130 doctors agree Wellington’s poor cycling infrastructure is ‘killing’ people

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The proposed shared bicycle and pedestrian bridge on SH2 between Lower Hutt and North Wellington, which is still under design.

PROVIDED

The proposed shared bicycle and pedestrian bridge on SH2 between Lower Hutt and North Wellington, which is still under design.

Wellingtonians are dying and falling ill due to the lack of cycling infrastructure, according to a group of 130 doctors.

Advocacy groups Doctors for Active Safe Transport (Dast) and Hutt Cycle Network made the comments at a recent meeting of Wellington area mayors and councilors.

At this meeting of the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s regional transport committee, they criticized the lack of progress on a bicycle and walking path project between Ngauranga in north Wellington and Melling in Lower Hutt, which is still under design. .

State Highway 2 at Lower Hutt leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to decent <a class=cycling infrastructure.” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

JARED NICOLL / STUFF

State Highway 2 at Lower Hutt leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to decent cycling infrastructure.

The project was first launched in 1905.

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In 2015, the New Zealand Transport Agency, which is leading the project, announced that it planned a $ 35 million coastal road along State Highway 2 to unite the two cities and siphon cyclists off the very highway. frequented.

At the time, he said construction would start in 2019 at the latest.

Wellington doctor Marion Leighton, speaking on behalf of 130 local doctors, told the regional transport committee that its members hold the key to preventing cancer, diabetes and heart disease, but they don’t were not using.

“There is a magic pill [building cycleways] and you have this magic pill, ”Leighton said.

A group of medics say slow progress on a proposed Wellington to Lower Hutt <a class=cycle route is leading to people getting sick and dying. (File photo)” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

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A group of medics say slow progress on a proposed Wellington to Lower Hutt cycle route is leading to people getting sick and dying. (File photo)

“But you put your fingers around it and put it behind your back and say no.”

Leighton was speaking at a public feedback session on proposed changes to the area council’s ground transportation plan, which will be finalized on May 29.

The plan lists the committee’s transportation project priorities through 2021, with Leighton noting that the Wellington to Hutt Valley walking and cycling link has slipped to the bottom of the list.

Research suggests that cycling reduces a person's chances of getting cancer by 45 percent, heart disease by 46 percent, and death from diseases such as these by 41 percent.

KEVIN STENT / FAIRFAX NZ

Research suggests that cycling reduces a person’s chances of getting cancer by 45 percent, 46 percent of heart disease, and 41 percent of death from diseases such as these.

In 2012, he was ranked second out of 26 projects, before slipping to fifth place in 2015 and eighth this year.

It was “appalling” considering the health benefits it would have for people who used it, Leighton said.

According to a recent five-year study of more than 250,000 people published in British medical journal, cycling reduced the risk of cancer by 45%, heart disease by 46% and death from diseases like these by 41%.

“This magic pill is hidden, by yourself,” said Leighton.

“This is not about your political career. It is about your collaboration as our leaders.”

His fellow doctor David Tripp, speaking on behalf of the Hutt Cycle Network, told mayors and councilors that Wellington’s lack of cycling infrastructure is “killing your people”.

“If you have people riding bikes, you save lives,” Tripp said.

“If you don’t create the environment for people to cycle, then people will die as a result.”

Tripp praised the recent government policy statement (GPS) on transportation for its emphasis on safety, but said people “would also die of physical inactivity.”

Regional Transport Committee chair Barbara Donaldson said the bike path remains a high priority.

Her drop-down list read “there are other things that have been placed higher than that, but it’s still up there,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Transport Agency said GPS prioritizes walking and cycling infrastructure and safety, as well as providing critical missing links to the urban cycling network in areas at risk. high demand, such as between downtown Wellington and Lower Hutt.

Wellington City Council, meanwhile, announced earlier this year that it has allocated $ 70 million to build bike lanes within city limits over the next 10 years.

In March, he voted unanimously to move forward with the construction of new cycle paths in Kilbirnie and Evans Bay, as well as changes to several other streets in the city.


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