Ode to a useful tunnel.

Did you see the article last week about the closure of the road around Moa Point to the airport? I sort of missed it too, but fortunately, my ever diligent partner sent it along to me.

Roll on to the tunnel...

It seems the Wellington International Airport is restricting the use of Stewart Duff Drive to airport-bound traffic only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The airport is tired of all those cars clogging up their drop-off zones.  That’s fair.  No doubt about it, the road provides a quicker and easier car route from the South Coast to the Eastern ‘burbs, but who really likes to drive to an airport when their destination is only Miramar and not India or France or Buenos Aires? Check out this even easier, even quicker and even funner (okay, more fun) alternative that won’t abide four wheels with engines. It features the tunnel under the airport runway and let me tell you, there’s nothing cooler than being an American allowed to ride a bicycle under an airport runway.  I mean, I was threatened with arrest one time for hugging my mom curbside at the San Diego airport.  Airports in the States don’t like love or lingering.  Anyhoo. The tunnel.  I sort of thought everyone knew about it already but I was gently corrected by the blank stare of a friend in mid-complaint about her bike route from Strathmore to Kilbirnie.  “Take the tunnel,” I said.  Everyone should know about the tunnel. Let’s say you’re looking to score some delicious French pastry from Marie Nico in Miramar.  You’ve got a car but the airport road is potentially off-limits and those roundabouts along Evans Bay are starting to rival Los Angeles traffic (okay, at like, dawn, but still…).  Hop on your bike, get to Coutts Street and find the tunnel at the end of the road.  You come out on Miro Street, a few short blocks from Miramar Avenue and all the croissant you can stomach.

It's clean and safe. And you have a bike.
Admire the tunnel art. It'll be gone soon.

If you’re starting off in the east, the tunnel will get you to Maranui Cafe faster than you can say, “how long do you think before I get a table?”  Okay, almost that fast, and certainly faster than you might actually wait.  Just think, if you’ve got your new baskets and paniers, you could even do a little shopping at the enormous new Bunnings or cruise into Kilbirnie for a trip to Commonsense Organics. The tunnel is a fun ride, even if you have not the slightest interest in setting a destination.  I appreciate a slow ride through it to see the graffiti or its whited-out afterlife.  I’ve been known to wait at the park on Coutts for a plane to taxi toward the end of the runway before I roll down to hear the engine roar over me. Finally, may I suggest a frenzy of bell ringing in the tunnel.  Trust me on this one.  It just feels right.

As a last quick note, my heart goes out to everyone affected by the devastating earthquake yesterday.  I hope all our readers’ loved ones are safe and sound.  If you are looking for ways to help, please consider a donation to the New Zealand Red Cross.


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