So we have on the back of the new cycle bridge for bikes, news of discounts for EV cars.
There should be no one in the dark as to where this government's priorities are by now.
But how much of it's actually going to happen?
The activist cyclists were breathless with excitement that their random peddle protest across the bridge had elicited real action. But hopefully they’ve cooled down their lycra enough to know it’ll probably never happen. Likewise I am skeptical about us all running out and snapping up EV's.
But I remember reading the Transport Minister's press release on the new bike bridge and mentioning to you guys the bit that stuck out for me was a little line buried in the midst of all the hoopla.. that the Transport Minister was working on setting up "safe temporary trials using lanes on the existing harbour bridge for cyclists and pedestrians". I expressed my horror at this. How out to lunch do you have to be? How out of touch with Aucklanders do you need to be? The fact they said they’d have to ‘do some modelling’ on whether that would impact traffic or not left me speechless. I mean.. do some modelling? What do you reckon?
Take a couple of lanes off the cars on the harbour bridge and give them up to the handful of cyclists who may or may not use them.. what do you reckon? Gridlock is the first word that comes to mind. You don’t have to model anything, to know that if you subtract two lanes from cars, all you’re doing is backing up cars for miles more than they already are. Anyway I was pleased to see I was not the only person who picked this up. Former Minster of Economic development Steven Joyce also noticed it and wrote about it in his weekend Herald column. He said, of that line.. “How detached from the daily reality of Auckland commuters would you need to be before thinking that was a good idea?”
He’s dead right of course. And this is a guy who managed to steer New Zealand’s economy for 9 years. Three terms of what’s been described as a ‘rockstar economy’, so surely we have to take him just a little bit seriously?
So I was pleased to see him point out how nuts this is. Whether anyone’s listening of course remains to be seen. It feels like these days a lot of people can be jumping up and down saying ‘hey guys this is crazy!’.. and the government just resorts to its tried and true line of .. ‘we reject that’. Or there’s no response at all.. as many sectors are finding. Raise an issue with the government.. wait, wait, wait.. crickets chirping.
So has the backlash to this insanely expensive extra bridge for cyclists had any impact on them at all? Nope, the Minister has in fact doubled down.. there’s only going to be more spending for walkers and cyclists apparently.
So our road user and fuel tax charges are going to keep funding not more roads.. but more bike lanes. Smart? Not in my view no.
Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.
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