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A walk in the park

May 5, 2012

I went for a walk in Cornwall Park today with my beautiful wife. The park is stunning, one of my favourites. There are so many trees and the One Tree Hill volcano is an amazing centrepiece. The park is very popular as it is right in the middle of Auckland and easy to get to. There are always hundreds of joggers, cyclists, and walkers. Lots of people out enjoying the fresh air, wonderful views and the piece of nature that the cities forefathers have left us – Sir John Logan Campbell in particular. At 120 hectares, it is the largest park in central Auckland and is a similar size to Hyde Park in London.

However, there is one aspect of the park that I feel really spoils the place. The roads and the cars. The most popular part of the park for walking, cycling and jogging also has several roads. These form a circuit around One Tree Hill as well as a road going up to the summit. The other parts of the park are mainly playing fields so it is not as though it is easy to get away from the traffic.

Auckland has an obsession with the car. The number of cars per person exceeds almost any city in the world. Drivers seem to think that they are the most important people in the world, and certainly cars have right of way over pretty much any other form of transport.

I’ve cycled a couple of times in the park and decided it was not a good place to go. Cars generally are very impatient and even though I’ll cycle close to the 30kph speed limit for most of the circuit, that is not fast enough for many cars. They overtake, usually too close and often with difficulty due to the speed limit, speed bumps and traffic coming the other way. But pass they must and they will.

I feel that my walks are also spoiled by the car. The noise, the boy racers, the occasional dirty one billowing out smoke. I am biased, I admit it. My idea of a perfect walk is in a place where I cannot hear the sounds of man. I love being out the forests, hills or the beach to get away from urban life.

My main gripe with the vehicle use of the park is that is just so pointless. There are many roads around the park, and plenty of parking near the main entrances. I can understand that some need or want a road to the summit, so that a good view can be had by all. But why so many? There is no need for a circuit. There is no need for a through road. The Domain, another of Auckland’s jewels, is also sliced up into many parts – by roads. Hyde Park has only one road through it. Cornwall Park has at least four. The Domain has at least three. They are busy roads as well. Not just the occasional car. Constant traffic, especially the Domain at rush hour.

Auckland’s car use should stop at the gates of the city parks. Leave the park for those who are happy to leave the car behind for an hour or two.


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  1. Naomi permalink

    So agree on all counts. Only essential traffic for those who cannot have another option.

  2. Claire permalink

    I think you should put it to the appropriate local boards.

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