Ask Phoebe

Phoebe Falconer answers your questions about Auckland

Ask Phoebe: Library book fines tally makes surprising read

By Phoebe Falconer

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Council collected almost $1.5 million from July 2012 to June 2013.

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Q: While paying a small fine at the local library for an overdue book, I started wondering - does the council keep figures on how much money in library fines it gets and, if so, what do they use the money for? New books? Library maintenance? Staff Christmas party? L. W. Young, Auckland

A: An Auckland Council spokesman says, yes, the organisation keeps a record of how much money it receives in library fines. From July 2012 to June 2013 the council collected $1,480,000. That's an awful lot of overdue books.

The preference, however, is that customers return items on time and the service offers easy ways to renew items and issues courtesy notices to help avoid fines.

Overdue fees for most library items are 60 cents a day (there are no fees for children) as an incentive to return items to ensure other library users have access to the item.

The money collected is used to offset the overall cost of providing the library service. It helps run programmes, purchase library material, maintain buildings and provide staff who work with customers to ensure everyone using the libraries gets what they need.

Q: For many months the right-hand lane on the Hobsonville Rd offramp of the Northern Motorway has been "coned off" at the top of the ramp and there seems to be no reason for this. Can you enlighten please? P.M.Hooper, Whenuapai.

A: The Transport Agency says there was a slip between the offramp and the motorway below. The lane has been closed to provide separation between traffic using the adjoining lane and the slip while plans to repair the slip were prepared and approved.
Work is now under way and the Transport Agency plans to have the offramp fully operational again by the end of the month.

Q: Recently the Johnstone Hills tunnels at the northern end of the toll road at the end of the Northern Motorway have had very large numbers painted in black on a white background on the surface at one side of the tunnels. What are these numbers for? Charlie Armstrong, Wellsford.

A: The Transport Agency says the numbers are an important part of the safety measures in place for the tunnels. If there is an incident, the numbers help emergency services and the people who monitor the tunnel cameras from the Joint Transport Operations Centre at Takapuna to immediately identify the exact area.

In the case of a fire, for example, the Automatic Deluge system in the tunnels can be operated in the right place for maximum effect.

Q: Can motorcycle riders use designated cycle lanes? And how legal is it for motorcycles to pass queues of traffic by riding along a median strip? Edward Colenbrander, Auckland.

A: No - motorcyclists may not use cycle lanes. They may use lanes dedicated to buses, cycles, motor scooters and motorcycles, where they are in place, and general use lanes.

Motorcyclists are required to use lanes on the road, where they are marked.

They may only use a median strip where they intend to turn right, as cars may do too.

- NZ Herald

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