Below is a section about berms from the Auckland Transport website, altered ever so slightly. Can you guess which key element has been changed?

Parking on berms

Residents are not permitted to park on berms. On rare occasions permission may be given but this requires an application to Auckland Transport for a licence specific to their circumstances. Read Auckland Transport’s Encroachment Policy. Parking in the road corridor can impact:

Safety

Parking can adversely affect visibility of pedestrians, street signs and reduce sight lines at intersections and driveways. It can also encroach into footpaths and impede pedestrians particularly those who are visually impaired or wheel chair users.

Utility Services

Parking can result in damage to utility services particularly lateral connections which are at a shallower depth. The presence of parked cars also creates challenges for utility operators when maintaining existing infrastructure or installing new infrastructure.

Appearance

Parking on berms [has] the potential to cause discontent between adjoining landowners who have differing views as to what is appropriate and the look and feel of neighbourhoods can be compromised by parked cars that do not fit their environment. Most parking on berms is brought to our attention by complaints being made by adjoining landowners.

Benefit

Parking on road reserve can blur the boundary between private property and public space and create an inappropriate expectation of ownership or control in respect to this public space by the landowner. An adjoining landowner has no more right of use of the road corridor outside their property than any other party.

Maintenance

Berms and kerbs are damaged by cars being driven and parked on them, requiring on-going maintenance. There is the risk that kerbstones will have to be re-installed, and the area re-sowed in grass at Auckland Transport’s expense.


As I mentioned, I did alter it slightly. AT’s website actually says all of the above NOT about parking on berms… but about planting on berms.

They don’t really make sense as arguments against planting. Every single issue mentioned above can be easily avoided – or is usually not really valid. By gardening the berms, gardeners add much needed biodiversity and beauty in the city, in line with Council environmental policy. In fact, residents would be providing green infrastructure in the face of Council’s failure to do so: the 2021 Long Term Plan proposes just one new street tree per 6.8 km of local road per year over 10 years. This is completely inadequate on so many fronts (social, public health, climate, environmental, aesthetic…).

But as a set of reasons against parking on berms? That list above pretty much nails it.

Even the reasons AT uses to discourage paving on berms apply equally to parking on berms:

Grass allows stormwater to soak into the ground and reduces the load on the city’s stormwater system.

Exactly: concrete creates a surface that’s impermeable to rainwater; and so does grass that’s been compacted by vehicles, especially if it’s been rutted or turned into mud during the winter.

Previous councils may have planted berms with trees which are compatible with services and drainage. Concrete surfaces would compromise the health of these trees.

Likewise, parked vehicles do damage to tree roots and compromise the health of the trees.


Why are we talking about parking and planting again?

We have an epidemic: all over Auckland, people are driving and parking on grassed berms – not to mention on footpaths, across driveways, in driveway aprons, over kerbstones – heedless of the damage they’re causing, and confident they’ll get away with it.

But rather than tackling this parking problem, Auckland Transport is cracking down… on berm-gardening. Again.

A resident of Torbay who’d planted her berm with wildflowers and fruit trees has been obliged to rip it out. facing fines of $340 per day (!) if she didn’t.

In a statement, Auckland Transport said berms needed to be easily accessible corridors for utility services.

“If you want to plant in the berm you need a permit,” it said.

“While Auckland Transport does not go searching for breaches of the berm planting guidelines, when a complaint is made, we are required to act.”

The agency said landowners needed to maintain private plantings but that was at risk of not happening if the land was sold or the person lost interest.

Then Auckland Transport would have to remove the plantings and resow the grass at their own cost.

Public response has quickly homed in on the irony: a citywide free-for-all of berm-parking goes almost entirely unenforced – despite complaints – whereas one complaint about a beautiful garden gets an instant crackdown.


The ongoing saga about planting on berms

Here’s a story about forbidden berm-gardening from 2015 (which also made the BBC), and another from 2019 (which was revisited in 2020).

