I’ve been getting thoroughly fed up of inconsiderate drivers parking cars on footpaths and readers may remember a post I wrote about this less than a month ago. In the last few days the issue has become front page news at the herald who are encouraging outrage that some people were ticketed for the practice. I wish the media would show the same outrage when a person in a wheelchair or pushing a pram can’t get past a car parked on a kerb
The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is backing furious residents of the two Orakei streets after the Weekend Herald revealed that Auckland Council parking wardens fined 27 residents in the early morning sting on cars with two wheels on the kerb.
Residents on Orakei’s Apihai and Tautari streets woke on Thursday to find $40 fines on their windscreens.
“The trouble with Auckland Council is its choice to apply blanket rules rather than common sense,” said Carmel Claridge, a spokesperson for the Ratepayers’ Alliance.
“Here a community have done the right thing by parking on the kerb to allow unimpeded access and reduce the hazard. Rather than let them be, the Council swans in with its ‘we know best’ attitude.”
Claridge said her son lives on the affected Tautari Street and believed if residents followed the rules the space left would make it impossible for emergency service vehicles to pass.
Auckland Transport is sticking by the decision, saying the road is not considered narrow and road markings are not needed to prescribe correct parking.
And you can listen to Carmel on Radio live talking about it here.
I can imagine in other situations where a ratepayers group would be furious if council/AT employed people who then didn’t do their job, a ‘what are we paying them for’ type argument. There can also be an issue – particularly in older suburbs – that vehicles can damage infrastructure just below the service, in particular water pipes. When that happens that can result in significant costs to ratepayers to fix.
Interestingly even on Google Streetview you can see the practice is pretty common.
Although a quick check of streetview shows it’s not just cars blocking footpaths. For example there’s this on Apihai St showing little regard for those using the footpath
The article contains a number of other comments blended in with what appears to be a healthy dose of entitlement.
“The people who live on this street, no one complains about it because everyone has to do it and has done it for years.”
One resident who received a ticket, Lyzadie Renault, said it was safer and more courteous to park half on the footpath.
Her home has no driveway and the family’s Range Rover does not fit inside their old, small garage that sits at street level.
“It’s common sense, it just means that people can get through easily and the whole street does it for that exact reason – nobody is trying to break the rules or is fully blocking the sidewalk, it’s being considerate for people using the road.
“When two cars are parked fully on the road, even if you have a normal-sized car, you have to go really slow, let alone for emergency vehicles or all the construction trucks and vans in this neighbourhood, plus rubbish trucks on Thursdays.”
So we’ve got ‘we’ve always parked illegally so why should we stop now’, ‘I brought a vehicle too big for my garage so should be able to park illegally’ and ‘if people didn’t do this I might have to slow down a little’.
And as you might expect, certain people/groups are jumping in to support the parkers.
Cameron Brewer thinks residents should be able to do what they want because they live in expensive houses.
Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer condemned the blitz as ridiculous. “These people pay huge rates and mean no malice but are being picked on because they’re most likely to stump up the cash to help fill Auckland Transport’s coffers.
“It’s completely unfair and uncalled for. These tickets should be waived forthwith.”
Local board chair Desley Simpson is oddly blaming intensification on something the residents say they’ve done for years
Orakei Local Board chairwoman Desley Simpson said Auckland Transport needed to address the growing issues associated with narrow streets.
“Intensification and narrow streets are causing problems in our older inner-city suburbs,” she said. “Sadly, AT haven’t stepped up to look at options to address this.”
And the AA says people should be able to break rules.
But AA’s senior policy analyst, Mark Stockdale, backs the residents and said the agency should be looking for solutions.
“The public have been ticketed out of the blue for trying to do the right thing by leaving the road clear and not blocking the footpath,” he said.
“It’s the stick instead of the carrot. Yes, the rules are the rules but sometimes the rules don’t make sense – just fining people is not a solution.”
If fining people isn’t the solution and the residents continue to claim that the road is too narrow then it seems there is a quick, cheap and simple solution for Auckland Transport. They should get out the yellow paint and put some dashed lines down at least one side of the road. That’ll solve the problem but somehow I don’t think the residents like the outcome.