Sandy Bay Cycle/Walk Way Spin Doctoring (Literally)
August 18, 2010
So there is a couple of weeks to go in the second consultation round for the Sandy Bay Cycle/Walk way project and things are hotting up. Helpful local residents have joined our efforts to promote the consultation in a rather different way through the launch of ‘Citizens opposed to the Sandy Bay Cycle Way’ and setting up their poster boy Jim Wilkinson MLC to stand up against the plan. Fair enough I say, people who have a lot to loose have a valid right to democratically exercise some protest activities but I’d suggest that lies and deliberate misquoting might not be the most ethical or politically correct way to go about it. Read on for a full summary of whats happening:
Healthy Transport Hobart launched a demonstration in support of the project on Tuesday 17th which involved a 7am slot on ABC local radio and a gig on HOFM news. The gig aimed to raise awareness of the importance of the project to the health of the community and hold a presence of bicycle users on the road in question between 3.30 -5.30pm. There was a great turn out with around 60 people stopping by and around 25 at any one time signing feedback forms and holding signs. The signs were transported by bicycle in a rather precarious manner but arrived in time. Special guests included Greens Denison Candidate Geoff Couser who as a resident of Sandy Bay Rd expressed his support and a bunch of roadies who stopped by to have a yarn as well as a proud father from West Hobart and his two boys who ride to Taroona high school a few times a week.
It just so happened that on the day of this demonstration. I discovered that the good folk drumming up support for a petition against the plans had made their stance clear and published a nice colour poster clarifying their position.
What can I say? Some one out there is pretty scared me thinks….
As I caught a lift back from Launceston yesterday I heard the radio news reporting that MLC Jim Wilkinson is calling for the Sandy Bay Cycle/Walk Way plan to go back to the drawing board as it is unsafe. I was saddened to here this as I’d met Jim once before at a Heart Foundation meeting and he seemed like a man who’d be supportive of such progress. He has shunned the traffic modelling and safety reports from external experts and decided that his own little ideas are far more valid. Interesting. I opened the paper today to find him looking very un – cycle chic posing against the bike/walk way at Sandy Bay.
The one valid point I found amongst the wild claims and inappropriate propositions was that the barrier between bicycles and cars needs to be larger and more significant. Fair call. Point taken. Lets get it in the plan but not oppose the project outright hey ladies and gentlemen.
Finally, I though I better provide a response to the claims made:
“Hobart City Council should consider providing for cyclists in Churchill Ave or along the foreshore or extend the width of footpaths on Sandy Bay Rd”
A) Sandy Bay Rd is a major commuting and rec route for riders and walkers, Churchill Ave is indirect, hilly and goes is not a direct route so will not be taken by the majority of riders. Evidence says that you should provide infrastructure on the most common cycling routes, not make a new route and expect people to use it.
B) Along the foreshore?? Are you serious? The residents would set up gattling guns before they’d let bicycle users and other rif raff obscure their views of the water.
C) Widen the footpath – that is the plan in 3 locations along the road where parking is required. However if this was done in both directions on bother sides we pretty much say good by to all the parking (probably not a good idea).
Mr Wilkinson stated that the only thing between cyclists and motorists was a low level rubber or cement strip.
Whats your point Jim. A double white line up the midlands highway is pretty effective at separating trucks and cars. A single white line on bike lanes helps increase perceptions of safety. Currently there is no division between cars and bikes thats why we are trying to improve things sir. Perhaps you have less faith in drivers than me and think that a concrete strip wont stop people driving into the lane. But fair point. Lets make it a waste high wall. Problem solved.
Jim Said “Even the councils own report concedes that ‘bidirectional bicycle lanes running adjacent to roadways are not typically recommended ‘ (which is code for this is not best practice).
The safety report from SKM actually says this: ‘
While bi-directional bicycle lanes running adjacent to roadways are not typically recommended because of the contraflow cyclist movement may not be expected at driveways and side streets in this particular situation there are very few side streets on the foreshore side of Sandy Bay Road, making it in principle a suitable site for the treatment.
Jim says: “This is a potential recipe for disaster and the council needs to rethink its strategy before proceeding”.
Whats your basis Jim, I cant respond if you don’t base your claims in something substantial.
He said “The plan would create chaos for commuters”.
Not according to the traffic modelling report Jim. It is actually going to improve flow. Read it and you’ll be amazed.
Now to the glossy flyer authorised by Guy Abel:
Sorry, I just can’t justify reading it again. Read the traffic modelling and safety report and you can make up your mind.
Posted for the love of the counterattack by Liam.C