I’ve now been told that staff have organised a petition for bike parking. So far 1,000 people have signed, which seems to me like quite a lot, given the hospital employs about 7,000. It is both about providing more numbers of parks and providing better quality ones. The problems are:
- Not enough parking spaces
- Not enough room to manoeuvre bikes in and out, especially cargo bikes
- Dirty, uneven ground (LGF park)
- Uncovered (Main entrance)
- Poor lighting
The CDHB website has a statement about cycling that was put up a few years ago when the cycleways were first proposed. It includes these statements from Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health:
“One of the key ways of tackling our rising rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease is to change our environment so that it’s easier to get active.
“Not only do cycle lanes lead to a healthier population, they’re great for our environment. More cyclists means fewer cars, and that means lower carbon emissions. In a time when the world is grappling with how to respond to climate change, cycle lanes stand out as an easy way to lower emissions and protect our planet.”
“Dr Humphrey says replacing car parks with space for bicycles also makes economic sense.
“You can fit six bikes into a single car parking space, so replacing car parks with spaces for bikes should in fact be very good for business, as well as benefiting health and the environment,” Dr Humphrey says.”
Cycling is by far the cheapest way for people to commute, both on their individual wallets and on the public purse. There is a body of research to show that it results in significant savings to the public health system, and it’s one of the easiest ways for Christchurch to meet its carbon reduction commitments.
Christchurch central hospital does have a perceived accessibility problem, with regular public complaints about how hard it is to get to. I don’t think this is completely unfounded, although it’s important to keep in mind that the majority of travel to and from the hospital is by staff, not the general public. Some potential ways of addressing accessibility at the hospital could be:
- Make it easier to drive to. Spend ~$30–120 million on a multi-storey carparking building.
- Make it easier to catch public transport to. Spend $1-2 million annually on additional buses and shuttles that bring people in to the hospital.
- Make it easier to bike to. Spend $0.1-0.5 million on a secure, covered, bike shed.
If I was a CDHB board member looking at these numbers, I would have thought there is one that would be a lot more attractive than the others. And that one also happens to achieve a whole lot of other goals, like healthier staff, reduced carbon footprint, and small on-site footprint.
I’m not sure what’s taking them so long to do it – hopefully this petition helps speed things along.