Christchurch CBD Cycling Network
There has been a lot of conversation in recent weeks surrounding Christchurch parking and the cycleway network.
I've read comments that, 'Cycleways are ruining business, removing necessary street parking, and 'Cyclists are freewheeling freeloaders not paying their way'. I've also seen comments from people claiming to be cyclists who don't share the City's new vision, although I think they are possible just motorists in disguise.
An editorial in The Press recently said 'Doing nothing to encourage cycling on our post-earthquake streets would have been negligent in the extreme, but carving off so much space to demarcate a cycle lane seems just as deleterious. Instead of reducing a safety risk on a key city route, it shifts the hazard from one group (cyclists) to another (motorists trying to exit their cars).'
Cyclists are certainly taking the brunt of this ongoing saga, but they are not the problem.
There is, of course, no such thing as a free car park. Someone always has to pay, whether this is the council or ultimately the ratepayer, building owner or business. We live in a user pays society.
The City is a mess while it transitions, but let's not lose focus on the vision of a post-quake Christchurch focused on transport alternatives and a compact, pedestrian-friendly core. The council has done its homework, having visited other Citys around the world to see how it's done.
We need not fear change, we can't keep doing the 'same old' as the world is changing. We need alternative modes of transport, whether this is cycling, walking, car sharing or public transport.
In other major City's of the world, 'a car' would not be a feasible first choice of transportation. As our population continues to grow our roads will just have more pressure added to them unless we have alternatives.
I feel for business's that have failed or have had to close their doors due to the lack of customers. The blame for this cannot be put squarely on cyclists! Management and timing of road works could surely be better, but that's easy to say looking from the outside. Business's that have headed back into the City so soon possibly should have done there planning better. There is no easy answer to this.
We need change, single occupants cars being driven to work and parked directly outside the premises are simply uneconomical to society. Backtracking now would be completely short sited.
Our City will be vibrant once again, be patience and hang in there.