We are back for 2016 and if there was one issue that kept getting brought up around BBQs across the Capital this summer, it was the Mayoral Cycleway Omni-shambles.
The new cycleway is going down like a plastic cup of cold sick. The design rammed through by the Mayor in the face of massive local opposition falls well short of international best practice, and puts cyclists running the gauntlet of vehicles pulling out of driveways and car doors being thrown open.
You only have to pick up the Dom to see the people are unhappy… Really unhappy.
Or talk to just about anyone in the area! For example, just last week I encountered this myself after a kick about at the park with guys who don’t normally touch politics, while having a few beers, the hot topic that caused the most colourful language was Celia’s Cycleway. No one can quite comprehend how ill-considered the whole thing is.
A mate from Lyall Bay put it nicely – “They’ve made a decent road, ridiculously tight. Two buses can’t even pass each other. It’s fuckin chaos.“
Then there was the infamous Facebook post with over a thousand likes, showing the daft new layout with the comments from motorists, cyclists and pedestrians almost uniformly criticising the new cycleway.
A cyclist has already suffered a broken arm in an accident on the new ‘safer’ cycleway and the local bus drivers find the new tighter roads harder to navigate and maintain their schedules. Not a happy situation.
Even the mayor’s personal Facebook page isn’t safe – a shared post (now deleted) on ‘the fight for people friendly streets’ was met with met with a blunt “You’re a fucking idiot and have ruined Island Bay. It’s dangerous and stupid – sort your shit out lady!”
Sadly none of this is surprising as the Island Bay Cycleway’s design is not recognised as international best practice – in fact most Wellington cyclists were against the cycleway for the simple reason that The Parade as it used to be had plenty of space for bikes and cars, and was a nice cruisey street to ride down.
Wade-Bicycle has always seen the bedroom to boardroom as a ‘legacy’ project, which at the time was understood to mean a legacy of her difficult spell as mayor.
2016 is election year afterall, so it is worth remembering that with wasn’t Wade-Brown alone that pushed this through. Below is the list of Councillors who pushed this through.Worth keeping in mind come October.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown
Deputy Mayor Justin Lester (Northern Ward, Labour Candidate for Mayor)
Andy Foster (Onslow-Western Ward)
Sarah Free (Eastern Ward – Green)
David Lee (Southern Ward – Green)
Iona Pannett (Lambton Ward – Green)
Mark Peck (Lambton Ward – Labour)
Malcolm Sparrow (Northern Ward)