When Adam and Eve lived in paradise, there were no cars, buses or trucks. No one (for obvious reasons) zoomed about on bikes or electric scooters. Hence, no need for roads, roundabouts or traffic lights. Heavenly!
Barring the odd reptile that might bite them on the asp, God had created a safe haven for his first experiment in human habitation.
Fast forward umpteen millennia and, while we may be lucky enough to live in our own little paradise, the streets of Noosa are not paved with gold. In fact, they are often not paved with anything.
It was a canny Scot who invented tarmacadam in the late 18th century and the city fathers of Glasgow where I grew up in the nineteen-fifties must have been so proud of road-builder John Loudon McAdam’s ‘ground-breaking’ new product that they used it to pave the entire metropolis. A veritable concrete jungle.
In the centuries since his eureka moment, Johnny’s invention has been used in every town and city in the developed world to make life easier for both drivers and pedestrians. But in Noosa, not so much. Outside of the main drag, pavements are a rarer sight than a polar bear in the National Park.
Take but one example: I regularly use Katharina Street in Noosa Heads to walk up to the crest of Noosa Drive and then down the boardwalk to Hastings Street. Katharina is, like most streets here, quite narrow but permits two-way traffic. Parking is allowed on either side of the road. In busy times, which is fast becoming the norm, cars line both sides along the whole length. That leaves space for just one vehicle to pass through at any time.
Yet there is no pavement on one side of the street, and on the other there are a series of short, paved strips each of which ends abruptly, forcing walkers to step on to the road between parked cars to continue. Very dangerous, particularly when pushing one’s grandson in his stroller. Perhaps I need to get him a crash helmet?
There are countless other, similar examples elsewhere in Noosa, including around the mosaic of streets cutely named after boys and girls – Robert, Ann, James & Janet etc – that abuts the river. There, I defy you to walk in a continuously paved line from one end of a street to the other.
I feel Mr McAdam turning in his grave as I write. But seriously, this is literally an accident waiting to happen. Adam and Eve would not last a minute here without being run over by a bus. Noosa Council has quite a bit of taxpayer cash in the bank, (currently over $100m at the end of April) presumably waiting for a rainy day. How about they use a chunk of it on something concrete – like a paving program to make our streets safe?
That way, we can all enjoy our wee bit of paradise without having to walk on the wild side.