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If it’s harder to get a cab in Bunda Street, does that mean clearer air in Beijing?

By Mike Jeffreys - 9 December 2014 6

taxi-stock-091214

The Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Shane Rattenbury announced in a press release over the weekend what he called the launch of the first stage of the Bunda Street “shareway project”. Quote “The revitalised Bunda Street will become a shared space for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, rather than a traditional street design which prioritises motor vehicles.”

“Traditional street design which prioritises motor vehicles”…?

That is to say it’s a roadway where cars bring people to that part of the city and then perhaps later take them home again?

I’m getting complaints that all it really does is make it harder to get a cab.

How is that an advance?

A workable piece of street design is changed at some expense despite not being in any special need of attention?

The project is the final stage of the Civic Cycle Loop which is a 3.2 kilometre cycle path around the City.

If this move is intended to benefit the night clubs and their patrons in the area, does Mr. Rattenbury imagine that cyclists will be riding their bicycles to and from Canberra night spots in the future?

Green politicians are car haters  (for other people – not for themselves).

They appear to support an ideology which says that the proletariat should know its place as a good little striving mass and use mass transit or, occasionally, bicycles to get around while only the elite deserve to ride in individual motor driven modes of transport.

As a caller pointed out to me once, they’ve already done their bit by telling the rest of us how to live our lives, so they don’t have to also practice what they preach.

In the case of Mr. Rattenbury, he’s changed some infrastructure from its intended practical purpose to one which doesn’t that job as well but is somehow supposedly a nod to a cleaner, greener cityscape.

Certainly it has to be said there are Green voters who drive cars, but from my personal experience they make a point of sharing with others just how guilty they feel for doing that.

As another caller told me once: “I know we shouldn’t keep the Range Rover, but we really need it to take Melissa to dance class after school”.

Whether this collective announced guilt is pleasing to Gaia I have no way of knowing, but perhaps it helps get people like my caller through the Green Pearly Gates once they’ve stopped using this earthly realm’s resources.

The quandary they face is that their stated aspirations are not achievable on a consistent practical basis.

In that sense they put me in mind of the ancient Indian cult of Jainism.

Jains believe that each and every living being has the same eternal soul within it. Their food choices are extremely limited: they are fruitatarians which means they can only eat that which has fallen to the ground or come from a plant that has not been entirely killed in the process of acquiring said food. Root vegetables such as onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots and all others are strictly forbidden in sacred Jain texts.

This means making lunch becomes a tricky business.

It’s pointless to ask a Jain “Do you want fries with that”.

In fact it’s pretty tough to be a perfect Jain and still keep body and soul together for the earthly sojourn, so the average Jain often eats stuff that doesn’t quite answer the requirements of their religion which means they have to live their daily lives in sinful imperfection.

The head Jain goes through a complicated ritual which somehow means he can remain pure even though he may also be eating food which really shouldn’t be on the menu of the holiest of holy.

Basically, his supporters cut him a break so he can remain more morally elevated and they can have someone to look up to.

It’s a bit like Green voters saying it’s okay for Mr. Rattenbury to drive the Prius even though there are serious questions to be answered about whether the saving on fuel really counteracts what was needed to manufacture those big batteries and what happens when they reach their use by date etc. etc.

In other words, it’s all pretty token.

Which brings us back to Bunda Street where a few people get inconvenienced, a few think it’s a gesture in the right direction – presumably their faces will light up with pride when they tell others of this achievement instead of having to confess their guilt at driving Melissa to dance class in the Range Rover – and none of it makes the slightest demonstrable difference on a global scale.

What’s Your opinion?


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6 Responses to
If it’s harder to get a cab in Bunda Street, does that mean clearer air in Beijing?
watto23 4:59 pm 12 Dec 14

Yeah a bit of a rant, I could never understand with the number of pedestrian crossings why anyone would drive along Bunda street. I think the idea is the road is still free for cars to use i rarely ever see a spare car park, but see plenty driving along the street hoping. If they just parked in a car park they’d be in and out quicker than the time it takes to look for an on street park in Bunda st. In fact they probably should have got rid of all the on street parking except for maybe disabled and perhaps a few more motorcycle parks.

Also the greens are no worse than the liberals, ramming down their conservative policies on us all.

Maya123 1:35 pm 09 Dec 14

That rambling rave lost me part way through. As for taxis, I wouldn’t know. If I don’t have transport with me – car or bike – I catch the bus.

Tenpoints 12:26 pm 09 Dec 14

Put simply, it is infrastructure to better reflect the status quo; high pedestrian activity that will likely get busier over time. I don’t see any regressions here. Bunda Street in its traditional form was a trap that lured you with the promise of a free 5 minute park for your quick stop then cost you 10 minutes waiting for pedestrians and ultimately finding nothing. You don’t need to be a green politician to see the merit in this idea.

HenryBaits 10:17 am 09 Dec 14

I think central to the problem here is that the environment is an issue for all of us and it doesn’t belong to one political party. and that political party should stop making gestures that have no real impact.

Felix the Cat 9:55 am 09 Dec 14

I lost what message you were trying to get across with your rant, Mike. Was it meant to be an anti-cycling rant, or maybe a rant against SUVs, or a general rant against Green politicians?

It’s not like Bunda St is blocked to traffic, so not sure why it has suddenly become difficult to get a taxi. Probably the taxi driver wasn’t aware that Bunda St was reopened, it has only been a day.

Perhaps next time your caller wants a taxi they could try walking a few metres to another street such as Constitution Ave and see how easy it is to get a cab from there with all the areas for a cab to pull off the road and pick up, which there aren’t.

El_Mariachi 9:33 am 09 Dec 14

The Bunda Street redevelopment is a sign of a growing city, it’s quite normal for main commercial areas to slow or exclude traffic. It’s too soon to call yet, but I expect it will liven the area up a bit. It’s nice to see Government at least trying to stop the Canberra Centre sucking all the commercial life out of Civic and hiding it in their horrid mall.

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