Ask Phoebe
Phoebe Falconer answers your questions about Auckland

Get moving: Bus access, safety mean no end to rush-hour hassle

By Phoebe Falconer

I live on Sylvan Ave in Northcote. There is often a morning rush-hour queue of 10 to 15 minutes to get through the traffic lights at the intersection of Sylvan and Onewa Rd. Will the roadworks that are being completed on the motorway and the Onewa offramp improve the Sylvan Ave traffic situation? Andrew Bruce, Northcote.

Not really. The Onewa Rd interchange upgrade is not designed to provide any greater level of private car access to the motorway southbound during peak hours. It will, however, improve the capacity on Onewa Rd and the Onewa-Sylvan intersection during off-peak hours. Isn't that helpful?

The two main purposes of the upgrade are safety and improved bus access. Safety is enhanced by separating the southbound on- and offramps, and providing greater clearance under the new bridges for motorway traffic. The Northern Busway will be extended past the Onewa interchange towards the Harbour Bridge, so buses will get an easier run. It's all designed, of course, to get us out of our cars and into public transport.

I ride a motorcycle to work in the city every day from Henderson. I am told by friends that I am allowed to ride in the bus lanes in Auckland and Waitakere cities. I assume that includes the motorways. Is this correct? Steve King, Henderson.

No. While your friends are right, and you can ride your motorbike in city bus lanes, the motorway bus lanes are just that - for buses only.

With the western rail line double-tracking, is there any intention of realigning Titirangi Rd? There is a real bottleneck under the railway overbridge as traffic tries to go from two lanes to one. John Reynolds, Glen Eden.

The second line is going to go on existing bridge piers, so there is no chance the road will be widened just yet. A road-widening plan is to be designed but will not be used until there are new bridge piers. There is no timeframe for this.

And a clarification for last week's column: The extra lane at Tristram Ave needs to wait for the Northern Busway to be operational. It has not been delayed by funding issues. The bridge at Tristram Ave means there is no spare room for the roadworks to take place while the buses are using the temporary bus lane. The Tristram Ave section will go ahead as soon as the busway is operational early next year.

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