Image of the day: Museum Boulevard

This interesting image popped up on twitter today showing an earlier plan for the area behind the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

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It looks like it would have been a fairly grand boulevard to complement the museum but it obviously never happened. This is how it currently looks.

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Why can’t you walk to the museum?

Lately I’ve spent a lot of time jogging in the Domain, taking every lane and pathway I can find in and around the park. Recently one thing has dawned on me, it is simply impossible to walk to the museum on a footpath. There aren’t any!

That is super crazy in my mind, why are there so few footpaths in the Domain? On foot you have the choice of walking in the road, or on the grass. The latter is ok in fine weather, but it rains one day in three in our fair city so the grass is often soggy.

Take this for example, the route between Parnell Rd and the museum. Just along here is the bus stop where both Link buses announce that you should get off for the Domain and museum. No footpath on either side! You can however see the clear desire line for pedestrians where the grass has worn away where the footpath should be.

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Fancy that, the city’s premier park and one of its main attractions, mere minutes from the high frequency shuttle buses service the city centre… and not a footpath between them. Even more curious is when you talk a look across the road. Here we have the entrance to the Sensory Garden, stocked with plants of interesting scent and texture developed so that people with limited vision can enjoy the gardens too. Behind that, the Blind Foundation headquarters and series of vision related healthcare clinics. If there was anywhere in the country you would want a proper footpath, it would be right here!

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Then if you do manage to make it along the road on foot to the museum, you are confronted with this. Acres of tarmac striped out for cars, recently designed and built… and still no bloody footpath, let alone a crossing! ┬áThere is a footpath on the far side, but that ends abruptly in a loading dock facing a five way traffic junction. I can see more pedestrians than cars in this photos, so I guess at least we Aucklanders are a hardy bunch (or at least we are used to dodging cars). What went wrong here, why are we still building this sort of thing?

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