One thing I notice here over and over again is how transport works in a completely different way
For starters public transport is sooo much easier and useful to use and a lot of people use it. Dont get me wrong there are still lots of people that drive but cities especially are more set up for pedestrains than cars in many places.
This gives lots of benifits like buses that dont try to kill everyone that is near there path (like they do in Auckland, along with taxi drivers) most bus drivers I have encountered over here have been friendly and actually respond when I say thank you as I get off the bus, they don’t growl at me when I do something wrong but tell me what I need to know. They also don’t drive like maniacs so you get to and fro, jolted back and forth through out your journey (Auckland Link buses anyone?) which means elderly or less mobile people can ride without fearing for their lives. It makes the whole ride a much more pleasant experience
Another thing is, is that there are often roads in the middle of town that are only for pedestrains no annoying cars (however I do find they seem to fill with annoying people, but at least they move slower and are softer). In fact in Oxford at least going right into town in your car is generally discouraged and there don’t seem to be that many cars
So with less cars and friendlier buses I can ride my bike around without fear of death (though you still need to watch out for other cyclists, they are the dangerous things now) buses, trucks and cars hang behind me if there isnt room to go past me. Plus there are lovely paths along the rivers and canals with no cars at all. Cycle lanes (small and slightly disjointed) along main roads. Its great! Though buses are still a problem because they keep stopping to let people on and off so then I have to go around them, not so fond of that but oh well).
Weirdly enough this leaves the city with a much nicer atmosphere. No smell traffic fumes while you window shopping. No traffic jams full of grumpy people staring at you as you walk down the street.
I think Auckland could learn a lot by looking over here. I know theres less people in a much bigger space, but surely some of the same things apply. Imagine if queen st had no cars! buses that ran consistently. Trains that have toilets (so when the signal fails and you get stuck on, you don’t get into uncomfortable situations).
I have been over here now just over 6 months and not once have a seriously thought about buying a car, coz I haven’t needed too. I can get most places easily.