Ask Phoebe
Phoebe Falconer answers your questions about Auckland

Ask Phoebe: From bus lanes to Blockhouse Bay upgrade and aliens' landing strips

Could you find out why Vincent St seems to be the only street in central Auckland to have a clearway/transit lane until 10am? All the other main thoroughfares are until 9am. Between 9am and 10am you could lie down in the bus lane in Vincent St without fear of being run over. Derek Keith, Auckland.

After you, Derek. Auckland City Council says 20 buses travel along Vincent St between 9am and 10am, in addition to the 42 citybound buses you might meet between 8am and 9am.

And there are extended bus lane hours (6am-10am and 3pm-7pm) in other parts of the CBD, including Albert St and the citybound lanes on Sturdee and Quay Sts.

But, recognising that variation in bus lane hours can be confusing, the council is planning a review. This may lead to a standardisation of hours, and allow for any increase in bus patronage in the future.

Several years ago, Auckland City Council issued a booklet about the Tiverton Rd/Wolverton St upgrade to coincide with the SH20 extension to Sandringham Rd Maioro St and Tiverton Rd have been upgraded, but there are several other aspects that have been left undone.

These include replacing the roundabout at the Blockhouse Bay Rd/Tiverton Rd/Wolverton St intersection with traffic lights, and widening Wolverton St to four lanes (two each way). In addition, consideration was to be given to installing traffic lights at the Taylor/Wolverton Sts intersection.

Is this work going ahead?

With present traffic flows right turns on to Wolverton St, and driving through the roundabout on Blockhouse Bay Rd, are difficult at best and not getting better. Robert Moorfield, Blockhouse Bay.

This upgrade appears to have been put on hold. The original intention was to do the upgrade in two stages. Stage one, the widening and improvements to Maioro and Tiverton, was finished a couple of years ago. Stage two was put on hold while the council reviewed its ability to pay for the extension of SH20 to the Northwestern Motorway.

With the help of the Transport Agency, SH20 will be completed by 2015. Thus, the widening of Wolverton St to four lanes is under review, and this should be done by May.

On Pah Rd, just after Greenwoods Corner heading south, there are double lines of white dots in the left lane. They stop well before the Mt Albert Rd intersection. Why are they there? Aliens' landing strip? Test for alcohol-impaired drivers to check if they can drive in a straight line? Patricia Williams, Mangere Bridge.

Nothing as exciting as you suggest. The lines of dots mark out sections of road that are used to predict the rate of deterioration of the road surface, and thus work out the best and most efficient way of maintaining the surface. In the Auckland City area there are three such spots, the others being in Neilson St and Tamaki Drive. There are also several sites along the state highway network.

The lines of dots act as guides so measurements can be taken in the same places over time, and then used to establish the work required throughout the country to fix problems such as road roughness, wheel track rutting, surface texture and cracking. (I prefer the aliens' landing strip theory.)

- NZ Herald

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