HALF a million pairs of feet are estimated to have crossed Newcastle’s spectacular Memorial Walk less than a month after it was officially opened.
Living up to expectations, the bridge hosted tens of thousands of visitors on the Anzac Day weekend, with just as many visiting on Mother’s Day.
The imposing design of the bridge has attracted criticism in some quarters, while bootcamp-style fitness groups and walkers not cleaning up after their dogs have come under fire as well.
But the vast majority have given it the thumbs up, including many disabled people who can easily access it from Strzelecki Lookout.
Neil Slater, who first floated the memorial walk idea 16 years ago, said he was happy the walk had been ‘‘accepted with such gusto by so many’’.
‘‘It was blowing a gale up there on Mother’s Day, but I saw thousands of people taking a stroll across it,’’ he said.
‘‘I’ve heard that some disabled people haven’t visited because they think they can’t access it, but they can. The council did a great job on the Strzelecki car park – there is disabled parking there as well as level ground straight onto the walk and the bridge. I’ve seen lots of people in wheelchairs and on walking frames stroll the whole 500 metres to the viewing platform. It’s been really heartening to see.’’
Architect Barney Collins said he was glad the walk was being used and appreciated.
‘‘I think it instils a lot of pride in our city,’’ he said. ‘‘I know a lot of people are taking visitors up there and showing the place off.’’
More than 100,000 journeys were made across the bridge on Anzac Day alone, he said, which was the first day it was opened to the public.
Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the Memorial Walk was proving to be a popular addition to the council’s Bather’s Way coastal walk project.
‘‘It is an attraction for people of all ages, and adds yet another box to tick on the list for Newcastle visitors,’’ she said.
‘‘The walk is part of our vision for coastal revitalisation and the works that are currently taking place to rehabilitate and upgrade the six-kilometre Bather’s Way from Nobbys to Merewether, with pedestrian counts in new areas reaching up to 500 per hour.’’
■ SHARE YOUR SHOTS: The views of the coastline, the sprawling suburbs and mountains to the west from Newcastle Memorial Walk are now among the region’s most photographed. If you’ve taken photos from or of the bridge, share them with the Newcastle Herald and we’ll add them to this online photo gallery. Email to email@example.com, or send to the Newcastle Herald Facebook page.