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Ask Phoebe: Science, not a whim, informs ramp signals

Despite frustrations over motorway lights the system is designed to keep traffic flowing.

Photo / Paul Estcourt
Photo / Paul Estcourt

As well as public concern with the phasing of the street traffic lights I think there is a similar issue with the motorway on-ramp signals. Who controls them? When they are on, is there someone monitoring the situation or is it just left to a computer? Either way, I consider an urgent review of their function is required. For instance, at the Northcote Rd southbound on-ramp at peak times (early in the morning) the signals are on but serve no purpose. The traffic entering from Taharoto Rd into Northcote Rd is a solid line and merging into the motorway is a slow process in view of the nose-to-tail traffic. So there is no need for the ramp signals because incoming traffic has no option but to "merge like a zip".

In another example, when entering the northbound motorway via the Greenlane on-ramp at around 12.30pm on a weekday the signals are on. This is pointless as traffic is fast-moving and well-spaced so merging can be achieved comfortably and at speed. Can we get some action? Keith Hamilton, Milford.

On-ramp signalling and the use of these lights is scientific, not just at the whim of a controller or an unmanned computer.

Ramp signals are operated by the Transport Agency from the NZTA/Auckland Transport Joint Transport Operations Centre at Takapuna. The system is designed to help keep motorway traffic flowing as freely as possible. Electronic sensors measure traffic volumes and the signals turn on when the system detects congestion. Signals may operate because of congestion around just one ramp, but they may also regulate the number of vehicles joining a relatively clear section of motorway because the sensors have detected congestion further along the network.

I was wondering if you could tell me if there are any plans to solve the Albany Park-and-Ride issue of a lack of parking. I have received parking tickets for parking on the grass and I am wondering if the council has any plans to put more parks in, considering there is plenty of land. Or are they going to just increase the frequency of feeder buses in the local area? Sian Edwards, North Shore.

There are 1100 free car parking spaces at the Albany Park-and-Ride. The measures being considered to ease Auckland's traffic woes include large increases in park-and-ride areas around bus, train and ferry facilities, which could mean as many as 15,000 spaces by 2041. That's a long time to wait, admittedly. The introduction of parking charges for spaces at Park-and- Ride facilities is also under consideration.

The discussion document being considered is up for public submission. If you would like to have your say, go to by June 30.

The development of feeder bus services is continually under review, and there are hopes that the number of services will increase.

- NZ Herald

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