The berms in McDonald St, Morningside, carry the no-parking signs, but some drivers ignore them anyway… and the damage is obvious.
Parking on berms is becoming a major problem as Auckland grows and car spaces are squeezed, but it will become an expensive choice when teeth are added to shaky laws.
Drivers are taking advantage of a legal loop-hole, creating their own off-street parking (or taking the two-wheels-on, two-wheels-off approach to give passing traffic more room on narrow streets).
The result: damage to grass, trees, drains and buried infrastructure on verges in Mt Albert and across the city.
Strictly speaking, parking on berms is prohibited by Auckland Council. But state regulations are the over-riding authority and they require specific signs warning motorists.
Auckland Transport can’t erect (and then police) signs in every street with grass verges and will only do so when told there’s a particular problem. At the moment, the agency has 700 locations on its “to do” list and, potentially, the problem exists in hundreds of roads in the wider city.
AT’s mission, with the support of the Albert Eden Local Board, is a change in the regulations to allow a blanket ban on berm-parking without the need for a sign.
The local board, which deals with dozens of complaints from residential property owners concerned at the damage to the berms, asks AT to place signs in problems streets.
But that only covers the worst local examples and now it’s joining the council agency in an approach to the Transport Ministry to request a change in the regulations to allow a general ban without the need for signs.
The issue was first identified by AT’s legal team in September 2015 and has been followed up regularly since then with the ministry, reaching the office of Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter in April.
Local board chair Peter Haynes has now written to the ministry supporting the council steps and hopes regulatory changes can be dealt with soon.
He calls the present need for signs “costly and aesthetically undesirable” and says more local people are parking on berms as the lack of enforcement becomes wider known.
“Parking on berms not only churns up the berms and damages trees resulting in an unsightly mess, but causes damages to essential services, all of which is costly to repair, and is unsafe,” he says.
Ward councillor Cathy Casey took up the issue with Auckland Transport earlier in the year and received this response from executive John Strawbridge: “… Parking on the berm is a large problem in Auckland. AT acknowledges [it] may pose safety issues and potentially causes damage to trees and the grass. This activity impacts the ratepayer in terms of cost to repair and maintain.
“When we are made aware of an area where parking on the berm is causing a large problem, the street/area highlighted is added to AT’s list of locations to be considered for installation of ‘no parking’ signs.
“However, due to the large number of signage requests AT has received and the resources available, these cannot all be installed instantly. If signs are installed, the area will be monitored by parking officers and infringement notices will be issued to any cars parked on the berm.”
AT and the local board hope their overtures will, after three years of zero progress, finally see the issue pushed to the top of the ministry’s priority list.