If there’s one thing that really annoys me about Auckland’s city centre it is how there are so many occasions when pedestrians get unnecessarily treated like rubbish. In the heart of New Zealand’s biggest city, with extremely high pedestrian flows and decreasing car numbers we still dedicate an enormous amount of space to cars. Over the next few weeks I’m hoping to do a series of posts highlighting situations where pedestrians are hated upon by whoever designed the road and footpath system once upon a time. The idea is to highlight situations where relatively small and cheap changes could be made to improve life for pedestrians and I’m more than happy for suggestions.
The first is just around the corner from where I work, at the corner of Victoria Street, Kitchener Street and Bowen Ave – and the complete lack of a pedestrian crossing for one pretty important leg of the intersection. A map of where I’m talking about is shown below: The red highlights where the pedestrian crossing is lacking. This is photographed below: Aside from being annoying, the lack of a crossing here is actually downright dangerous. It’s physically impossible to safely get over to the piece of land between Kitchener Street (which goes off to the left) and Bowen Ave (the street going up the hill straight ahead). Here’s what the intersection looks like from another angle: It would be cheap and simple to make this crossing safe for pedestrians. Just ahead at the corner of Kitchener and Victoria (which forms part of this larger intersection) all pedestrians cross at the same time so you just need to paint in pedestrian crossing, get rid of the left free turn (so all traffic gets stopped) and then pedestrians could cross this leg at the same time.
Why does it take so long for this kind of stuff to be fixed up? It’s probably been like this for decades – I wonder how many people have been injured by cars while crossing here?