ErentzNovember 26, 2012
Where the #$%& are the bike lanes already?
We’ve had a bicycle-mad mayor for two years now and I don’t think I’ve seen one new bike lane, or any real indication that the council still even gives two hoots about cyclists and pedestrians. In fact our transport planning has just become, frankly, bizarre.
For example our city council, regional council, and NZTA apparatchiks seem to think it’s a suitable use of millions of dollars of public money to tack on a dubious pedestrian-walkway-cum-cycleway to the Basin Reserve flyover, so that we can walk and cycle from the tunnel to the bypass. You know, because there’s such a huge amount of people walking and cycling around the city rather than to the city. It’s a route that is barely used for obvious reasons and will remain that way, even if they do actually fix the cycleway so that it is a proper cycleway and not just some bike-shaped-stencils painted onto a sidewalk*. I can only assume this makes them feel like they’re pedestrian and cyclist friendly so they can pat each other on the back and say their flyover isn’t just about stacking cars more neatly during rush hour. Meanwhile all parties that showed support for spending millions on a sidewalk for the flyover have decided that it’s not worthwhile to EVER, at any point in the future, have dedicated bike lanes on the critical narrow link in the chain between the southern suburbs and the rest of the city that is Adelaide Road. The link where they plan to line the area with new medium density apartments, and mixed used buildings, and rah rah rah, aren’t we great we care about density and stuff, vote for us, pat on the back. The $3 million dollars it would cost to secure the five meter strip of land along Adelaide Road – so that one day, far into the future when we have a council that gives a $#!^, we can all enjoy a beautiful street complete with bike lanes, tree line pedestrian footpaths, and dedicated public transport ROW – is just too damned much for them to stomach. Better to build stupid statues for the world cup, and lobster shaped toilets and such. Buying land? Oh dear no, that’s just too damn interventionist. And now is the small window of opportunity to strike if we’re to make this happen. Because now almost all the land is empty and ready for the taking due to the work of previous councils to hold a designation for road widening (until the early 90s) so that one day, such a blatantly common sense and necessary thing could be achieved. And soon if the councils plan to intensify the area works, it won’t be. Instead, no, the Council and NZTA says, that’s too damned much money. But let’s build a stupid pedestrian bridge next to our stupid flyover though, that’s not too damned much money at all, that’s _different_, you’ve just got to look at it in _context_ and other nonsense. And if you think $3 million is expensive now, you don’t want to be knocking down 1 km of buildings to acquire land in future. So quite simply if we don’t do this now, we just won’t get this in the future. The council is badly dropping the ball on this one, but by the time anyone notices, they’ll all have moved on so what do they care.
Goddamnit. I demand some bike lanes already.
* I prefer using the American term sidewalk here as it more accurately describes the shitty act of walking alongside a traffic sewer that many Wellington “footpaths” suffer from.