Genter and Hosking butt heads over cycleways

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 12 December 2018, 8:54a.m.
Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter went head to head with Mike Hosking this morning.

Green MP Julie Anne Genter is defending cycleways saying they are one of the "most cost-effective ways we can solve our traffic problems".

The Associate Transport Minister told Mike Hosking this morning, she wants to make her case for cycleways clear.

"It is absolutely fair to raise the question is this good value for money? Is it the right way to solve our transport problems? I think that's really important."

"It turns out cycle lanes are really effective ways of making sure more people are able to cycle safely and that benefits those people who want to drive. It is one of the best ways we can free up our roads for those people who need to drive."

When asked by Mike Hosking whether she "honestly believes" they are effective, Genter said yes.

"It's really counter-intuitive because people on bikes take up less space, they move so much more efficiently through a city centre than people in a car and most cars only have one person," she said.

However, that wasn't satisfying Hosking who said, "when I see no one on the cycle lane, I don't care how counter-intuitive it is, there's still no one on the cycle lane".

Genter hit back saying they are still in the progress of putting up the necessary infrastructure to support cycling.

"We've got a lot of data about the number of people using the cycle lanes and in my opinion, this is just the beginning."

"If we want more people to use the cycle lanes, we need a more to connected, safe cycling network. Right now we are just at the beginning of putting in that infrastructure and we are already seeing really good uptake but the real potential is when we get that infrastructure further across the city, it means more people, can use it."

"That's the key to making it possible for more people to use not just bicycles, we are taking bikes, e-bikes, cargo bikes, e-scooters."

However, Hosking was not convinced.

"Julie Anne, if there's no one on there, there is no one on there regardless of what they are trying to use," he said.

The Green MP replied, "trust me, Mike, there are people on there".

Genter said she is focussing on the potential, not how many people are currently using cycle lanes.

"The really big picture isn't how many people are using it now, it's what is the potential. What is the potential for more people to use bikes because that is one of the key most cost-effective ways we can solve some of our traffic problems."

"We've only spent a tiny percentage of the transport budget on cycleways. The cost of a cycle way compared to the cost of moving one person one kilometre in a car is minuscule."

She said a large number of people aren't cycling because they don't feel safe.

"It's not just about cycling it's about giving people freedom of choice and right now most people don't feel they have the freedom to cycle safely. Particularly women and children because if they go out on the road they feel like they are going to be killed."

"There is also a huge percentage of Kiwis who a have car because they have no other choice and until we have a complete, separated cycle network they won't feel safe to cycle."

Hosking challenged the Green MP asking whether lifestyle also had something to do with the number of people who used cars.

"Would you concede to a degree anyway, that the reason people are in cars, apart from that fact that they like cars, is lifestyle.  And the simple fact is that people with kids, with schools and gear and sports and events and life need to be able to get about efficiently and cars are the most efficient way of doing it."

Genter agreed saying, "right now in order to have the lifestyle you want they have to use a car but that's taking away choice from them and it's causing traffic and is very high cost".

"Everyone is different right? So there's a huge percentage of people who want to use a car and there's also a big percentage of people who would be happy to use public transport."

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