If you visit Auckland, there are a few traffic tips you must be aware of, especially if you are a pedestrian.
A general word of caution: you are taking your life into your hands walking anywhere in Auckland. This means on the sidewalk, too.
- Avoid crossing the road
- if the first point has you continually walking around the block, you will need to break rule 1.
- Pedestrians do not have the right of way. Anywhere. (except crosswalks, and they're rare, so drivers regularly forget to slow down for you)
- Sidewalks, or "footpaths" are general guidelines for where pedestrians should walk. Be especially careful when walking near carparks (parkade), alleys, or anywhere else where it looks like the sidewalk has a slight dip in the curb. Cars are almost always coming from below or above (in the case of parkades), and will take a run at getting up the slope, so if you're at the top of the slope, be prepared to either:
- stop to let the car pass in front of you or
- run like hell to get out of the way. I suggest #1.
- Waiting at traffic lights will take forever, especially if you forget to press the crosswalk button. These are on EVERY street corner. If you don't press this button, you will not get a walk light, and you will stand on the corner waiting and waiting for no cars to cut in front of your path, or until someone comes to press the button. Even if the button is pressed, the crosswalk for your section of street might not get a pedestrian crossing light for what will seem like 10 minutes, which is the reason most people jaywalk.
- You can jaywalk. It's the fastest way to get anywhere. I'm not sure if it's legal. Everyone does it. And, unlike in Saskatoon, if someone starts to walk in the middle of the street in what SEEMS like the middle of traffic, no cars will stop to let you by. You wait in the middle of the street until all the cars have left, then you boot your ass across.
- Always look in ALL directions before crossing the street. There may be a car doing an illegal U-turn in the middle of the street and decide that he wants to run you over in the process. Be aware of these people at all times.
- The cars drive on the left side of the road, therefore you're expected to walk on the left side of the sidewalk. That might help you get better prepared for driving on the left side...
- Walking times. Say you have looked on google maps where you'd like to go. You've used the distance measuring tool and you've found that your journey will be 2km. You figure that will take you X amount of time to get there. Add AT LEAST 50% to your time. You need to factor in hiking mountainous streets, waiting at street lights, and getting lost. Not every street is marked at every intersection. If you don't know what street you're on, you might need to walk a little ways until you find a street sign, especially in residential areas (Travis said, "I'd say most streets aren't marked").
I may have missed a few. I'm starting to get the hang of walking in this city. I can't wait for you to visit!