Ask Phoebe
Phoebe Falconer answers your questions about Auckland

Ask Phoebe: Accident risk scuttles call to make roadside plants a living billboard

By Phoebe Falconer


Every time I drive on State Highway 20, I notice a great deal of tidying and new plantings along the highway. Is there now an opportunity to plant messages like "Welcome to Auckland" or "Welcome to the Rugby World Cup"? As the sides of the embankments are elevated, these would be easily read by the passing motorist. One thing that should be maintained is the wow factor by using plants as growing billboards - we all know first impressions count. Councillor Sylvia Taylor, Mangere Bridge.

Although it is a lovely idea, it's not going to happen.

The rationale for not planting billboards is that any message that is not immediately recognisable is a distraction for motorists in a high-speed environment, and puts them and others at risk. For this reason, roadside advertising is standardised and kept to a minimum. Except during local body elections, I submit.

But the embankments are not being ignored. More than 100,000 native plants are to be planted this year, and 1425cu m of compost and topsoil and 5700cu m of mulch distributed. This will keep the weeds down and provide habitat for wildlife.

I recently had a close encounter with a car on a footpath. The car came flying off the road and into a driveway, while I jumped away quickly. Car vs pedestrian is never a good look. What are the rules in a case like this? Frits Schouten, Pukekohe.

Rachael Hayes has a similar problem. Her family have been yelled at and sworn at and even had cars nudge towards them. Rachael would also like to know the rules.

And Ernie Wong, a frequent local runner, has had a few near misses as well.

The Road Code (where would I be without it?) states that when you are driving a vehicle and intending to enter or leave a driveway, you must (note: must, not might or could) give way to people using the footpath. Seems quite clear to me.

The footpaths along both sides of Chesterfield Ave in Glendowie are being replaced by concrete footpaths, except for the north side of one block, between Kildare Ave and Kesteven Ave, where there is no footpath. The missing piece forces pedestrians to walk on the road or cross a busy road to use the footpath on the opposite side. Why is this one block being omitted? Tom Ryan, St Heliers.

There is no mention in the council's schedule of footpath replacement that that block will be omitted from the length of Chesterfield Ave, between Maskell St and Robley Cres. If thatbit has not been started by now, I'd have a talk to the contractors or ring the council.

What is the orientation of the Harbour Bridge with regard to wind direction? If the flags are flying at right angles to the top of the bridge does that mean that the wind is blowing west, if pointing towards the outer harbour, and east, if pointing towards the inner harbour? Or is it some combination of wind direction like northeast? Trish Winks, Auckland.

What an unusual question. The bridge lies pretty much along the line north northeast to south southwest. If the flags are flying at an exact right angle to the top of the bridge, and pointing towards the outer harbour, the wind is coming from west northwest. If the flags are flying towards the inner harbour, the wind is coming from east southeast.

When you exit the Northwestern Motorway at Waterview, heading towards the city, the road splits. When you turn left to Pt Chevalier, the two lanes have a give way sign. Traffic approaching from Avondale has to cross a lane to get to the lights and turn left into Pt Chev Rd. If they are crossing your lane from the right, do you still have to give way, as that left lane is dedicated to traffic coming off the motorway and they are crossing into your lane? Some cars from the motorway give way, some don't. Sherrilyn Cook, Henderson.

It's the same principle as the "merge like a zip" rule when you enter a motorway from an on-ramp. The theory is that the traffic merges seamlessly. In practice, it pays to be courteous and change lanes when the opportunity arises.

From next week until voting in the elections closes on October 9, the Ask Phoebe column will concentrate on the Super City. Send your questions to

- NZ Herald

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