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Ask Phoebe: Rail eyesores serve a purpose

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The old tracks are likely to be removed next time the Porters Ave crossing needs upgrading, although that is not scheduled. Photo / Thinkstock
The old tracks are likely to be removed next time the Porters Ave crossing needs upgrading, although that is not scheduled. Photo / Thinkstock

Q: Is there any reason why the bumpy rail tracks going nowhere (next to the real ones) on Porters Ave (between Wynyard and New North Rds) cannot be pulled out? And what is the need for the set of four ugly metal "goal posts" that have recently sprouted either side of the tracks there? Paul Sumpter, Mt Albert.

A: You're right, those bumpy old tracks are going nowhere. Jenni Austin of KiwiRail says that with limited cash KiwiRail and Auckland Transport prioritise works and these old tracks are likely to be removed next time the Porters Ave crossing needs upgrading, although that is not scheduled.

The "goal posts" are a safety measure for tall vehicles. With the overhead wires going in for the new trains, KiwiRail has had to put in height restrictions at level crossings. The standard height is five metres but there are 11 crossings where this has had to be lowered for technical reasons including Porters Ave. The "goal posts" are actually barriers to stop any vehicle with an overheight load.


Q: What happened to the miles of beautiful wildflowers on the median strip on the Southern Motorway going up the Bombay Hill? They were such a picture of New Zealand. John Walton, Ardmore.

A: The most recent information I have (from two years ago) is that when the flowers were first planted in 1998 it was envisaged that they would improve the appearance of the motorways and reduce maintenance costs. The flowers did not seed well because of poor ground conditions and over time the beds became infested with brassicas and other unwanted weeds. The wildflower experiment is over, and the beds are sprayed to control weeds. Slow-growing grasses and native plantings have been trialled.


Q: Is a vehicle allowed to legally park with a "for sale" sign on it? Nigel Caigou, Auckland.

A: The old 2008 Auckland City Council by-law No 20 says "a person shall not, without appropriate authority, use any public place for the keeping, placing or parking of a vehicle for sale, exhibition, storage etc in connection with any trade or business". I find this rather confusing and my advice is to ring the council involved.

- NZ Herald

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