Before you go off on holiday, we need your help to save the new street and town upgrade in Grey Lynn, and bike lanes everywhere….
Last year, you and 1200 people like you helped us support making Grey Lynn a calmer, more pleasant place to be. Together we showed that residents want more crossings, safer bike routes, and calmer streets.
Now that construction is under way a small group of angry protesters are using divisive tactics to try and stop this project altogether – and all cycleways, all over Auckland. They may have already delayed the project so it won’t be ready when kids go back to school in February.
That’s not fair. On a route that’s home to several primary schools and thousands of families, as well as a key link in the growing bike network, it’s unacceptable.
Luckily, Auckland Transport is listening, and is working with the Local Board, businesses, and local stakeholders to make positive changes.
Why is this so important?
Because Grey Lynn is poised to be a model for the future we all want: a beautiful, green, walkable and bikeable neighbourhood where getting around and crossing the street is easy for everyone.
If Auckland Transport can get this one right they can get it right everywhere. But if the protesters get their way, it sets a dangerous precedent.
So what’s the problem?
Unfortunately, a small group of anti-change campaigners have ‘occupied’ a traffic island and taken over the machinery, with the goal of stopping any further bike path construction in Grey Lynn – and right across Auckland. Really. They’re the same people who opposed the Unitary Plan and other reasonable projects our city desperately needs. It would be a tragedy if this lot were to get their way and control how Auckland’s streets look in the 21st century.
Because their voices have been so loud and dominant, they’ve created delay on the construction of the routes all the way from the city to Pt Chev, and are attempting to hold the city’s entire bike network to ransom. This is alarming.
Whats all the fuss about?
Let’s be clear: the design should be better in places. Parts of the upgrade are great: curb extensions make it a far more inviting place to walk, there’s a new roundabout at what was a scary intersection, and the new pedestrian crossings was much needed. We need to make sure they stay.
But the cycle path design was compromised from the get-go – mainly to try to preserve as much parking as possible. In some cases it lacks the full separation originally proposed, especially at intersections. That sucks.
Change is challenging, and some people like things to stay the way they are. ‘Bikelash’ happens all over the world. It’s a sign of progress, as cities reshape their public spaces to better suit all citizens, young and old, and to help get us towards the kind of world we want to live in.
The only way we know to combat fear-driven bikelash is to be more positive, more committed, and to share the facts. The evidence is incontrovertible that bike-friendly cities are more sustainable, good for business, healthier for people, and generally nicer to live in.
The good news: the businesses of West Lynn are working in good faith with the Local Board and Auckland Transport to fix the section through the village.
We also know the overall cycleway design is being reviewed to make sure it’s even safer and more welcoming than before.
Now is an opportunity for AT and the Local Board to hear what the community really wants, which, for example, is:
Thank you, for supporting this, and all of our work 2017. Every year we move closer to the modern, safe and low carbon city we deserve, and that’s all thanks to you.