Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Daily Bike Commute Through Muntsville: A Photo Essay

The term "new normal" has been bandied around a lot lately.  It's becoming very easy to travel past the same scenes of destruction or demolish on a daily basis and not a bat an eyelid, but if you go to another part of town you haven't seen since before the earthquake it can be quite horrifying.

I have yet to see the majority of the centre of town, Sydenham, the eastern suburbs, Ferrymead, Sumner and the hills. But what follows below the fold is what I see on my daily bike commute to work, my new "normal". (Photo intensive, all photos can be clicked on for larger viewing).

The water mains in our street have been popped regularly to clear out the silt, and the boy racers are loving this intersection - when it's wet, they come and spin up in the gravel. I give them a pass - they'll have lost their homes and jobs too, the roads are munted, and they'll be stressed. They'll need to blow off steam too.

Sand in the drains. The water mains were cleared over the weekend. "It looks like New Brighton Beach out there" joked the City Care bloke when he came to check on our water quality. "We're clearing out rocks from the pipes."

Northcote Road. This used to be one traffic lane with a bike lane, now it's two traffic lanes. I lament the backwards movement on the bike lane system the council was working so hard to institute in our city. I know changing up the traffic lanes is to help ease congestion, but surely encouraging more cyclists would do the same.

It's not just the Rugby World Cup that's been affected...

Placemakers are selling porta-cabins. It would be kinda like playing in huts like we used to as kids...

Chimney deconstruction on Cranford. Tens of thousands of homes will be repeating this scene across the city.

For all your quick pee-poo break needs while waiting for the bus to arrive - Portaloo a la Bus Stop!

Corner of Westminster and Cranford. Used to be a butchery, shoe shop and Fish n Chip shop. This bloke is regularly on traffic patrol for the nearby school - he came back to his street corner about four weeks after the quake. I don't know his name, have never stopped to chat, but he seems like a nice chap the way he deals with the kids.

This used to be a church on Warrington Street, just down from the St Albans vet. I should have got some photos of the demolish, but I wasn't agile enough in camera and quake brain - it came down in only a few days.

Barbadoes Street (near Warrington). Droopy McDrooperson.

This stunning piece of graffiti arrived not long after the February quake, though the dairy on the Barbadoes/Edgeware came down after the September quake.

Opposite the graffiti spot, this hairdresser was being rebuilt after the September quake, but lost it's newly installed windows in February and sustained further damage.

Bricks, bricks, everywhere piles of bricks.

"SLOW" spraypainted on Barbadoes Street. The reminder is still needed, especially around the central city. I wish people were more cognizant of reduced speed being needed, especially as a cyclist. Can be quite hairy navigating bumps, gravel, reduced lanes and cracks.

Barbadoes/Bealey corner. Haven't heard what the damage is to the underground tanks here, but they were only using half a forecourt after September, and is now completely closed after February.

Fitzgerald Ave bridge approach. One of the more famous road collapses, which gets  a lot of attention, but I have to negotiate this hazard on a bike daily.

More Fitzgerald Ave collapse. I wasn't in the right head space in the first couple of weeks to get a snap of this collapse with it's huge pile of rubble with pipes sticking out. It was even more dramatic than this.

River Road, just off Fitzgerald Ave. This is not roadworks.

A closer look at the River Road collapse.

Near the Fitzgerald/Kilmore corner. The sign says "We will try to save this house". It had been in the midst of renovation before the earthquake hit.

Crichton Cobbers, Bone Dudes and other creative studios (ex-Mister Pickwicks building). The roof of the creative studios just fell in, while the front part of Crichton Cobbers was pulled down early for safety reasons. Pomeroys pub at the back of this (entrance from Kilmores) is ok, though there's some fantastic cracks in the tiles of the ladies loo!

The flats this ex-fence belongs to are habitable....

The house next door is not.

There is still beauty to be found in our broken city.

 It's munted.

 Beautiful old munted cottage.

This house is yellow stickered.

 Looking up Cashel Street to the Grand Chancellor. The cordon is only a block away. "You'll have a great view when it comes down," someone has told me.

Corner Cashel/Fitzgerald. My local dairy is closed. No word on its status. I think I did a dumb ass thing in the week I came back to work - wandered down to get  a bottle of Coke, his doors were open, I wandered in, bought what I wanted, left. I don't actually think he was open - just stock taking to get the heck out of dodge.

If you look carefully in between the dairy and the bakery, the air conditioning unit is on a sick lean, wires are exposed, and the brick work has crumbled.


  1. Thanks for posting those, Amanda. It brings home to me just how damaged the city is.

  2. Amazing post Amanda. Thanks for sharing. It gave me goosebumps.

  3. Thanks for these Amanda, especially the house Fitzgerald/Kilmore corner. I passed that quite often since December [family is in Chch but i'm in Auckland]... Wondered how it got on...didn't get the chance to see it when i was down at the time of Feb quake... gutting...it was an amazing building...looks too far gone now :(