Loosening the belt

Building more roads to cure congestion is like loosening your belt to deal with obesity. I think this sums up a lot of things about Sydney. Our cities are not getting any smaller, we already know the problems with urban sprawl, you just have to travel out to Kellyville to see what life in the burbs is like.

So many Sydneysiders have their head in the sand not realising how car-driven our city is. Only in the last few years did they change the pedestrian light phasing at the intersection of George & Park St in the city to allow both streets to be crossed diagonally, they are very busy footpaths.

At a smaller scale, there has been friction with residents along Bourke St where the new cycleway is under construction - parking spots had to be removed to construct it. I used to live a few streets away from it, my car would sit there 95% of the time doing 0%. I would typically drive about 40km a fortnight or something like that, Surry Hills is so central that I tended to walk or ride my bike everywhere. I also worked in the area for quite a while and used to drive to work, parking was always a bitch, I hated having to check my car for chalk every 2 hours.

What if the space that parked cars used up could be used for something better? Car parking costs society, on street parking is not free because we pay for it in loss of space and loss of opportunity to do something with it. Back to Bourke St, I think the cycleway is a step in the right direction even though I don't particularly agree with its implementation - it is in the bigger picture, something that will actually decrease demand for parking anyway as cycling to Surry Hills will be easier and more people will take that route. This just isn't obvious to people who are so used to a city which heavily subsidises car usage and suffers because of it.

I hate how the media loves to use the word War. Like the War on Obesity, The war on terror and as you can see in this video The war on the road. FFS I own a car, most people who cycle have a drivers licence and also own a car too. However most drivers have never ridden a bike as transport. I just hate the usage of the word War as it implies that there can only be one winner, it is obvious that a transport solution requires a balance - the problem is that it is unbalanced against anything that isn't a car.

I came across this the other night coming home from work, I was very tempted to key the considerate driver who decided to block the contraflow bike lane on Wilson St, I guess it's ok if you have your hazards on. It just means anyone coming up the bike path has to venture into the oncoming traffic to get around, just so you can park your 4WD somewhere. This isn't the first time it's happened. I am so going to write a letter to Marrickville council, I'm just sick and tired of this shit. Wilson St is one of the busiest cycle routes in Sydney in the inner west, there isn't much alternative but you always get cars coming through here getting away from the other traffic on King St. Then they get shitty at you because it's too narrow on the part closest to Newtown. Anyway that's enough ranting for today.


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