Positive and Practical

I am just so disappointed at the Auckland City Council staff’s advice to Councillors to abandon proposed cycleway and walkway on the Auckland Harbour Bridge. At a time when we all need to be working to minimise our addiction to fossil fuels and our love affairs with our cars, its just unfathomable.

Our harbour bridge was originally designed to take walkers and cyclists who wanted to get off their bums, enjoy the sights and Get Across. For too long we have simply accepted the status quo that the motorcar has the monopoly on our space and our city. That time is coming to an end with climate change and peak oil, and we need positive, practical solutions to transition to a more sustainable way of living in urban areas. That is what we [Greens] are all about – not only looking at the challenges, but finding ways to address them that have that vision thing: Long term, good for the earth, good for people and good for communities.

It’s just so unfortunate that the Auckland City Council staff seem to be on another songsheet – one that pays homage to the Automobile and their exhausts. Hopefully the Councillors will have some of that vision thing and support the cycleway…

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One thought on “Positive and Practical

  1. Xavier, The original design did include additional facilities but the government of the day refused to guarantee a big enough loan to pay for more than four narrow traffic lanes. They needed all those lanes to be used by cars to generate enough tolls to pay off th loans. Hence we’ve got what we’ve been prepared to pay for.

    If you want to effectively challenge the dominanve of the car you need to use better terminology than addiction to oil and our love affairs with our cars. Neither is technicly correct and neither offers the right control of the language of the debate. IMHO oil dependency is better on both counts. The common responses to rising petrol prices indicate that the public are now aware of their dependency on oil and are doing some positive things to reduce that dependency. That’s not what you get from addicts. Only a very small minority talk in ways that one expects from an addict or someon who is enamored of something.

    Our apparent love affair with our cars is just that, an appearance. It’s a symptom of our lingering love affair with housing with plenty of “fresh air”, an over-reaction to the ills of the over crowded slums that so many immigrants fled from. Actually that love affair really does have all the hallmarks of an addiction. All of the arguments used to justify it have long since been discredited yet most kiwis blindly insist on owning single story houses on their own plot of land. But since that attitude has been passed down from generation to generation it is so deeply ingrained that only a handful of immigrants and returning ex-pats are keen to adopt the traditional European models of medium density communities. Perhaps an ageing population will create a critical mass of demand for small easy care properties with real neighbours? As far as I can see the only downside to that model is worse traffic congestion during the transition phase. Everything else is postive, or potentially so. More people per km of roadway means less maintenance and capital cost per person for all infrastructure, more passengers per km for PT makes it more energy efficient and economicly efficient, more people within walking distance of local shops makes them more viable and more people walking make streets safer and burglars more likely to be spotted.

    In short, people need their cars whereas (and because) they love their homes and gardens.

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