Some Thoughts on the Botanic Gardens

by llew on March 19, 2009

Bot Gardens, WgtnAhem … climbs up onto soapbox. I have something to say about the Botanic Gardens, the Council & Garden staff & some of the people who go there.

1. To the Wgtn City Council & Garden staff:

  • Many thanks for the doggy-doo bag dispensers at the main gates, cable car & Rose Garden – I’m not sure if all dog owners have noticed them yet (more on that later), but even those of us usually packing more plastic than the dashboard of an 80s Japanese import get caught out now & then. If I’m allowed a wish list, then another one at the Glen Rd entrance and (dare I say it) Magpie Lawn would be grand!
  • The ‘Get off your bikes & walk’ signs are really pissing some cyclists off, if the frequently ripped up signs are anything to go by. I think that ‘Please bike considerately – go slow’ signs would be a good compromise, particularly on those roads that are already used by cars. Everywhere else, they should walk. Most cyclists are considerate anyway (not all – and more on that later too).
  • The playground used to arguably have the greatest drinking fountain in the Southern Hemisphere. What happened to it? The one there now is adequate, the other was attractive & functional. Could we get one at the top of the Cable Car too? And (dare I say it again) Magpie Lawn?

More after the jump

2. To walkers of dogs through the gardens:

  • Every 4-5 years, the council sends waves of dog control officers to the gardens, morning & evenings to hide in bushes & catch you when you let Tiddles off his lead. They come because the gardeners complain about the amount of dog shit in the gardens. How do I know this? Last time they blitzed, I asked the dog control officer & he gave me an honest answer.
  • There’s a lot of dog shit in the gardens right now. Just saying. Pick up after your dog or pay the hefty price. I think it’s $300.
  • Arguing or abusing dog control officers is futile & counterproductive. Last blitz, one guy with a black spoodle got quite abusive calling the officers ‘Gestapo’ and similar. Shortly afterwards a man was fined for having his black spoodle off a lead. Not the abusive spoodle owner as it happens. Coincidence? You be the judge.

3. To cyclists:

  • As it stands, riding through the gardens, including the stretch between the cable car & Salamanca Rd is against the rules. I don’t particularly agree with this, but if you’re going to stop right on top of a Bike-buster sign to tell me off about my dog, who is on a lead, getting in your way, you sir, have lost all my sympathy.
  • Likewise, if you’re going to barrel past me, my wife & our dog, at speed, around a blind bend on a pedestrian track, with your poo coloured designer lycra, helmet & ‘don’t mess with me I’m important’ look on your face, you earn the loud ‘Fuckwit!’ aimed at your speeding and ample arse. I expect to find you over the bonnet of a car any day soon. And hopefully not a bowled old age pensioner, because you’ll get more than a ‘fuckwit’ from me if it is.
  • And update! There is a public meeting for cyclists on this very issue, next Tuesday (24th) at 5.30pm Kelburn Scout Hall (right in the middle of the offending track.

4. To whomever is responsible for the appearance of ‘Plants have been stolen from this area’ signs in sundry locations:

  • WTF? It’s not even edible plants being filched. Dudes, it’s not cool to steal plants from the Botanic Gardens, not cool at all.
HWD April 10, 2009 at 5:35 am

I totally sympathise re cyclers in Bot Gardens. I was in Wgtn over summer – there seemed to be far too many in Wgtn fullstop, using pedestrian areas as race tracks. Trying to walk around the waterfront was a nightmare. They came up silently at great speed behind pedestrians and one wrong step could’ve resulted in a terrible accident. I’m surprised there haven’t been lots of accidents. Cyclists should be banned from pedestrian areas. Why can’t they stick to the roads? Wgtn has some of the most scenic roads in the country and virtually none of Auckland’s congestion so there’s no excuse.

stephenjudd April 13, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Why can’t they use the roads? Because the relevant authorities, here and in Auckland, not only constructs roads with no shoulders or cycle lanes, but in the case of the waterfront, creates cycle paths that have no clear demarcation that keeps pedestrians off. From the Railway Station to Oriental Parade there is no shoulder or lane, and after Oriental Parade there is a shared pedestrian cyclepath (the pedestrians walk all over the nominal cycle part) and a bunch of angle parking where parked cars reverse into the zone where cyclists are.

The last time I read the Road Code cycling on the footpath was illegal, but in Auckland and in Wellington this seems to be becoming unofficial policy. Roads are only for cars, you know.

I agree that normal cycling speed among pedestrians is antisocial, but the built environment definitely encourages it.

stephenjudd April 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Oh absolutely. I don’t think it’s right to run down pedestrians on your bike or anything like that, I’m just saying that the cues for cyclists are pretty mixed.

And it’s a while since I’ve been that way, but there was a line down the middle with bike symbol on one side and a stick figure on the other…

sue April 14, 2009 at 1:26 pm

i do find differnt perspective intersting, and perhaps they show a bias we all have

where mr judd see pedestrians on the cycle spaces on oriental bay i see cyclists in the pedestrian spaces.

Which tells me the council just has not made it logically clear to anyone


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