I was a critic of the crossing: when on my …

Comment on Gap pedestrian crossing goes, Feds waive refund by Jocelyn Davies.

I was a critic of the crossing: when on my bicycle riding through there, I found it really scary to have no escape path from cars or trucks passing by. I also saw many people crossing the road, and not using the crossing. But that changed.
As I saw people using the crossing, I wondered why they were doing that – it seemed a much less direct route.
I concluded it was because getting up and down the side of the railway line, over a steep bank, on loose gravel, would be quite tricky, especially if you don’t walk so well anymore, or if you’ve got a baby, or a stroller, if you are on crutches maybe.
Now the crossing is closed down and being dismantled, and people are again crossing the steep gravel banks.
It doesn’t affect me directly. I’ve never crossed the railway line there, and if I ever did, it would be once-off, maybe on Show Day, not everyday life.
Even when I pass through on the road, mostly it’s in a car. The risk the crossing had for cyclists was occasional for me personally, not every day.
So the crossing is become a piece of public art, ephemeral, as art installations are.
It references those policy detours where governments tell Aboriginal mob ‘you’ve got to change how you do things, what you do isn’t right, it’s not safe, we’ll help you, we know what we’re doing, we know about these things’.
And those on the receiving end, at least some of them, see a different way, and they do change and others start to see the advantages of changing. But the policy is found to be unsustainable, with unintended consequences, and is abandoned, still with no way out on whatever the problem was in the first place, and invariably with more cost to the public purse and a bit of intergovernmental wrangling for good measure.
It doesn’t affect most of us directly. But how much of this public art do we really need, how much can we afford, and shouldn’t there be some planning with people affected, not just ‘for’ them?

Recent Comments by Jocelyn Davies

Bringing Arrernte language into town signage
Well done Akeyulerre. Thanks Arrente people for your generosity. This is for and about all of us.


Youth crisis: broken window of tolerance
Thanks for your insights, Rainer.


Liz Martin says goodbye and good luck
Sorry to see the trouble that this iconic place has got into and the stress on Liz is a damn shame, as is her decision to move on.
Clearly things will change without Liz at the Hall of Fame, and perhaps the Hall will not survive without her presence and personal energy and committment. What a pity.
All the same, reading Liz’s letter of explanation makes me think that this association’s way of doing things might inform a valuable case study on what not-to-do in good governance for not-for-profit organisations.


Horror numbers in tourism stats, with a hint for a solution
Why does each visitor to Lassiter (inc Uluru and King’s Canyon) spend twice as much on average as each visitor to Alice?
It’s not just higher prices at Uluru etc, but also different kinds of visitors. E.g. more of the visitors to Alice are visiting and staying with family and friends, so they are not spending on accomodation.
Also the lower spend in Alice might be because a higher proportion of Alice visitors are young people on working holiday visas, who spend low in order to save money for further travel.
It’s good to consider the reasons behind the numbers when comparing performance.


Flair, imagination, vitality: Watch This Space in 2017
Watch This Space artists and Lofties: legends! Thanks for a great write up, Kieran.


Be Sociable, Share!

A new way to support our journalism

We do not have a paywall. If you support our independent journalism you can make a financial contribution by clicking the red button below. This will help us cover expenses and sustain the news service we’ve been providing since 1994, in a locally owned and operated medium.

Erwin Chlanda, Editor