In 2019 Simon Wilson wrote a good piece (paywalled) which laid out the permissible planting. Officially, you can only plant your berm if in your street the berm is hard up against your property line instead of on the (usual) roadway and kerb side of the paved footpath. You also need a permit, and you need to follow these rules:

• Low level planting (less than 300 mm in height) may be done between adjacent vehicle crossings or around mail boxes and street trees providing it does not encroach onto the footpath and does not exceed a total area of 2sqm

• Plants shall have a shallow root mass so they won’t damage any underground utilities.

• Ground cover shall not include loose materials such as bark, rocks or stones which can be displaced onto the footpath or carriageway.

Contrast that with this example from Brisbane:

Brisbane City Council’s given residents the opportunity to plant out the verge, with gardens that could be edible, they could simply be gardens to improve the aesthetics of the street. Council wants residents to maintain the 1.2m footpath for people to walk along, and also maintain safe viewing lines for traffic that’s going past. So as long as you take care of those requirements in the guidelines, you should be good to go.

The wonderful advantage of allowing residents to plant in the verge is that you’re empowering people to spend time with the neighbours on the street… and hopefully build a community garden that they can all be proud of.”


We get it, AT. Planting is bad; Parking is good

This sort of thing goes regularly unenforced…

…whereas this sort of thing could get you a letter demanding it be ripped out:

Here’s someone having a bet each way – nurturing some kind of portable lawn situation in the back tray of their ute…

while tearing up the berm grass, and creating a mudbath.

To be clear, these drivers are breaking the Road User Rule in multiple ways. They are not allowed to drive on “a lawn, garden, or other cultivation adjacent to, or forming part of, a road.” Nor are they allowed to park on the footpath (which includes the berm), drive or park in a way that creates a safety hazard, be inconsiderate to other road users, or cause damage. More information is here and here.

Here’s an AT vehicle:

And Auckland Council has exacerbated the problem. They won’t even ask their own staff to ensure “Council-branded” vehicles are parked in line with the Road User Rule. They instruct people delivering to libraries, or servicing public toilets, to just park as close as they need, as if they aren’t creating a regular hazard in doing so, and as if other solutions like hand trucks suitable to the task aren’t available.

Council also knew Auckland Transport were claiming “legal difficulties” about being able to ticket illegally parked vehicles on the road corridor as far back as 2012 – yet in 2015 they ceded control of even more of the public realm to Auckland Transport to manage! As a result, all the other public places that aren’t road corridors – like squares and parks – became victim to Auckland Transport’s mismanagement.


To sum up

But back to the interesting or beautiful gardens that Auckland Transport are making residents rip out – while allowing this wholescale destruction of our public spaces and berms by drivers:

  • The lack of enforcement of the illegal parking stems from an obstinate refusal to test their (dodgy) legal opinion in order to care about the safety of our little ones.
  • The misguided guidelines about berm planting are anti-ecology and blind to how social connections are made.
  • The heavy-handed enforcement of rules about planting are disempowering and emotionally exhausting for residents trying to cope with the enormity of the climate emergency.

You’d think Auckland Transport would care about their reputation.

Is this picture related? Perhaps in more ways than one. I’m tempted to wonder if the street performances were deliberately chosen to reflect Auckland Transport’s handling of public spaces. And yes, even performers could be instructed to park legally when picking up their gear, instead of undermining the pedestrian nature of the place they’re trying to promote.

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79 comments

    1. AT claim they have a legal opinion that means they can’t enforce. However they won’t release said legal opinion.

      Even if this legal opinion has some merit. AT should start enforcing anyway. A legal opinion, is as the name suggests… just an opinion.

      Take it through the Courts if anyone challenges.

      If AT ultimately lose. We will know the legal opinion was right and we will be in the same position we are now in.

      Not enforcing means it will never change and there will be no recourse to Parliament / public debate to fix supposed deficiencies. This is how a legal system is supposed to evolve.

      1. To make it worse, I asked the Ombudsman to get them to release the opinion. This matter is clearly and strongly in the public interest; something I demonstrated comprehensively in my letter.

