John Wilson Promenade Open Day

Posted on August 24, 2010


On Sunday we walked along one of our favourite places – John Wilson Drive. The place was full with families walking alongside bikes, trikes, wheelchairs, rollerskates, skateboarders, a horse, and yes, a familiar eight year old on a unicycle (full flickr set).

The open day was in celebration of the reserve as a promenade.  It is the perfect walk along the sea – indeed a quite magnificent seascape.

The road was closed to cars for the building of waste water outfall, and stayed closed over concerns about public safety at Lawyers Head.  Whether by design or accident, the outcome is nearly perfect.

It is clearly contentious, even having competing facebook pages ( Car-free and Open the gate).     There will be a small group of  people who cannot walk (or even wheelchair) along to the headland.  It  would be a shame to deny them pleasure of the view.   However, the open slather road denies far more people the pleasure of safe recreation. It is unfortunate that the boganesque behaviour of the few denies access for all.    At the open day the organisers drew  chalk outlines to represent the people (horses/dogs etc) who attended – a celebration of the diversity, but also a making a  statement slightly macabre statement about the danger posed by cars.

I think there must be a solution.  How about a space where pedestrians have right of way over everything else, which have right of way over vehicles?   Open to everyone all the time,  open to vehicles with a5km hour speed limit at publicised times.