Friday, 11 December 2009

Cooper, Blake, and Cochrane say no to cycleways

Cyclists will have an improved ride in future, as the plan for construction of a cycleway from the city heart to Aeroglen will continue on its path to completion, after the results of community feedback were tabled at yesterday's Cairns Regional Council's meeting.

Councillors Linda Cooper, Alan Blake, and Deputy Mayor Margaret Cochrane all voted against supporting the project.

Last month CBD councillor Blake bravely stood on the Esplanade with a "save our trees" placard, in a move that shocked and disturbed his own conscious.

Alan's message was an attempt to aim at the very people that wanted an integrated cycleway, saying that trees would go to accommodate the construction.

Blake does not support the cycleway because some business operators just north of Airport Avenue will lose customer carparks.

If you think it’s a sign of progress that Blake knows the word "tree", he really doesn't understand its meaning. Likewise, he shows no comprehension of what a “bicycle” might be, or why cycleways are a more important part of Cairns' future than white elephant freeways.

The irony of these upset business owners, is that they don't walk the talk.

When Bryan Law visited the service road cited by Councillor Blake, which “business operators” claimed would be unacceptably congested by a cycleway and lose valuable parking for local businesses, he saw a different picture. Nothing has changed to this day. The curb-side parking is so highly regarded by those business operators who use it as free display space for their motorbike outdoor showroom and overflow parking for their own commercial vehicles, and vehicles for sale. Council is in fact investigating additional parking at the rear of the industrial lot.

Regardless, yesterday Cairns Regional Council endorsed the recommendation to proceed to a detailed design stage for the dedicated cycleway, which has been divided into three sections, and investigate the feasibility of an alternative route for one section.

"Community consultation has shown that the majority of respondents had supported the proposed cycleway from Cairns CBD to Aeroglen," Mayor Val Schier said.

The businesses around the industrial area at Sheridan Street Aeroglen, triggered strong resistance from business owners who have said that the loss of parking and potential conflicts with heavy vehicles would adversely affect them.

“Council staff has outlined an alternative route for this section that will fit with the plan for future extensions to the cycleway in order to resolve their concerns," Mayor Val Schier says. "The alternative option will take the cycleway across Sheridan St at Airport Avenue and link it into Aeroglen Drive.”

The three sections of the dedicated cycleway are: Sheridan Street, Captain Cook Highway, Esplanade Route and Muddy’s Playground.

Community feedback showed that residents were also concerned with loss of trees along the Esplanade that would be removed to make way for the construction of the bike route, however the cycleway will weave to ensure that impact on existing trees will be minimal.

Hooray for Councillor Blake. I might send him a bonsai, as a token of appreciate for his services to the environment.


Oliver Redlynch said...

We have a lot of dangerous snakes in far north queensland - three of them voted against this cyclepath.

Linda Cooper said...

Hi Mike,

There was only one reason that I didn't support Wednesday's Cycleway agenda item - reasons that I raised on the floor of Council.

In the current plans we have been shown a reduction in car parks outside Muddy's. This has been balanced by an increase in formalised carparks at Upward and Minnie Street, however there is a sustantial flaw in the design - no safe pedestrian access has been allowed for.

On one hand we are creating a great facility for bike riders, but on the other we are now asking more mums and dads to cross a busy road, pushing prams, bikes etc across to Muddy's - a wonderful asset that is utilised by thousands of residents.

No hidden agenda - I simply didn't want to support a plan that didn't allow for safe pedestrian access. I am hopeful, however, that the problem will be addressed, creating a safer situation for everyone. At that point in time I'll be happy to support the cycleway.

Bryan Law said...

Hi Linda,
Thanks for contributing to this discussion, and I understand the concern you have is real. I just want to say to you what I said to Alan Blake about this:
Cyclists have been pushing for a long time for better infrastructure in Cairns and, let’s be honest, have not been very well served. The crossing at Saltwater Creek on the Highway is a notorious squeeze point, and very dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists alike. The Aeroglen to CBD bikeway can substantially solve this problem, and that is a key for all cyclists on the beaches and Stratford.
There’s an opportunity now for Commonwealth mony to put in place something every cyclist wants to see.
If there are minor design issues, then raise them, make a commitment to solve them, and enlist the community as well as government planners to find the solution.
But DON’T jeopardise the commencement of this project.
Most of this Council is new and you will all be judged in a couple of years for how you’ve done. This issue and transport/safety generally will be one factor in arriving at that judgement. I really hope you gain support through right action.

Bryan Outlaw said...

The public is more likely to factor in comments made by real bicyclists, not fat fuckers that couldn't get on a bicycle with a ladder and a prayer.

Dutchie said...

BO, people are more likely to listen to people who are articulate, argue their point clearly and without abuse.