        I pointed out that the legal advice should be released, as there is no route for the uncertainty to be determined by a court as long as AT choose to not exercise their enforcement right

        However, the Ombudsman decided that rather than fulfill his role of ensuring AT is acting appropriately, he decided to just fall back on his role to ensure that it would get resolved, “As Accessible Streets clearly intends to clarify the issue of berm parking nationally,” he does “not consider there is a public interest in release of the AT legal advice that outweighs the need to withhold the information at issue in order to maintain legal professional privilege”

        And relying on resolution of the problem through a piece of subsequent proposed legislation does not call AT to account.

        I believe the ombudsman needed to determine whether AT should have released the legal opinion at the time of my request. The correctness of their decision at that time was not contingent on the successful passage of a piece of legislation that at the time had not been conceived. And where’s that legislation now, eight months later? That’s eight months of damage and of danger to pedestrians.

        Where do you go next after the Ombudsman protects AT’s “legal privilege” instead of helping to resolve this egregious problem that is absolutely in the public interest?

        1. That’s really interesting/sad. That could be another post Heidi in itself. Does the likes of Swarbrick, Wood and Genter understand the issue”?

    2. These berns can be easily filled with seashells or gravel sand.
      No need to concrete everything, solution is easy

  1. Also, is there not a way to create an app where people can report bad parking that can be directly ticketed using a time & GPS stamped picture from the app, rather than hope a parking warden comes by within 6 hours and the person is still there?

    In Germany you can report this kind of thing to councils with photos and attesting the correct time etc and they will just send the driver a ticket, or if it’s an obstruction the police will come and tow the vehicle

    1. The did the same in Moscow – most of illegal parking pretty much disappeared right after the app was created! And if the photo based ticket is valid, the submitter gets points which can be later exchanged on things like public transport passes

    2. We so need something like this. So many cars parking illegally in Ellerslie, especially after hours – Normally the larger kind of vehicle, though that could be confirmation bias in action 🙂

      1. Yeah this. Last Wednesday at 5:30 there were 15 cars parked in the cycle/bus lane at the Balmoral shops. 1.5h of lane operation still to go.

        Honestly, council could avoid a rate rise for a year or two if they enforced the cycle/bus lanes.

  2. Greater Tokyo city with population of nearly 40 million looks very attractive on TV. Beautiful parks, roads and trains. The streets are welcoming and very busy with pedestrians.
    I notice the many large high quality apartment buildings so that a bus or train stop will be close by and most people choose to use PT.

  3. Add to this illegal parking in cycle lanes. I’ve recently started using Nelson St + Victoria St cycle way. Most days there is at least 1 car / truck parked in the lane.

  4. Well if the downtown “Traffic Enforcement Officers” are anything to go by, no wonder there is no enforcement elsewhere in the city. Every day you see groups of 3-5 of them slowly walking around lower Queen st. Mostly talking to each other, or just standing still . Never seen them actually hand out tickets or enforce anything, despite constant parking breaches, etc.
    Surely each one could patrol their own area (I realise two maybe for security), but ticketing should be a simple matter and should actually be done. Take a photo, issue ticket or call tow truck.

    1. You might be thinking of the transport enforcement officers? They have separate roles from the parking enforcement officers – only they can issue parking related notices. They also have to take about 5 photos of a vehicle when it’s parked illegally or over its paid time. That’s the problem with a public based app like mentioned above – one photo of car parked on a footpath doesn’t necessarily mean it was stationary there.

      Agree with berm enforcement though, the photos near the Auckland Hospital are terrible, have been there on rainy days and the mud get tracked all over the footpath, and washes into the stormwater, which is also a Council offence, excess silt and sediment in the stormwater isn’t good.

      1. That’s not quite true. AT insist on taking multiple photos based on a shonky legal opinion about how much evidence is necessary. They could ticket based on a single photograph if they wanted. If a person then goes to court and claims that they can’t be ticketed because they were driving on the footpath, judges can (and most would) recommend prosecution for that traffic offence.

