Full versions of the Letters printed in The Aucklander April 26 issue.
It seems unlikely that I'm the only one incensed at being regularly sent on time- and petrol-wasting tours around Auckland every Sunday night, when I have to travel from the North Shore to Mt Eden ("Bottleneck on Beaumont", April 19).
It should be an easy trip of 20 minutes, but invariably it takes up to twice that long on the homeward leg because, week in and week out, month after month, the northbound motorway is closed between Nelson Street and Fanshawe or even Curran Street. Just to ensure the maximum possible delay and inconvenience, and the greatest possible gridlock around Victoria Park, as often as not motorway access from Beaumont Street, which is the signposted diversion, is reduced to a single lane on which only a handful of vehicles can get through at each phase of the lights. Needless to say, nobody has the brains to adjust the traffic light phasing in an effort to alleviate the mayhem. Occasionally the authorities score an even greater triumph of lunacy by narrowing the on-ramp itself to a single lane.
All of which begs the question, what on earth are these people doing for several nights every week that requires the motorway to be closed? There was much bragging about the tunnel project being completed ahead of schedule, but to what avail if there is still so much work left to do that such a vital arterial route is repeatedly choked by a tourniquet of cones? God knows we pay enough for the dubious pleasure of using Auckland's clogged roads; surely we should be entitled to expect them to be available when needed? Having lived more than 20 years in each of two other countries I cannot recall major arterial roads being closed in either of them, let alone with such tedious frequency.
To rub salt into the wound, each Friday the Transport Agency issues a list of overnight road closures. One might reasonably expect that this would enable the hapless motorist to plan for the disruption and alleviate to some degree the inconvenience to himself, but no: more often than not the information contained is completely worthless. Sometimes closures do occur as stated, but more often than not roads are closed either before the stated time or not at all. I've lost count of the number of times I've slogged through the city or down the length of Ponsonby Road to Curran Street because of a listed closure, only to find traffic zipping down a still-open motorway when eventually I reach it. Perversely the weather, an oft-used excuse for postponing work, seems to have no bearing whatsoever on the matter; roads are closed in torrential rain but left open in contradiction of the closure list on clear, fine nights. In the history of mankind there can scarcely have been an organisation so adept at peddling misinformation.
The only logical conclusion is that the Transport Agency is run by compulsive tinkerers who delight in the power they have to cause untold disruption and inconvenience to the motoring public who pay their salaries. Those responsible at all levels, starting with the Minister and working down, should be summarily sacked and replaced by people with common sense and a desire to get traffic moving efficiently. The current brief seems to require the incumbents to do the exact opposite, of which the indefinite closure of Wellington Street on-ramp (but not before wasting a great deal of money installing ridiculous on-ramp signals) is a prime example. - R. Fuller, Birkenhead
SHARE THE SPACE
In "Bike Push" (April 12), Colin Davis of the Orakei Local Board says "a road is a road and not a training area". He says: "If cyclists won't use the footpath, we have to ask why."
Probably the same reason other types of vehicles don't use it. The time has long gone when just two forms of transportation were in vogue - pedestrians and motor vehicles. We now have scooters, bicycles, mini-bikes and motorised Zimmers all jostling for space along Tamaki Drive.
Unless we can afford a separate lane for each form of transport, then we must share the available space.
It's interesting to look at some towns in the UK and Europe, where there is an absence of traffic-control devices (lights, signs, road markings). Even some United States towns have removed speed-limit signs.
G. J. Briden, Eden Crescent
After reading "Field Goal" (April 19), about how many winter sports games are cancelled because of poor grounds, I felt I must advise you of an excellent potential training ground that the Orakei Local Board is keen to acquire. But Auckland Council has decided to allow a change of zone from Open Space 3 to Residential 5.
A decent-sized plot of land sits on three street frontages and is currently the Rawhiti Bowling Club at 14 Rangitoto Ave. The club has been on this site for 100 years, but as membership declines it has decided to close its doors. Rather than seeking a buyer for its land under its Open Space 3 zoning, the club applied to the council to change its zoning to Residential 5 so it can sell the land to a developer.
The council did not require the club to prove that it could not sell its land as Open Space 3 and granted its Residential 5 zone. Local residents appealed the zoning. Open Space 3-zoned land does not come up for acquisition often.
The council says the plot of land is not big enough for it to purchase but the Orakei board has proved there is a need for grounds this size to use as training fields.
I am afraid that all suburbs will remain under-serviced for training facilities if the council prefers to allow perfectly flat, suitable land to be turned into a subdivision.- Brenda Barnes, Remuera