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Monday, May 25

People take back bridge in historic harbour crossing

The sun came out this morning for the thousands of Kiwis who walked and cycled across the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman and MP Keith Locke both spoke at the rally before joining the historic bridge crossing.

“It was just tremendous to be there – it was a real celebration of walking and biking, and showed just how Aucklanders could get around if the Government had the gumption and the brains to think beyond building motorways,” Dr Norman said.

The big disappointment was that the New Zealand Transport Agency denied requests for the crossing to go ahead, failed to plan for it, and that meant there was no strategy to manage the traffic on the day.

“The lack of planning by the Transport Agency led to motorists being completely unnecessarily delayed,” Dr Norman said.

This fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the bridge was always going to attract a big crowd. This was especially so in light of the campaign to allow walking and cycling access on the bridge.

“It is ridiculous that the NZ Transport Agency still opposes cyclists and pedestrians crossing the bridge. The policy dinosaurs at the NZTA should wake up to the fact that Aucklanders are desperate for alternatives to motorways.

The Green Co-Leader praised the Police: “At the end of the crossing, people were applauding the Police” Dr Norman said. “The police were put in a tricky position by the incompetence of the Transport Agency, but they put public safety first. They kept us safe and that meant that kids could ride their bikes, and parents could take little ones in pushchairs over the Auckland Harbour Bridge.”

“The organisers of this historic event should be congratulated. This is the day that the people of Auckland stood up against the bureaucrats and the Beehive and took their bridge back.”

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