I was reflecting the other day on the way people out there rose to the occasion and put in submissions both to the Christchurch Transport Strategic Plan and to the Three year plan to support the development of a cycle network in Christchurch.
CCC staff were blown away by the number of submissions that they got on the Transport plan – about 150 more than normal and the fact that so many of them supported cycling and wanted to see that strongly supported in Christchurch. Likewise about 150 of the submissions that went into the CCC in response to the Three Year Plan supported the development of a separated cycle network around the City. Only two submissions expressed any objection to the cycle network.
Quite a number of people were also able to go along and present their submissions to the Council – something which adds considerable weight to a written submission. At the Christchurch Transport Plan hearings they lined up quite a number of cyclists in a row and this clearly had an impression and allowed those of us who went to build a little on what others had said. Presenting a submission can also make a difference to what Councillors pick up. For example after several years of Spokes pointing out that if we can get more people cycling, we will not have to spend so much on roading for motor vehicles, comments at the three year plan hearings implied that at least some of the councillors had never actually taken this in previously.
So well done to everyone out there who has supported SPOKES in their advocacy work for Christchurch. This would not have been achieved without you. And well done to the folks in SPOKES who put up submissions for people to look at and base their own submission on. I think we really made a difference! Watch this space, though. We will almost certainly need submissions to support the annual planning process and to ensure that we do actually see our promised cycle network materialise!