A path of good intentions
I CYCLE most days. I recently tried the new bikeway along Scarborough Beach Road. Some observations:
• the bike path physically separates cyclists, cars and pedestrians: very good;
• the bike path is (mostly) wide enough to allow cyclists to overtake each other in both directions: very, very good.
Nonetheless, I’m unlikely to use the bikeway again. I think it is unsafe and inefficient:
• unsafe. The bikeway is interrupted by driveways and intersections. At one end there is a bottleneck which unceremoniously feeds cyclists back into moving traffic where cars can move at speed. Along this stretch cars negotiate other cars which are parking, reversing and turning, which may or may not notice that they suddenly need to share the road with a cyclist who a few metres back was out of sight and mind. Such short, interrupted bikeways lure unwary cyclists and drivers into a false sense that cyclists have a designated space. This can lead to sad events.
• inefficient. The bikeway does not go anywhere I want to go. I’m not being facetious — I invite you to look at what useful car infrastructure does; it takes as many people as possible to and from their workplaces efficiently. This bikeway doesn’t even try to do that. At best it takes a handful of people from a Nandos to a coffee shop a few hundred metres away.
No doubt this bikeway is part of a larger planned network which I can’t yet see. Even so, if the finished product resembles this initial segment I suspect other cyclists, like myself, will continue to seek back-street alternative routes, probably longer but probably quicker and definitely safer, with less traffic and fewer traffic lights.
No doubt many cyclists will applaud the bikeway because anything is better than nothing. I know I sound petulant by criticising the imperfect result of a progressive intention. But I see community goodwill and taxpayer money wasted by such ineffectual gestures.
York St, North Perth
Invisible isn’t good enough
I AM offended by Sasha Verma’s letter, “Give less, it’s a kindness not a cruelty,” Voice Mail, November 21, 2015).
The letter is classic NIMBYism. The writer concedes the “problem” (groups of poor/Aboriginal people) existed in Weld Square before they’d moved in to the area.
But now the writer has moved in, the “problem” is in their “back yard”, and doesn’t want to have to look at it.
It’s not that the writer would like community groups and government to assist these fellow members of the community, the writer just doesn’t want to have to see the “problem” from where they now live.
Secondly, it is clear from the rest of the letter that the reason the writer has no interest in sensitive and more effective measures to address the “problem” is that they see the “problem” as simply a lifestyle choice of the people in Weld Square that the letter writer just wants to again be able to not see.
The writer seems to want a magician to wave a wand to change these choices of lifestyle or make the “problem” invisible to the writer again.
I feel qualified to find this letter offensive because over the past 20 years my wife and I have lived in a similar inner Perth area (near Robinson Park) and raised a family. Similar groups of poor/Aboriginal people were here moving from park to park when we arrived, and this in my family’s “back yard” has not prevented our children from becoming well-balanced community members who have empathy for those doing less well than they are.
Brisbane St, Perth
I AGREE with John Carey’s statement that bike lanes are “not just about today, but for the next 50 to 100 years”.
I love the fact that Vincent is taking measures to try to discourage the over-reliance on cars by West Australians.
By restricting private vehicles to one lane, as on Scarborough Beach Road, traffic will move more slowly. This may frustrate some drivers but hopefully encourage them to use public transport, cycle or walk instead.
The majority of people in suburbs close to Perth do not need to drive their cars to the city. Exceptions would likely be shift workers and those who require the use of their car during their work times. Also people who have bulky/heavy equipment to carry.
A person I know lives within walking distance of a bus stop on Charles Street in North Perth and does not require his vehicle during office hours. His city workplace provides free parking so he chooses to drive! For the sake of his own health and that of our environment he should be encouraged to commute by a more sustainable mode of transport.
I would like to see bike lanes along all major transport corridors, including Loftus Street. Where separate bike lanes may not be possible I would suggest a shared bike/bus/taxi lane and that all other vehicles are confined to one lane.
I also applaud the planting of so many new trees along the new bike lanes. They are visually appealing and are helping to enhance the air quality and reduce the heat.
Thanks so much, City of Vincent.
Loftus St, Leederville
PS: Thumbs down to the pink lycra mob I saw last Saturday at about 8am. They headed down Scarborough Beach Road in a westerly direction and not one used the bike lane. Oh well, that’s their choice if they want to emulate a Tour de France peloton.