The Wrong Side of my Car

A blog about Auckland City, its streets, and culture shock

11 Jun 2018

Pedestrians to gain right of passage across Hobson Street

Remember Hobson Street?

Yes, that one.

Not an easy one if you want to go across the street to the dairy.

It will, in theory, become a little bit easier, at least on one block, with AT proposing to install a new mid-block signalised crossing.

Consultation drawing by Auckland Transport

That’s interesting, and a bit surprising. I’m glad that at last someone is finally thinking of the people living (and walking around) here.

And for those shouting sacrilege for flouting the Car Driver Bill of Rights, well, in central Auckland, drivers are way outnumbered by pedestrians. And I think—despite appearances—even here on Hobson Street during the evening rush hour. So suck it up.

But, in the big scheme of things…

The more I think about it, the more I wonder what actually the point is. Is it just another instance of the politician’s fallacy?

Cook street, just after the on-ramp. Spot the pedestrians. (Google Streetview)

For one thing, while very welcome, there’s other places with a more pressing need for a safe crossing. For instance just around the corner between the Works Depot and the motorway off-ramp, Cook Street presents a formidable barrier to even seasoned jaywalkers, with traffic coming off the motorway at high speed. Maybe NZTA may balk about this, but, come on, something has to happen there before someone dies.

Looking back to the same spot from near the City Works Depot

And back to Hobson Street itself, my main bug bear while trying to get around there are the traffic lights at the crossings, with their ridiculously long green time for Hobson Street. Tuning those cycles may help more than picking a random single block for that one controlled crossing.

There’s blocks and blocks of these wide roads going through this area. We’re going to need a lot of these crossings. Or, more realistically, we’re going to come to terms with the fact that there’s 50,000 or so people living in the CBD, and we will have to adapt the streets to human life in a more fundamental way.

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