Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rainbowing on a Parade

The old saying is that no good deed goes unpunished. I think the O'Farrell government has learned that in spades over the last week.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras happened, as it does every year, on the first Saturday in March. At some significant (and, it should be noted, controversial) cost, a pedestrian crossing was painted in Rainbow colours.

It was a apparently a real highlight of the parade:
Pic from the ABC
Apparently, the pictures of the crossing were popular:
Of course Greenwich isn't literally quoting a figure - but any assertion that the cost is outweighed by the benefit is obviously a made-up stat. It may well have been boosting tourism - personally I'm skeptical, but there is absolutely no way to test that assertion.

Even before the crossing was installed, it was clear that it was going to be temporary.  This is from Clover Moore's personal website, published on 26 February, the week of the festival:
Even before the festival, a petition to keep the crossing was gathering signatures. At the time of writing, over 15 000 people had signed it.

Notwithstanding that, the crossing is being removed. Why? The below are extracts from a letter (Page 1 and page 2) written by the Roads Minister Duncan Gay in reply to Ms Moore's missive asking that the crossing be retained:
The audit mentioned was a pre-condition of the crossing being installed in the first place, as Moore explained on her blog:
Personally, I suspect that the condition that an audit be undertaken was at least in part to equip the government with an independent assessment of the danger posed by the crossing, having anticipated a fall-out. But maybe that's just the cynic talking.

Anyway, the letter goes on to explain more clearly precisely what it is that was observed on the crossing:
Interestingly, at least one of those incidents was NSW Upper House member (and budding Federal Senator) Cate Faehrmann:
Faerhmann tweeted a picture of the stunt:
No doubt when Faerhmann sat on the street she was sober. There is equally no doubt that many others would not have been, which is likely to have been the cause of the incident mentioned in Gay's letter.

Put simply, as long as the crossing was there, people were going to do reckless things on and around it. So much is patently obvious.

The government never promised to retain the crossing - in fact, its removal was a precondition to the installation. And yet, this has been the reward (at least on twitter):

But most ridiculous reaction of all?
Shocked, I tell you! Shocked!

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