Via The Press, Civil Defence has been removing cyclelanes in order to “improve” traffic congestion. Immediately after the earthquake, I noticed that most people were travelling down my street in Riccarton by bike or on foot. By the end of that week, traffic congestion became massive however. There’s no argument here that congestion has been incredible – I’ve spent double or triple my usual commute time sitting in traffic over the past few weeks, especially around the Curletts/Yaldhurst/Riccarton roads area (in a bus, of course!). But removing bikelanes is completely the wrong step – every bike is one less car on the road, and we should be encouraging bike use through the provision of safe routes. The traffic will still get held up at the intersections and bottlenecks as it always does, but there will be even less incentive for people to bike instead.
Civil Defence has said it will replace the cyclelanes once congestion has returned to normal – but I have my doubts.