The Traffic Jam Episode 3: Pedestrian At Best

The Traffic Jam’s third episode is “Pedestrian At Best” with Living Streets Aotearoa’s Ellen Blake, and it’s a great listen. 

(If you haven’t heard: the beloved voice of National Radio’s Nights programme, Bryan Crump, is a secret transport geek. His new podcast, The Traffic Jam, is not only punny – it’s getting answers to some of the really gnarly questions about how Wellington gets around.)

They tell me Wellington is a very liveable and walkable city. Let’s set aside the city’s outer suburbs for this discussion. That’s for another day.

But thanks to geography, the central city is a compact little number. Whether it’s making the most of its geography is another matter.

Last week, I went for a walking tour with Ellen Blake from Living Streets Aotearoa. We started where a lot of visitors have started over the years, at the central railway station. Our plan was to make our way, via the “Golden Mile” (who gave Lambton/Willis/Manners/Courtney that name???)  to Tory Street, then down to Te Papa and the waterfront.

You’ll notice a lot of background noise. Some of it’s traffic, some of it’s wind. Not ideal, but does add to the realism. This is Wellington on a typical day.

Interesting thing about the waterfront, which I regard as one of the finest promenades in the country, if not the world (of course I’m biased!). It isn’t easy to access on foot from the city itself. In fact, you can’t even catch a bus to it!

There is plenty of parking at Te Papa if you want to go by car.

Speaking of which, my colleagues at RNZ have been looking at the latest market trends in private motor vehicle demand.  Wouldn’t like to meet one of those running a red light when the green figure is flashing, or parked on a footpath (and in a lot of narrow suburban streets, the footpath is the go-to  option for too-wide vehicles).

Ellen has a bit to say about the latter issue. I’m planning to do a podcast on the former; I often observe pedestrians waiting (when they have the cross now sign in their favour) for cars running red lights. Why do so many pedestrians look so resigned to their fate?

But that’s for another Traffic Jam. For now, I invite you to listen, sit back and let your imagination do the walking.

Pedestrian At Best on The Traffic Jam

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