        1. Yep you’re right, I was just saying what they currently are instructed to do, which makes any public based app difficult to create.
          Agree on the sentiment that AT are adopting a strange and very odd risk aversion around enforcement.

        2. I also was trying to infer that a public based app would be difficult, as a person could be entering / exiting a driveway, someone snaps a photo of the car not showing the brake lights, and that photo makes it appear that the car is blocking a footpath.
          Clutching at straws I know, but it is a point.

        3. Right, I get that you are trying to get into the concern trolling mindset of AT. It’s just so frustrating. About 80% of illegal parking could probably be proven from a a single image, so AT could ‘just’ ticket 80% of illegally parked vehicles :/ It’s almost as if they want parking on the footpath to continue….

  5. So is there any legislation behind that list of reasons against planting? I mean, “blur the boundary between private property and public space and create an inappropriate expectation of ownership or control in respect to this public space by the landowner” really applies to parking so much more than to planting!

    All of them do. But if there’s no legislation supporting them… can the resident just can tell AT to Piss Off about having to remove the planting? And if there is, then doesn’t Council have yet more material for a court case against AT for not taking action to stop the parking problem?

    1. In fact that “create an inappropriate expectation of ownership or control in respect to this public space by the landowner”

      applies to residential parking permit systems, too.

    2. Planting on the berm without authorisation is actually an offence under s357 of the Local Government Act 1974. max fine of $1000 (which would never be given for planting because the section also covers much more serious stuff) but also fine of $50 a day that the offence continues. No idea where the weird $340 a day figure in the report comes from.

      Parking on the berm is a breach of clause 22 of the AT Traffic Bylaw. But that clause can only have been made under the power in s22AB(1)(zc) of the Land Transport Act 1998. Which means AT parking wardens can’t enforce it because their powers are restricted to bylaws made under s22AB(1)(m) to (o). Which leaves them with the problem that clause 6.2 of the Road User Rule can be read to say people must park on the berm if they can rather than the road. Until Government passes new Acts and Rules the AT Bylaw is stuffed and their wardens can’t do anything unless a specific sign posted parking ban is put in on each individual berm.

      1. The law doesn’t work like that. Clauses in the RUR don’t enable something that another clause specifically prohibits. And especially not when the clause is clearly a misinterpretation in the first place, and particularly a misinterpretation that is clear to anyone looking at it, as it would make the RUR internally inconsistent.

        AT are simply displaying their usual elevated concern for driving and parking amenity over the concern they should be following for fulfilling their legal obligations to safety, protection of public property and climate. It’s going to be funny when we finally get a copy of the legal opinion.

        On the planting stuff, if that’s what’s behind AT’s actions, I wonder if they advised Council and Government that s357 of the LGA needs changing to meet Council’s wishes about berms?

      2. Section 6.2 actually says this:
        “A driver or person in charge of a vehicle must not stop, stand, or park the vehicle on a roadway if he or she can stop, stand, or park it on the road margin without damaging ornamental grass plots, shrubs, or flower beds laid out or planted on the margin.”

        The berm is an ornamental grass plot and parking any vehicle on grass damages it. Therefore, 6.2 does not require parking on the berm.

        The road user rule defines road margin as follows:
        “road margin includes any uncultivated margin of a road adjacent to but not forming part of either the roadway or the footpath (if any)”

        Again, a road margin cannot include a berm, as a berm is cultivated.

        Clause 2-14 of the Rule states this:
        “A driver must not drive a motor vehicle on a lawn, garden, or other cultivation adjacent to, or forming part of, a road.”
        In order to park on the berm, a driver must drive on it, therefore, it is illegal to ever park on a berm.

        1. So Sailor Boy how does a parking warden prove that a particular vehicle caused particular damage to the ornamental grass plot – especially in dry weather where there aren’t obvious muddy tyre tracks leading up to the car that is parked there at that time. It is not enough to say it must be causing damage – they would have to be able to show there was clear damage and that it was this vehicle that caused that damage. How do they prove that the pipes and wires under a berm are being damaged by planting on the ornamental plot – in fact it doesn’t matter if those things are being damaged by the parking because 6.2 doesn’t protect those things anyway. That 6.2 clause is a problem because it is not well suited to the type of strict liability offences that infringement tickets are good at enforcing. It would be best if Government changed it. But also the important to change the stationary vehicle offence definition so that parking wardens can enforce the type bylaw that AT at least tried to put in place to deal with this issue.

