My speech – Submission to HCC for Separated Cycleways on Anglesea St

What follows is my speech to the Hamilton City Council Finance Committee on the 15th May, 2014 and files that were attached to the submission;

Good afternoon to her worship the Mayor of Hamilton, chairperson Rob Pascoe and Councillors, and the CFO, CIO, General Managers, Group Accountants, Managers, Directors and Advisors. 

I’m speaking today as a member and spokesperson of Cycle Action Waikato, with me is Ashley Hooper of Hamilton Urban Blog. 

Anglesea St between Knox St and Collingwood St needs repairs as you know. Anglesea (and Tristram) are the Major north-south roads through the central city, carrying high volumes of traffic (Ham City Centre Local Area Plan *HCC*)

Coming up in the City Local Area plan are plans to make the CBD more pedestrian friendly. Part of the plan is easier access to Wintec, CBD and the Transport Centre. A critical element of this is access for cyclists and as such we’re proposing the repairs include separated cycle lanes. 

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The repairs include the kerbs being removed, footpaths repaired, all the trees being chopped down and WEL networks replacing infrastructure at the same time. Including cycleways in these repairs will be of a very similar cost and it is essential the work is done now rather than a very costly retrofitting being placed on ratepayers later. 

597 more people,or 15%, cycle to work daily (1,719) than take the bus (1,122) according to the 2006 census. In the 2013 census this increased to 97% (1761) more people (3570) people cycling than (1809) taking the bus. Yet in the annual plan, for 2014/15 the sums allocated for bus stops, transport integration and minor improvements are $1.58M. Road resurfacing and replacement of the road base are allocated $5Million. 

Nowhere is cycling specifically allocated for yet the more people cycling, the cheaper it is for Hamilton residents, ratepayers etc. 

Going back to the local area plan, pedestrian is mentioned 154 times, while cycling is mentioned 5 times. In one of the very few mentions of cycling in the 81 page document, the ‘sustainable design section’ states its purpose to:

“Promote sustainable transportation through provision of clearly marked / identifiable walking and cycling routes and close proximity to public transportation routes.”

It also goes on to say: The nature of Anglesea Street will change from vehicle oriented to a mixed use street with increased pedestrian priority and amenity. The aim is to improve walkability in the central city and improve connections between some of the city’s major attractors such as the cricket grounds, the Transport Centre, Wintec (west of Anglesea Street) and Casabella Lane, Barton Street, Centre Place, Downtown Plaza, Garden Place, Victoria Street, Hood…and, it says “Anglesea Street is currently a major pedestrian barrier and although it will remain a major vehicle route in the city, it will become an environment better suited to pedestrians.”

In that spirit it is also essential that pedestrians and cyclists are free of each other, as well as of vehicles. Anglesea Street is designated as a City Living Precinct, the definition of which is ‘an area with the greatest potential for transformation’.

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Now one of the documents you have in front of you is an article from the Waikato Argus newspaper, published in 1913. Over 100 years ago in 1913, Hamilton City Council was looking at doing exactly what we’re proposing now, separated cycleways along a stretch of Anglesea Street. Please don’t let another young man or woman be standing here, in 2114, another 100 years on, pleading for a scrap of decent cycling infrastructure. This project is over 100 years in the making and its time it went from committee stage to action.

Thankyou.

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Green is the new red: Will Potter on the problem of treating environmentalists like terrorists

TED Blog

WillPotter_TEDFellow_Blog

When Chicago Tribune reporter Will Potter went to pass out animal rights leaflets, he had no idea the FBI would single him out and pressure him to become an anti-activism informant, threatening his future if he refused. Here, we talk to the TED Fellow and author of Green is the New Red about this experience, which sent him into a whole new area of research. The crux of what he found: environmental and animal-rights activists are now considered the United States’ number-one domestic terrorism threat, and they are being prosecuted as criminals.

Do you think of yourself as an activist?

I don’t consider myself an activist, but there’s certainly an advocacy component when I’m talking about civil rights issues. My background’s in newspaper and magazine reporting. For a long time I tried to pursue the traditional newsroom path, and I was on it for quite a while. Then, when I…

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