Arthur Bragg, Surfdale Automobile Drivers Club. (SAD)
So the Esplanade is going to be re-opened for the use of cars. Yippee. As an ex-boy racer myself I am whole heartedly looking forwards to being able test the boundaries of traction on the tyres of my Hummer as I round the point at 60kph.
While no actual bribes were required – it has taken a considerable number of lunches, drinkies and photo ops for FayJo and Co to get this one passed. But now as my friends in the petrol head team celebrate their victory I have had the terrible realisation that perhaps we may have miscalculated, perhaps we should have been more honest in our arguments as to the reasons for wanting the road.
It seemed to make sense at the time, It didn’t feel right that we should just come out and say we wanted the road open – because we happen to like driving along it, because its a handy short cut to the ferry, because its flat and my V12 just burns fuel going up that hill out of Oneroa, and because it makes our houses more valuable. We could have won that argument hands down because secretly lots of people agree with us.
Instead we fell into the greenie, veggie, pedal pusher’s trap and made out that our argument was about making the road available for everyone. Making it available for sweet grannies who can only view the world from the comfort of a sedan – and who will bitterly regret not seing the point one more time. Making it available for emergency vehicles who desparately needed a second route around the island should Ocean View road ever have a road closing accident on the 100m stretch just above Little O’. Not withstanding the rather more obvious pinch point on the single road from Oneroa to Matiatia.
Oh no we airily said – its all about maintaining the road for all users – walkers, cyclists, mums with buggies, school kids, and cars of course, just occasionally. We can share we said – little considering just what that means.
Guys – get this – we can’t share, we don’t want to share! Have you thought about what sharing a road with a MWB actually means? It means US having to drive along at 4kph for the full length of the road. It means never being able to race around a corner without the danger of some bunch of school kids on rusty old bikes scratching your paintwork and breaking your windows with their poncy plastic helmets. It means traffic lights enforcing a one way system that means you have to wait 20 minutes to let one car come the other way before you get your turn. It means speed bumps every 20 metres as a ‘traffic calming measure’. A TRAFIC CALMING MEASURE I ask you – after losing yet another exhaust pipe to a clumsily laid pile of dirt and tarmac I will be anything but calm. Your chance of catching the ferry in a last minute dash could be wrecked by some loose dog walker out enjoying the morning sun.
Roads are not for sharing! Thats why we have motorways, thats why we have footpaths, kerbs and channels. Thats why we have smooth oil based road surfaces that suit our rubber tyres instead of Horse Shoes.
Its a victory – but a phyrric one. We will get to drive around the Esplanade again – but we will get no fun out of it. No fun at all. Dammit – We should have traded them the Esplanade for a 100kph stretch on the Onetangi straight.