Is cycling really cared about in this city?

So the other day I had to ride to town for a meeting at the City Council. As I rode in from Somerfield, I noticed a number of things that got me wondering:

  •  Just north of Brougham St, Antigua St is currently down to one lane southbound while SCIRT repair pipes. For cyclists travelling north (on what is probably the busiest cycle route from south of the city) the options are now to either travel along busy Brougham St to one of the adjacent streets, or to somehow amble (illegally) along the Antigua St footpath. Hmm, couldn’t something a little more proactive have been arranged?

No obvious way through here…

So I should turn left on my bike… and make a right turn across five lanes of Brougham St further along?

  • Once in town, at the top of Antigua St, the historic Boatshed Footbridge is still out of action. Hmm, how come it’s the non-road bridges that don’t seem to be reopened so quickly? Not as much load on these bridges; can’t be that hard to get something in the interim? For a while, the Hospital were resisting letting riders using the ambulance bridge as an alternative route, but to their credit, they have now made a short-cut detour (well, the District Health Board are supposed to be promoting healthy lifestyles after all…)

“Pedestrians and Cyclists use Montreal St” – but what if I don’t want to go that way?

The belated (yet obvious) shortcut through the hospital

  • Then it’s time to visit the City Council and at last there’s some good news: the scaffolding that had been covering all of the visitor bike parking in Hereford St has finally been removed. But why in the two months they were out of action couldn’t the Council provide some temporary parking for its visitors?

Perhaps a few more bike stands wouldn’t go amiss here too?

  • To finish things off, when I headed towards Ilam afterwards through Hagley Park I was confronted with more pipe works blocking the main cycleway to Fendalton (again, one of the major cycle routes in the city) with nary a warning sign advising of detours.

One of these incidents on its own could just be an oversight. But collectively you just start wondering how much the city truly wants to be a cycle-friendly city. We know there’s a lot of work to go to rebuild the city (and we are looking forward to some great cycling facilities), but it would be nice if cycling was being more positively thought about while that work was going on…

 

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  • Cyclomaniac
    7 October 2012, 5:40 pm

    I wonder the same thing at times. As far as I am concerned you can add the long temporary removal of the cycle paths on Curletts Rd to the list as well. I fully appreciate that the council is currently stretched but promotion of cycling has been lauded as a key component in the Christchurch rebuild. As the rebuild gets underway, the council needs to show that it is serious about cycling. Building new infrastructure is really important but not sufficient by itself. It is a mindset that needs to change. Promotion of cycling can only work if cyclists are spoiled, or at least not treated as irrelevant. From the examples you have neatly summed up here you can not help thinking that this new mind set has not completely sunk in yet…

    REPLY
  • Chrys
    8 October 2012, 8:42 am

    Thanks for this – Yes!

    Another one is the lack of bike stands in the restart mall. it wouldn’t have been hard to put in one or two to at least look willing. I guess the problem is that Cycling is not always part of the mindset of those working on the ground, nor of those designing factilities (as we have seen with the Ilam Road example). Whilst the Council may now be getting the message about a desire by residents for good cycling, they don ‘t yet really know what that means and even if they do, then it has still to trickle throughout the organisations that are involved in designing and building roads and facilities – even facilities at the Council.
    its interesting, too, that there never seem to be ENOUGH bikestands outside the Council – I”ve almost never managed to find a space amongst the bikestands in the new building!
    I guess cyclists still have some work to do raising awareness of these issues then!

    REPLY
  • Dirk
    8 October 2012, 10:12 am

    Non cyclists, the majority of people and of those working at CCC, CERA, CCDU, SCIRT, etc. understandably do not have a well developed sense of what cyclists need. Fair enough.

    What isn’t OK is the stone wall of resistance to actually including cyclists in assessing, planning and implementing roading projects. The culture is a paternalistic one of “we know best so you little ignorant people who just don’t understand wait over there until your betters have worked it all out for you.”

    We saw this in Share an Idea where the comments were overwhelmingly in favour of cycling, but the ‘Key Stakeholders’ were the ones cited as authoritative and needing to be accommodated.

    The culture is inherently class based. Worse still is it seems that many people accept their assigned role of timidity and fail to voice, let alone work for, their own self interest.

    Cities which have implemented good cycling infrastructure have had cycling champions among the political leadership who pushed the agenda. Elections are next year and Christchurch desperately needs quality candidates. 3 more years of business as usual is 3 more nails in our collective coffin.

    REPLY
  • Malcolm
    8 October 2012, 9:24 pm

    Thats assuming the governement doesnt replace the council with its own commissionors first…..

    REPLY
  • John
    13 October 2012, 12:32 pm

    Good topic, and sympathy for those out there suffering this.

    Surely, every one of these roadworks is required to have a safety plan. i.e. signs of “Please use other footpath” (even when none exists). So, are cyclists considered in the safety plans? If not, why are the roadworks allowed, or are they ‘illegal’ as not having an adequate safety plan?

    Perhaps take the ‘safety plan’ issue to the council/CERA/SCIRT and ensure whoever sets out the roadworks actually considers cycle safety, as well as car driver convenience.

    REPLY

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