I decided the shiny new stainless-steel knee needed to be taken through its paces and so I set off for the west harbour pathway on a beautiful, almost-Spring Saturday afternoon. What a pleasant experience it turned out to be. I was walking the track but walkers, joggers, family groups and cyclists were all very well-represented. All getting along on the same pathway safely and courteously. I might yet be attracted to cycling, the jogging option is highly unlikely, stainless steel is less pliable than cartilage. One cyclist even gave his bell a little ring as he passed.
I differentiate this pathway from the ‘cycleway debate’ on two grounds. Firstly that this west harbour pathway is primarily a community recreational facility for all foot-powered users. And secondly because it is located on spare land adjacent to the busy roadway and railway tracks and does not try to put cyclists into an antagonistic situation with motorists on a potentially dangerous roadway intended primarily for motorists.
And so my hour-long experiment demonstrated that walkers, joggers and cyclists can all get along very well together on a shared pathway.
I noted in an ODT article, 20.8.15, from Councillor Calvert that 3 years ago the City Council first approached the NZTA for its recommendation on making the SH1 roadways safer for cyclists. Following that process the Council resolved, in May 2013, to agree to the recommended use of the eastern footpathway for cyclists. From my observations on Saturday, this seems a perfectly workable idea. Well done Council.
“But I like not this idea.” said Henny Penny.
“We like not this idea” said Cocky Locky, “bring us another idea.”
So plan B was brought which incurred the sacrifice of hundreds carparks along SH1 and the putting of a cycleway directly onto the busy roadway separated from the sixteen wheels of a truck and trailer by a cement ledge with little more protection for cyclists than a line of paint.
“I like that idea” said Henny Penny.
“We like that idea” said Cocky Locky.
“What about the motorists and the businesses and the hospital and the university who will then be deprived of essential carparks?” asked Cr Vandervis.
“Get out of my meeting” said Cocky Locky.
“Oh, Cocky, you are my strong white knight,” purred Henny.
So South Dunedin, stage one, is completed; at $6 million dollars it is quite a bit over the $4.5 million budget. And now starts stage 1b: undoing much of stage one. Ripping up the brand new ‘traffic calming’ islands; re-sealing roads to cover up confusing paint lines; two-way intersections that were changed to one way now being reverted to two-way.
“Well that’s turned out to be a bit of a lock-up, Henny. Buses and fire engines can’t get down streets; hardly anyone using the cycle lanes and the damned floods making it all look a bit pointless” said Cocky. “So what do we do now?”
“Blame someone else” said Henny Penny.
News break: ODT 24.08.15: Gene Ollerenshaw, the Council’s transportation group manager who oversaw the rolling out of the bungled South Dunedin network, resigns.
Ollerenshaw is conveniently well out-of-the-way on a 3 month family holiday in Europe at the time of resigning. No comment.
‘That should quieten down the rabble, Henny.” Said Cocky as he gazed contentedly over the window ledge, surveying his kingdom. “By the way, I wonder if that guillotine-like structure over there in the Octagon has resource consent?”