        2. It doesn’t take much, Translex; the situation highlights how little AT even try. This is a typical situation of “edge case aversion”. Local residents often know full well that a particular vehicle is parked somewhere every night, or every day; all AT has to do is ticket those they can prove it with, using just a smidgeon of return visits, and driver culture will change. That is they need to TRY.

          But AT don’t even give the right communications messages.

          They could easily be pumping the message that it’s dangerous, that it’s discourteous, that’s it’s preventing modeshift and reducing children’s freedom, that it’s illegal. AT know all these things, and could do a communications plan even if they are confused about which vehicles they can ticket.

          In the process, of course, they’ve become sitting ducks themselves, because it is patently clear that the damage being done citywide is due to their own lack of enforcement.

  6. Just drove past the Hospital berm that is usually parked out (thats in Cr Coom’s Tweet used in the article and in the banner image).
    Guess what! A concrete path is being poured to prevent car parking; half win! I wonder if they read the blog and got onto it right away!?
    Note: For full points they could have planted it rather than concrete.

      1. Be nuts if it’s true, but with AT I wouldn’t be surprised. They accept they can ticket when a car’s on the paved part of the footpath – they just won’t do so willingly or proactively, usually. But when it’s the grassy part of the footpath, they won’t ticket.

        Even though they say it’s dangerous, and it’s causing damage and it’s illegal; it’s apparently that ‘legal risk’ about being challenged on a $40 fine that they’re worried about. So scary. FFS.

        1. You could have a look at the submissions from Council and AT to the Accessible Streets Package.

          Here’s Council’s: https://ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/media/a31hhci4/auckland-council-submission-waka-kotahi-nzta-accessible-streets.pdf

          Proposal Eight: Clarify what is needed for road controlling authorities to restrict parking on berms
          Council’s summary: Partially support. Auckland Council supports the intention of the proposal but suggests that a better approach would be to explicitly include the berm within the definition of the footpath in the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004.

          Basically they’re all hanging out for Accessible Streets to be passed; yet they knew it would be delayed because it hit stumbling blocks, and did nothing to resolve the situation in the interim.

          I haven’t been told how Accessible Streets ended up, either. I can only hope WK got the wording right in the end.

  7. According to their own rules AT should be tearing out all the pepper oak plane trees in the leafy suburbs.

    Since we’re not allowed to plant some new trees on the berms in the desolate suburbs.

    Once again the old money suburbs are privileged

    1. I wish they’d pull out the one on our berm, its roots have grown into our drains and cost me several thousand to get fixed a few months back. This is also after trying to get the council to come and actually prune the damn thing properly, which they also won’t do. Some dude actually turned up with secateurs once.

  8. Up until about 15 years ago there used to be a Papatoetoe Borough Council sign on on Ashlynn Avenue telling people not to ride horses on the berms. I hope whoever removed it probably Vector had enough initiative to gift the sign to the local historical society.
    The recent run of frosts have knocked back the Kikuyu however I expect it will be back in the summer and in fact it does stay green when things get dry and all else turns brown. My neighbour brought an battery mower and it can’t handle it. So she just lets the berm grow. With the help of a little roundup around the edges it doesn’t look so bad. Not that I approve of roundup I produce spray free vegetables in my plot. The council have planted a tree on my berm I have being clearing the Kikuyu around its stem. But then they mulched and round upped it buts its going alright. Also they trucked in water when it was dry. So they have being putting quite a bit of effort in. Now if there were three trees then there wouldn’t be room for parking. So maybe that’s the answer. I expect people would be moaning about security though probably the same people who put up 6 foot fences on the front of their properties.

