Ms Kristina Keneally
Premier
Level 39,
1 Farrer Place
SYDNEY NSW 2000

 

Fax: (02) 9228 3934

 

December 3, 2010


Dear Ms Keneally,

 

It has been brought to my attention that Chinese Amway has been granted exclusive use of the eastern walkway on our Sydney Harbour Bridge for five days in January next year. My understanding is that other (non-Amway) walkers will be required to walk on the western (bicycle-only) side of our harbour bridge and that cyclists will be required to dismount and walk their bicycles on the only dedicated cycle path in New South Wales.

 

Why was this request even considered? Why should we cyclists be expected to give up our hard earned facilities to appease a bunch of foreign sales zealots? More importantly, whose city is it, any way?

 

If these sales zealots feel so strongly about keeping away from the locals, why not give them a car lane? Why is that cyclists should always be the first to yield? How much did Chinese Amway pay for this privilege? Is it going to be distributed to the affected cyclists as compensation for their inconvenience?

 

You do realise that this is a dangerous precedent. It means that the RTA will continue to do what it does best – marginalising cyclists. It also means that the next bunch of sales zealots will be able to draw on this precedent when they want to bump cyclists out of the way. More importantly it signals loudly and clearly to us that cyclists will only have use of our facilities as long as they are not required by some more worthy cause; and given that cyclists are always on the bottom of the pile, every cause is deemed to be more worthy by you and your phony roads minister. I suspect that in time, cyclist-only access to the western side of the bridge will be removed altogether in order to expedite the capitalist dreams of foreigners.

 

This is yet another sorry episode in 12 years of Labor (sic) governments doing everything they can to undermine cycling as a credible alternative to the cars that continue to pollute and congest our city and kill its citizens.

 

I suspect that your minister for appeasing shock jocks (David Borger) has had a hand in this. I notice that he is still Minister for Roads. Why?

 

I have always doubted your commitment to cycling and this, along with Borger’s continuing role in the ministry, confirms it. I am so looking forward to March 26, 2011.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 
Chris Virtue
Cyclist, non car owner and voter in a marginal electorate

Views: 91

Replies to This Discussion

OMG Chris! I'd hate to hear what you had to say when you really felt strongly about something! :-)

Seriously, though, excellent letter - I hope she reads it.
After Opp Roads spokesman Andrew Stoner made his farkin' stupid errr... somewhat unsympathetic comment on cyclists and their complaints about the Amway Walk, I thought I would tell him, diplomatically, what I thought. It always makes me feel better even if it doesn't make any difference in this electorate (blue ribbon Gladys; I sent her a copy, too.)

Dear Mr Stoner,

I hope that your reported comment on this matter: ''The situation that cyclists crossing the bridge will have to put up with - road closures, slow travel times and mixed-use corridors - is something Sydney motorists and public transport users have to put up with on a daily basis.'' does not indicate the coalition's attitude to cycling as transport.

I read that statement as suggesting that you think it's just too bad if cyclists are inconvenienced because they are not important and that the only thing that matters is moving single-occupant car commuters.

The reason cyclists are upset about the suggestion that they should walk nearly 1.6km in the middle of their journey is that they have no alternative route available to avoid the problem. The SHB cycleway, which was actually narrowed in recent years despite huge increases in the numbers using it, remains the one and only lane open to cyclists across the Harbour. Meanwhile, car drivers have 11 lanes dedicated solely for their use nearby and can relatively easily detour to another bridge or road if necessary.

Cyclists have waited and waited and waited for Labor promises on cycling to be fulfilled since 1995. I would be interested in hearing about something positive which the Coalition proposes to do to encourage and facilitate commuter cycling if and when it comes into power.

It is time the Coalition showed it understands the futility of continuing only to provide for car commuters and that it is prepared to fund programs and facilities to get people to use healthy, environmentally benign, quiet, low cost bicycles particularly for short journeys in cities, which are the majority of trips.

A public commitment to funding the proposed Sydney HarbourLink cycleway -- http://www.sydneyharbourlink.com/ -- would be a good first step.

Yours sincerely

Neil
Very good.

It's scary to think that this guy will be the roads minister.
My response to the patronising response (at bottom) from Stoner's Chief of Staff:

Dear Mr Bruce and Mr Stoner,

Thank you for your response but it does not fill me with hope that the Coalition would do anything other than maintain the status quo when it comes to our broken transport system.

Trying to build our way out of traffic congestion has only resulted in ever greater traffic congestion which, given the impending crisis of peak oil, the ongoing issues with urban air quality, noise and road toll, not to mention the urgent action required on climate change, is clearly in our own worst interest.

As I said in my first message, I would be interested in hearing about something positive which the Coalition proposes to do to encourage and facilitate commuter cycling if and when it comes into power. Cyclist numbers are reportedly rising significantly despite the generally hostile cycling conditions in our major cities. Each new convert to pedal power for commuter travel means one less car on the road or one fewer passenger crammed onto over-taxed peak hour trains and buses, which benefits everyone.

Given that bicycle infrastructure is far cheaper to build than new roads and that it offers a far higher benefit-cost ratio, it should be a high priority for government investment.

So, does the Coalition have a policy on building bicycle infrastructure?

Would the Coalition actively encourage the use of bicycles for commuter journeys and to replace other short (under 5km) car journeys?

Would the Coalition fund the Sydney HarbourLink cycleway, to join up the North Shore with the new Sydney cycleways, if it came to power next March?

I look forward to hearing your favourable response.

Yours sincerely

Neil


Rodney Bruce wrote:
> Dear Neil,
>
> I'm writing from Andrew Stoner's office.
>
> Andrew has read your email and asked me to reply as he is travelling.
>
> Andrew did not intend to say that the only thing that matters is single-occupant car commuters or downplay the inconvenience cyclists will face.
>
> It was a comment on the Keneally Labor Government's mismanagement of the roads network over 15 years, which impacts on drivers and cyclists alike, as you have summed up.
>
> Thanks for your email. We will continue to discuss improvements to our roads and transport, which will help everyone who uses the network - including cyclists.
>
> Kind regards,
>
>
> Rod Bruce
> Chief of Staff
> Office of Andrew Stoner MP
> NSW Leader of The Nationals
> Ph: (02) 9230 2281

What did you expect from the country party? Keep on the case.

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