I got something in the mail the other day. A planned new cycleway running down one of the main streets of Auckland CBD, Nelson st and then criss-crossing all over the city.
This is music to my ears as Auckland has to be one of the noisiest and congested cities in this part of the world. The city has a population of 1.4 million in the 2013 census and is the most populated centre in the country with the population set to rise in the next 20 years by up to 30%.
With that in mind, Auckland Transport have finally understood that the answer may lay with the humble bicycle. See their proposed cycleway plans here.
There are the obvious health benefits to cycling. Plus traffic congestion is lowered. Suddenly the community cares about this or that public space and a sense of civic responsibility springs up from cycling, in a way that car drivers could never imagine.
Cycleways are fantastic as they allow citizens to reclaim the streets from cars. Slowly but surely, bikes have since become so fashionable again, spurred on by hipster trends. Suddenly what’s old became fashionable again in the past decade.
However unlike the more pretentious trends of the hipster movement, like buckwheat shots and bushy beards, cycling and riding fixies is practical, healthy, saves you money and is a mode of transport. It also means that people become more personally invested in their urban spaces.
So I got a letter in the mail from Auckland Transport, and how did I respond? with a passionate plea that the city planners transform the city into a bike and pedestrian only zone.
Famous Examples of Cities Reclaimed By Bikes
Here’s a definitive list of the trendy, vibrant, young and cool cities where everyone wants to live in. Some of the measures these cities took to boost the look and energy of the city were bike related, including: dedicated cycle lanes throughout the city, lowering speed limits for cars, bans on cars during the weekend, pedestrian and bike only thoroughfares and bike hiring facilities:
Berlin: A city for bikes
When I lived in Berlin a few years ago, the presence of cycleways throughout that city astounded and delighted me. ‘So you’re telling me that you can cycle on the streets in your own dedicated bike lane and cars and traffic lights will give way to you? AMAZING!’ I said to my friend. That this could become a reality in New Zealand seemed like utter fantasy. That’s me in the red shorts, six years ago!