I shifted to Auckland a few years ago. Still wondering why. I am a country boy and you can’t kick the country out of boys. It was not long ago I waved to people I met on the road. There was so few. So, you can understand the shock. I still wonder, “where are all these people going?”
Being a new boy you notice things. Here are some of the things that caught my attention. They made me wonder who was in charge and what were they thinking.
- On many streets that were narrow enough to scare me, half of the allotted space between houses was taken up by a paved footpath and a grass berm. Here I was struggling to negotiate between the kerb and the massive SUV hurtling toward me and just alongside was a pavement wide enough to land a 747.
And land a 747 you could because you would not hit any pedestrians. There just aren’t any. I drive around our fair city day and night and these wide walking pavements are mostly as bare as the back side of the moon.
They are wide enough for four or five people to walk comfortably but I have never seen two abreast let alone four. Maybe Auckland people walked on footpaths long ago? They sure don’t now.
Take Neilson Street in Onehunga. Wall to wall with huge container carrying trucks. It’s a scary drive in a Yaris. Yet there is a wide footpath and a grass berm suitable sized for cricket down much of the street.
- Cycle ways. What are they for? I thought maybe, cycles. Nah. There ain’t any. I see groups of the lycra lads riding three abreast on Wallace Road in Mangere Bridge every Sunday, boxing up traffic. But not on cycle ways.
- Cycle ways in the middle of the road. It’s just as well there are no cycles on some cycle ways. Take Puhinui Road. The cycle way is between traffic turning left and traffic going straight through. Cars turning left have to cut across this 1.5 metre ‘no man’s land’. It’s a cycle death waiting to happen and guess who will get the blame?