  9. “concrete creates a surface that’s impermeable to rainwater; and so does grass that’s been compacted by vehicles”

    And so do big slabs of parked steel. Instant run-off.

  10. Reading the quoted rules around berm planting from the Simon Wilson piece, and looking at the picture in the RNZ article about the planting in Torbay; it looks like it was because she used mulch and a planted area bigger than 2sqm. So if I understand correctly, she could have just planted a row of small trees and it would have been acceptable?
    Also, if AT really aren’t out looking for this type of thing to enforce, does that mean one of the neighbours dobbed her in?

    1. Nothing she could have done would have been acceptable because she didn’t have a permit, and the location of the berm right next to the kerb appears to mean that there’s no way she could’ve got a permit.

      Yes, it appears one of the neighbours dobbed her in. To achieve the green infrastructure improvements to our streetscapes that Council should be providing, but isn’t, we need rules that explicitly allow planting, within guidelines.

      This would prevent this sort of unnecessary hurt and dampening of good effort and will.

  11. The parking issues are completely predictable. 1.6 million living in Auckland about 1200+ per square kilometre on the back of decades of growth without the complementary investment in the public transport system.

    Although the purist vision is to take away parking and build residential areas of without parking, pragmatically rather than idealistically thinking, where are the vehicles supposed to go?

    Infill housing is adding population to streets that once housed substantially less person’s than now.

    Add to that the worsening housing disaster going on, in this city especially, ignored by our government, it is very likely some families are living in crowded circumstances. Hence more vehicles wherever they can fit.

    There is just a number of real reasons why we’ve got issues.

    1. “where are the vehicles supposed to go?”
      I think the obvious answer here is that they want you to get rid of your car (it costs you money and there is no room in our city for it) and they want you to realise that what you really need instead is a bike and to use public transport.

      For those that claim it can’t be done – i saw my first Electrician with an eBike as his service vehicle the other day. Evidently, not everyone needs a van.

      1. I think most people know this, the problem is infrastructure is severely lagging behind. Most people basically can’t exit their house on a bicycle because they have to mix with car traffic. It as unthinkable as asking someone from, say, Ellerslie to walk to the city on the railway.

        There is also quite a reluctance to make leading investment in public transport, so many journeys on PT involve a connection with a low frequency bus line. Once headways gets larger than 10 to 15 minutes PT really becomes a niche product.

        For example: Takapuna is supposedly a major town centre. So what did the council do to make sure you can actually reach it from surrounding areas?

        (A) make sure buses from Devonport, Glenfield and Birkenhead run all day on a frequent schedule; or

        (B) build a big car park.

        Even if you don’t like driving, your hand gets forced by what the council does and doesn’t do.

    2. Keith
      Fair question – where do the vehicles go – but the answer is, people adjust their behaviour. They walk or ride further. This highlights another huge negative impact of too easy parking on human health. Parking is a classic case of a manageable demand. The relevant authority has to manage it.

      The Auckland CBD (55,000) has more legal parking spaces than the centres of Brisbane (35,000) or Sydney (40,000). When all your approach roads are already choked with traffic, there is no point allowing more parking spaces.

      What AT should be doing is protecting public open space including footpaths from vehicle intrusion. You see a lot of bollards in walkable cities.

      1. I agree Socrates on footpaths for pedestrians only. 1000%

        I don’t think we are all going to start walking or biking everywhere though.

        1. literally no one thinks we are all going to start walking or biking everywhere. So you’re not alone there.

  12. My local street has enough room that there is street parking along both sides, plus 2 lanes (one each way) for traffic, with a little bit of room extra for the moving cars.
    This would all be ok if the speed limit were not 50km/hr.
    Either out of preservation of their cars, or trying to be nice to others, people have taken to parking half on the sidewalk, so fast cars have more room to not hit parked cars. I refuse to drive at 50 on such streets but apparently that is an unpopular opinion. There was a dog running along the sidewalk off the leash the other day and I slowed down to 30 ish to go past, I dont want to kill someone’s pet, and the Ute behind me got on the horn. So entitled, if the limits 50 then you’re obligated to do 55 apparently, no change for conditions or street scape.

