Letter to Editor

My letter to the Editor of the Otago Daily Times in response to a Lee Vandervis letter (published 28th June) was published in the 4th July edition of the Otago Daily Times (submitted on 29th June). Text follows (there were a few alterations by the ODT but the “to work, to the shops” became “to walk to the shops” likely because I left a comma out after “to work” so I’ll take some responsibility for that one, other edits are in strikethrough);

It’s great to see Lee Vandervis acknowledge that the earth is warming, it will be even better once he acknowledges that the activities of humans are causing this as I’m sure he already does to himself.

And I agree with him that it’s time for councils and other politicians around Aotearoa/NZ to reduce their air travel as this can increase a persons yearly emissions very significantly (a return flight to Europe will conceivably emit more per person than the rest of a person’s yearly non-flight emissions in their entiriety).

And we could argue about the South Dunedin floods of 2015 and what caused them forever (or at least until the next one) but I and many others probably agree with Lee that fighting sea level rise is a waste of time especially as it’s now about 4mm per year (not the 1.6mm Lee referred to in his question to Jennifer Shulzitski at the recent council meeting).

But the problem with the cycle paths is not that there’s too many of them but that there’s not enough.

Dunedin is a University city and from the North East Valley to St Clair it’s all pretty flat as well.

I would suggest a good example of what could be done to reduce overall transport expenditure, to liven the city up and to make its citizens healthier would be to look at the example of Groningen in the Netherlands rather than to Cuba Street in Wellington as others recently have on these pages.

Currently cyclists are still very restricted in their travels around Dunedin but as many studies have shown once you separate them from cars, not just occasionally but completely, then you allow people to cycle to school, to work walk to the shops and to the university. Even to the council from Roslyn, the return trip being good for the soul.

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