What a fantastic day for Auckland! After 50 years of having the Auckland Harbour Bridge locked off to all those not in cars, today Aucklanders took back Our Bridge. I was right there at the front of the rally – impressed by the speeches (particularly that of Christine Rose) and heckling abuse at Wayne McDonald of NZTA. There were certainly a LOT of people there, perhaps more than the 2000 quoted by most newspapers.
For a while I thought we weren’t going to get across, as Wayne said “no” as we asked him nicely. But then we shifted down to the Curran Street onramp, found our way through the trees and onto the onramp itself. The police were there but didn’t really try to stop us – the crowd was just too great. First NZTA blocked off the clip-on lanes and then, perhaps because they were afraid of having so many people on the clip-ons, they blocked traffic off from the centre lanes too. So we had the entire northbound side of the bridge to ourselves. Everyone was jumping and yelling, absolutely exhilirated in what we’d achieved. It was a huge egg on Mr McDonald’s face in the end, as I’m sure traffic was absolutely screwed throughout the city. If NZTA had avoided being such idiots they could have easily managed it, but in the end it was their stupidity that led to the entire northbound side of the bridge having to be closed.
Leila and I walked across and back, seeing heaps of people of all ages, with kid, dogs and push-chairs. It was a day when we all celebrated being Aucklanders and celebrated the bridge as linking the city, not dividing it. This is just the start of things to come I hope – a day when the tide turned against our automobile-centric thinking.
As Christine Rose from the ARC said: “Let’s burn fat, not oil!”
What a fantastic day weather-wise for us, and also thanks to all the Aucklanders who turned up to celebrate Our Bridge. And to NZTA, shame on you for being such narrow-minded fools, it is your fault that the whole motorway got shut off, you could have organised this to run smoothly. Shame on you.
Photos here: http://transportblog.co.nz/2009/05/24/our-bridge/