It’s no irony that at the moment when John Key is supposedly at a Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen: City of Cyclists, that the government is poised to increase road building – a 4-lane road from Levin to Wellington – via Transmission Gully or otherwise. While Key is fluffing around on the other side of the planet (moving from supporting specified targets for reduction to a more general “political” statement), back home the government is trying hard to waste the planet we’ve got. Aren’t we meant to be trying to reduce our impact on the environment?
It’s a no-brainer – and I mean that quite literally – there are no-brains about clearly. Why are we building more roads? Aren’t words like peak oil, climate change, global warming, emissions trading – oh I get it now … more emissions, more trade?
But I’m also talking about things from a more practical, day-to-day point of view.
In the short time I’ve been cycling to work – the number of cyclists I encounter has increased at least 4-fold, and trust me, being a cyclist with short legs on a slow bike, I come into close contact with all of these cyclists every morning as they squeeze into the paltry space between me and fast moving lumps of steel called cars. We really need more room for cyclists, who take the most efficent form of transport possible – yes even more efficient than walking – as anyone trying to lose weight will know – for the same distance, walking burns more calories than cycling.
We don’t need more roads to encourage long distance commuting. We need better and larger capacity public transport, in this case more $ for KiwiRail, and other alternatives to the private car – made available through initiatives such as better cycleways (or even just having cycleways!) – like those in Copenhagen. I just hope John Key gets out enough while he is there to actually have a look at some of them.