Today's Cook Strait News contains an article on the construction of the cycleway beginning on 28 September. Although the article is fair and balanced I thought you might like to read the full answers to the four questions I was emailed by the student journalist, including whether the council should suddenly drop everything in Island Bay and start building a cycleway through Berhampore instead. The quotes actually used in the article are highlighted!
Why are you for the cycle way?
It will be a great thing for Island Bay and we are lucky to be the first place in Wellington to get a cycleway of this type. Lots of people, including kids, are either uncomfortable or unable to bike on a road as busy as The Parade so it will give more people the opportunity to enjoy riding a bike as an ordinary, everyday activity. I have kids aged 7 and 9 and their only options for riding down The Parade at the moment are on the pavement or on the road next to cars, trucks and buses, neither of which is appropriate. We are fortunate that because The Parade is nice and wide we can simply swap the position of parked cars and the current bike lanes to separate people riding bikes from motorised traffic. Protected cycleways are proven to increase the numbers of people biking which then has lots of health, social, environmental and economic benefits.
What do you think about how the public consultation for the cycle way was handle by the council?
The initial consultation probably wasn't the best but I thought the council quickly learned from that and it got a lot better. Over the course of 9 months and three consultations the council actually received over 1,000 formal submissions which is an amazing amount of feedback and meant councillors could make a fully informed decision. That's the most important thing.
What do you say to the opposition of the cycle way?
I'll defend anybody's right to an opinion and it's really important that people feel that they have had a chance to have their say. Some people also have genuine concerns about how the cycleway will work, which is perfectly natural. However, the decision has been made now and hopefully everybody's focus can shift to grabbing hold of this opportunity and making it work as well as possible. If people are prepared to give the cycleway a chance I think their concerns will fade away once they see it working.
What is your opinion on the issue of the Island Bay section being built before the Berhampore section, even though the Berhampore section as it currently stands is more dangerous than Island Bay?
Island Bay is just Stage 1 of a route all the way into the CBD and if it hadn't been delayed then work on Stage 2 through Berhampore probably would have started by now. I bike through Berhampore every day on my way to and from work so I agree that cycling conditions need to be improved there. However, there are some real challenges putting a cycleway through Berhampore so it will be good to have the Island Bay section implemented first so that we can learn from that. In the short term having a 30kph zone in Berhampore will really help so I hope lots of people will make a submission in favour of that.