The project has also been labelled moronic for a host of other reasons. Some of these have been given by one of my regular guest bloggers, Jerry Flay, in a comment made on the Len Brown Must Resign Facebook Page
It's unbelievably stupid for a number of reasons, so first of all let's deal with what's right about it:
1. Shared space. OK, the concept of shared space, within the parameters of space generally being limited, has some conceptual merit, although the idea is already considerd out of date in go ahead urban areas, where shared space is not being segregated by user type, a bit like the old concept of roads and pavements.
2. Environmentally sustainable mobility. Yes, for those who have the physical and temporal luxury of choosing their mode of transport, the Skypath ticks this box.
3. er....that''s about it.
Now, on to the reasons why it is moronic.
1. The financing of it is a ratepayer rort. It's not a Public Private Partnership at all. It's a privately financed gamble who's losses are underwritten and who's profits are guaranteed by Auckland Council. Which in hard cash terms means ratepayers. You and I.
2. It won't work. A confined space with cyclists hurtling at high speed, swerving to overtake each other, whilst overhead thunders a constant flow of heavy traffic, will be as appealing to most pedestrians as an Ebola milkshake. So it will almost immediately become a cycle path. Everyone involved knows this, but selling the concept is a lot easier with pictures of families, buggies and bikers pushing their machines.
3. Prior to pedestrians abandoning it as a bad and dangerous idea, there will of course be accidents, maybe even deaths. 16 stone of rider travelling at 30k is more than enough to cause a fatality. This will mean ACC claims and lawsuits against the Council. More costs for those poor bastards the ratepayers, which in reality is us.
4. Cyclists won't pay. They don't pay for their road use normally, so faced with a charge each time they cross they will very quickly stop using it. In a desperate attempt to justify why they are financially underwriting yet another white elephant, the Councill will make it free in order to bring back the cyclists. Which means the cost will be even greater to the ratepayer. Once again, you and I.
5. There are far better, and more needed things on which public money should be spent. At a time when the city is drowning in debt, this is a want, not a need. True it may provide a shelter for the homeless at night, but they would probably rather the money was spent directly on giving them a proper home.
Upgrading the waterfront is a great idea. Pedestrianising lower Queen Street is probably a good idea. But the Skypath is a crazy, nonsensical idea, driven by a self interest group that one could politely call monocular and more honestly call liars.
Skypath is a project that is immoral on so many levels. It hits the poorest hardest, provides corporate welfare for the rich, doesn’t stack up economically, and is using a financial model similar to that which got ‘Heart of the City’ into so much trouble. No surprises that both Skypath and Heart of the City models were established by the convicted fraudster Alex Swney.
If the Skypath is built it will cost the ratepayer hundreds of millions in capital costs for construction, on-going operating costs and finally the bill for dismantling it when it fails, as it most assuredly it will.
Len Brown has labelled Skypath a ‘game-changer’ - he used the same phrase to describe the City Rail Link. The game is ‘rape the ratepayer’ and the change is that Brown is prepared to heap tax upon tax on the poorest ratepayers to pay for the pillage of the city by transport planners dominated by cyclists.