game play (basically the equivalent of Auckland’s growth from 2010 until 2019 (today)) you need to have your wits about you to keep the City functioning and flowing.

How do you do this? Using the Cities Skylines equivalent of BIG DATA – and lots of pictures:

From aerial photos, to transit line maps, to congestion maps, demographics and even the terrain I can access it all at the click of a button.

These photos and Big Data sets is what influences how I plan the City ahead for future development while also handling problems like traffic congestion and transit use overload (too many passengers for a particular mode on a particular Line). Essentially I become a Geographer, Transport Engineer, Planner, Urban Designer and Demographer all in one go in order to keep the City functioning.

Failure to do so means mass abandonment and the City going nearly bankrupt as Biffa tried to avoid with this disaster:

Big Data and aerial photos, your City builder friend.

And yes the traffic is flowing well as it stays above 70% with the main two congestion points (City Centre and Cruise Terminal) going through their “Business Cases” for the upcoming upgrades.

Those sodding Business Cases 😛

Some Random Happenings in #CitiesSkylines oh and CRUISE SHIPS

Finally the cruise boats arrive

 

I have been a bit busy on the Urban Geography in real life side of the ledger meaning not much time with Cities Skylines at the moment.

 

However, I have managed to squeeze a few hours in there and there and have continued to work on the Downtown District.

The two cruise ship terminals have also finally started attracting cruise ships into the City now meaning more tourists and more revenue.

I also had to replace all my substations after an asset swap in the STEAM Workshop caused the deletion of the old model that I was using. No matter all the substations are replaced and power is flowing back into the City from Nuclear City!

 

With Downtown established and maturing I will turn my attention to Sheffield Square as well as connecting the City Centre up to the International Airport with heavy rail (it already has a monorail line running through it.

In the meantime some pictures:

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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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Urban Design in #CitiesSkylines? Always! Urban Design and Transport (Integrated Planning) Evolving? I Hope So

Let’s see what I have been designing for San Layton City

 

Since Cities Skylines came out in 2015 I have been honing in my Urban Geography and Urban Design skills. That is trying out different spatial developments, different urban design techniques and most of all working the transport system in so your City does not lock up.

As a side note this is why I am using roundabouts more in my newer Cities as they do a better job in keeping traffic moving.

 

Below are two sets of slide shows both covering the City Centre and Garnet Hills. The first will be of Bus Line 16 doing its trip from City Centre to the Garnet Hills subdivision via a stop outside the newly opened San Layton Nature Reserve. The second is of aerial shots of a new extension of the City Centre and Garnet Hills itself.

One of my favourite editions to the game are the Pedestrian Mall and Shared Path assets. The Pedestrian Mall says as it does – a mall for pedestrians although it does not stop emergency service and service vehicles from using it. On a rare occasion a bus might traverse the mall but the speed limit is reduced to 20km/h. The Shared Path allows all traffic on it at a reduced speed of 20km/h and is good for when commercial is in the area and you need the goods trucks to come through. At the moment Urbanist (the creator of the Shared Path asset) only has the one-way shared path with parking available  but more variations are coming.

 

Without further-ado let’s get the show on the road:

Bus Line 16 and some wet weather

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Some aerials of Garnet Hills and the City Centre (AND  first look from the Nature Reserve):

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Finally where San Layton City is at as of 31 May 2018:

 

Next up – a rocket launch!

 

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)