There’s been work going on on the hill today — mowing and chainsawing mainly. Now I know why: New-look Mt Victoria Lookout to be Officially Opened:
The new Mt Victoria lookout is to be officially opened by Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast at an early morning celebration on Wednesday (21 November).
The short ceremony will begin at 7.30am with a karakia, or blessing, by Wellington Tenths Trust kaumatua Sam and June Jackson.
…As well as the new lookout, the summit area has a new pedestrian area adjacent to the summit car park and Byrd Memorial, improved lighting and a series of information panels. These cover aspects of Maori and European history of the area, Maori legends relating to the summit and harbour, as well as information on wind speeds, harbour reclamations, earthquake faultlines and the Town Belt.
I’m somewhat shocked though to find that the area is finished enough to be officially opened, because there’s an enormous flaw in the design: it all caters pretty well to motor vehicles, but the pedestrians have been forgotten in one very important area.
Sure, there’s a new railing in the middle of the new steps and path to the Lookout itself, and interesting rubber ‘dots’ just above each set of steps. But the car and bus park has been divided into two with no provision for pedestrians. There’s a 100Kb PDF that shows the plan, but I’ve cropped the relevant part and made it into the jpg at left.
To get from the Lookout or Byrd Memorial to the main car and bus park pedestrians must walk where I’ve drawn the yellow dotted line. It’s along a fairly narrow road, sharing it with the huge tourist buses and cars going to the closer carpark.
There’s no footpath, and flax is planted to within a few centimetres of the edge of the road, so it’s not possible to walk along on the grass beside the road.
And then, although there’s a line on the map across the main road to the other side that doesn’t represent anything in reality. To cross the road to continue walking in the Town Belt there’s no marked crossing point, or even easy path if the carpark’s full. Instead you have to duck and weave around the traffic.
This is all one thing if you’re an adult on your own. But if you have two small dogs with you, or children, or you’re a little unsteady on your feet, or are a family group with a pushchair and dogs and kids on toy bikes, then it’s another matter entirely.
Wellington has spots that are very pedestrian friendly, but with footpaths that stop in the middle of nowhere or that go missing altogether, it’s not the most pedestrian-friendly city by any means.
The ‘new’ Mt Victoria Lookout is yet another example of an area that caters to cars, without taking account of pedestrian needs.