We live in Ellerslie and over the past couple of months have been watching the new station and associated bridges being constructed. We use the bridge every day to walk to school so were pretty disappointed to find out that the new works have replaced two nice ramps with stairs and lifts. My question is why remove two perfectly good ramps and replace them in this fashion? One has to think the additional cost of providing lifts over a ramp would be enormous, and steep uncovered concrete stairs are a lot more dangerous than gently sloping covered ramps.
Dean Eckford, Ellerslie.
A spokesman for Auckland Transport tells me the ramps had to be removed because the bridge over the tracks had to be raised to allow room for the electrification of the rail network. The two ramps did not comply with accessibility standards and any replacement ramps would have had to be even steeper. While AT's first plan was to reinstate the ramps, having to raise the bridge across the tracks meant there was not room to put in ramps which complied with accessibility standards.
The installation of the lifts and covered stairs ensure better access for everyone to this much improved station. AT also makes the point that the stairs are gentle, not steep, and are covered. Two new shelters have been installed for weather protection, as well as CCTV, a HOP ticket machine and improved lighting to make Ellerslie a safer, more attractive station. See here for a full overview
Many years ago when I sat my driver's licence one of the road rules was that when on the open road and wanting to turn right into a side road or driveway and there was oncoming traffic, one pulled in to the left side of the road until the way was clear to turn right. No one seems to do this these days, and I often see drivers waiting in the middle of a narrow road until it is safe to turn. Has this rule changed, or just become blurred over the years? The option to wait on the left was the safest one.
Trish Heikoop, Pakuranga.
I remember learning this too, but I think it has always been a safety measure rather than a rule. The road code suggests, but does not insist, that if there are other vehicles moving fast or following too closely, or if the road is narrow, it may be best to wait on the left-hand side of the road to make a right turn, rather than stopping in the middle of the road and holding up traffic.
In this situation you should:
Signal left for at least three seconds
Move across to the left-hand side of the road
Wait there until it is safe to turn
Signal right for at least three seconds before you turn
Only move when it is safe.
If a vehicle in front of you has also stopped to turn right, it's best to wait behind them and then use the same position to turn from.
*The opening of the third northbound lane of the Victoria Park Tunnel has been delayed because of bad weather. It is now scheduled to open on March 26, depending on weather.