Two years of wasting public money and Council time has come to an end.
North Shore City’s debate over the Lake Road cycle lanes is a sad saga about lack of political leadership, and a more heartening story of those who would not give up supporting the lanes. After two years, North Shore City has now finally decided this month to retain the lanes, including at the pinch point at Bardia / Winscombe Street (read the New Zealand Herald article here).
Council has agreed with the inevitable logic: Advice from the Transport Agency that they risked having to repay the subsidy given to install the lanes ($400,000) helped, as well as many Council reports concluding that the lanes are achieving their purpose. More people are cycling Lake Rd for everyday and commuter travel, and one of the local schools now has over 30% of all children riding to school (reputed to be the highest percentage in the country).
Those opponents who gathered 2,700 signatures asking the cycle lanes to be removed have also consistently failed to produce any evidence that they cause congestion or air pollution. Bus operators connecting Takapuna to the ferries in Devonport report that their travel times are not affected either.
We pay tribute to Devonport residents, Clint Cantrell and Bronwyn Jones, who presented a petition from 4,100 (mostly Shore) cycle lane supporters to this month’s transport committee meeting, eclipsing the negative petition. We also acknowledge the professional integrity (displayed under public pressure) of the North Shore transport engineers, and the efforts of a small group of enlightened Councillors, led by Chris Darby.
Cycle Action also endorses National MP Wayne Mapp’s support for the Lake Rd cycle lanes, and for a cycle path strategy Auckland-wide. He says he has noticed over the last year that the cycle lane is getting more use and that car drivers are adapting to it:
“It is clear that the requirements of cyclists have to be better anticipated as the city grows. A cycle path strategy will need to be adopted for Auckland. This needs to provide enjoyable, direct and well-planned cycle routes – ideally, separate from motor vehicles.”
Let’s hope this is the last battle we have to fight to retain cycle lanes. We are supposed to be living in a civilised city after all.