Ask Phoebe: Passing lanes should have plenty of warnings

By Phoebe Falconer

Usually there are four signs to alert drivers, says NZTA

The Newmarket Viaduct in Auckland. Photo / Dean Purcell
The Newmarket Viaduct in Auckland. Photo / Dean Purcell

Why is there not a standard positioning for the merging signs at the end of state highway passing lanes? Some have two with the first at 200m, which seems okay, while others only have one that can be easily missed at 100km/h. John Smart, Wellsford.
The Transport Agency says the Auckland and Northland regions have about 60 passing lanes on state highways and they all comply with official guidelines governing the location of signs to help drivers overtake safely. Generally, a total of four signs alert drivers: "lane reduction 200m" signs are on both sides of the highway facing on-coming traffic before the end of a passing lane, and another two "lane reduction" signs are on both sides of the highway at the end of a passing lane as the road tapers back to one lane. But two southbound passing lanes on SH1 in Northland also have signs at 100m to assist drivers. Passing lane signs play an important role in safe travel, and if people have concerns about their location or visibility they should contact the NZTA (state highways) or the authority responsible for a local road.

Are there still plans to provide pedestrian access from Gillies Ave to Newmarket via Clovernook Rd under the new Newmarket Viaduct? During construction, the plans for the new viaduct were explained to the public on hoardings on Broadway. These clearly showed a landscaped pathway for pedestrians from Gillies Ave under the new bridge down the slope next to Highwic ending at Clovernook Rd next to Farmers. Now the area is being completed and landscaped there is no sign of a path but instead barriers to access. If pedestrians continue along Gillies Ave to Newmarket they are faced with walking down Mortimer Pass along a very narrow, uneven gravel path between a rock wall and parked cars, or forced to try to cross the busy Gillies Ave/Mortimer Pass intersection, where there are many cars turning after leaving the motorway.
Jane Doyle, Epsom.

Yes, there were plans originally for a footpath between Gillies Ave and Clovernook Rd as part of the Newmarket Viaduct replacement project. However, the Transport Agency says that after discussions with Auckland Council and Auckland Transport it was decided not to build the link at this stage and instead improve connections between local streets off Broadway. One of the issues behind the decision was safety - the steepness of a Clovernook/Gillies link, together with its potentially damp location in the shadow of the new viaduct - are risks that had to be considered.

I heard that apparently it is illegal to drive through a parking space into another (front) space in a shopping mall. This is something I often do as surely it is safer to drive straight out of a parking space rather than back out. I cannot find any reference to this rule in the online NZ road rules. Can you help? Althea Leonard, West Auckland.
I cannot find any reference either. The only reason I can think of to disallow driving through car park spaces is the risk of someone coming into the front space the more conventional way and meeting you head-on. Not pretty.

- NZ Herald

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