28 Apr 2016

'It takes more than a few nails to put people off cycling'

8:28 pm on 28 April 2016

Hundreds of nails found scattered along a controversial cycleway in Wellington might have been planted by someone against the project, but it won't stop cyclists using it, a campaigner says.

Last night hundreds of nails, in five piles, were discovered along the $1.7 million Island Bay cycleway.

It has been the focus of intense public debate since it was first proposed in 2011, with many residents opposed to it running between the footpath and parked cars.

A video posted on Twitter showed some of the nails on the road last night:

The Wellington City Council said there was no way to tell if the nails were intentionally placed there - but Patrick Morgan, from the Cycling Action Network, said he believed they were.

But Mr Morgan said it was unlikely to deter cyclists from using the route.

"People on bikes there are pretty hard, they have to deal with a lot when they are riding around town. The point of the cycleway is to make cycling more convenient and attractive, and you can't stop progress with a few nails. It takes more than a few nails to put people off their love of cycling".

Wellington mayoral candidate Nicola Young, who is not a fan of the controversial cycleway, said she was not impressed by the incident.

She did not condone such an act of vandalism, she said.

"The thing is, there are peaceful ways to protest, there have been some very clever, witty signs put up around island Bay protesting about the cycleway. This is not a clever way to protest, it's a way to alienate everybody and put peoples' safety at risk."

'It didn't look like an accident to me'

One local resident, Pablo, who spotted the nails on the cycleway, said there were hundreds of nails spread in five piles along the cycleway.

"There were hundreds of these tiny nails scattered across the cycleway, they were like tiny needles. I kept finding more and more spots with them. You would walk to one spot, find a pile, then you would walk another 20 metres and then there would be another hundred scattered in the same way."

He initially thought they were accidentally dropped by builders working at property nearby.

"But then when I found a second, third, fourth, a fifth spot, evenly spaced in between each other, and going north of the cycleway, moving away from the building site, it didn't look like an accident to me."

He said he believed it was either a prank of some sort, or someone who was against the cycleway had planted them there.

It put the many families and children, including his, who used the cycleway at risk, he said.

He and his wife used the cycleway daily to get to and from work and his children, including his 4-year-old daughter, used it most weekends.

"My main concern is that somebody could have been hurt, so I went and started to clean them up with the help of another local who came with a broom," he said.

"The people I know in Island Bay are all great people. I understand that some people might be frustrated about the change, but surely people wouldn't go that low. This is not an acceptable solution to people's frustrations."

The Wellington City Council said a contractor was sent to clean the rest of the nails up last night and they have since all been removed.

The Island Bay Residents' Association president, Vicki Greco, previously said more than a thousand respondents to a survey wanted the cycleway gone.

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