    This reluctance on AT and the governments part to change the speed limits in purely residential streets, that do not really function as through streets, to appropriate speeds is crazy, and has so many flow on effects that seem to only be getting worse. Sure, changing the limit only wont likely decrease speeds that much, but at least it sets an expectation and people actually driving appropriately are in the right. And it will help solve some of the berm & sidewalk parking issues.

    1. That’s the good thing about electric cars – they can be programmed (presumably?) to obey the road rules. I notice that effect with eScooters – the public eScooters like Beam and Flamingo automatically are speed limited in certain areas, whereas the private eScooters (currently) are not. But I can envisage that Tesla could easily impose a top speed on their cars within the Auckland city streets.

        1. That argument is more than a little old…

          Assume I was to drive along Broadway in Newmarket and there was a cyclist in the cycle advance box waiting for the lights to change…
          There’s two options now.
          1) The cyclist can “obey the law” and delay my trip and the numerous cars behind me by 15 seconds (oh, the humanity!)
          2) The cyclist, well aware of how vulnerable they are, carefully proceeds through a red light, thus angering _fewer_ motorists by their mere existence.

          In your view, there is no winning for the cyclist. A pragmatist would prefer option 2 though.

        2. Yes, some cyclists are dicks, and ride on the road with callous disregard for the road rules. This includes actions like riding at night on the road dressed in black with no lights on (just plain stupid – you’re effectively invisible), or riding through red lights where cars are stopped to let pedestrians cross (the miraculous transformation of a cyclist into a pedestrian for crossing purposes, and then back again into a cyclist on the other side of the road).

          But although they often appear to have a death wish, they’re often acutely aware of their status as the ones who will come off worse if there is an accident. Even if the car driver is not aware of them, the cyclist is usually hyper aware of where the car is.

          My rationale is that at night, even if I was decked out like a Christmas tree, I’m going to assume that NO car driver has seen me, and if there is no separate cycle path, then I’m invoking my God-given right as a human being to ride along the footpath and save my own life. If cyclists Assume that a car driver has seen them, they may be right 9 times out of 10 – but its the tenth time, where they haven’t seen you, that the accident occurs. Much safer for all if there is a separate cycle path. Next best step is the footpath.

        3. Cyclists not obeying road rules makes sense to some point. Those rules are largely designed for cars, and are necessary specifically because cars are so heavy and fast. In weight and momentum a cyclist is much closer to a pedestrian than to a car. The more correct way to state this is “we don’t have rules for cyclists.” Expecting cyclists to follow the rules for cars is a lame cop-out.

        4. In the netherlands the rule is that when there is an accident between a cyclist and a car, the car is at fault – always and no question.
          Similar as to when you hit a car from behind, you are always at fault.

          This has as a result that cars HAVE to look out for cyclists, to save themselves. I think this would be a great rule to introduce here as well. If it saves a life, it is worth the odd ones that abuse the rule.

        5. You would be good if kids and other pedestrians could be programmed to obey the road rules for cars as well.

      1. Average human, speed limiting has got nothing to do with whether you have an electric car or not – you can install a speed limiter in an internal combustion engine car just as easily. Perhaps you are getting confused with autonomous (self-driving) cars?

        1. But speed limiting cannot, as far as I am aware, be imposed on ICE vehicles, by downloading software – as it can with the Teslas and e-scooters. Actually, they do that on the F1 Grand Prix cars in the pit lanes as well – but generally, petrol vehicles are not as linked up and controllable as electric vehicles are. I’d venture that very few people owning a petrol engined car would voluntarily pay and install a speed limiter in their car to limit them to 30km on city streets. But this feature can be installed on electric vehicles at the touch of a button by downloading an update to the software each night, just like your PC or phone does now.

    2. I wonder what the Venn-diagram looks like of

      – people who moan about “nanny state”
      – people who make a nanny state necessary (like that ute driver).

    1. And this from a bit closer to the main street is particularly egregious:

      https://imgur.com/a/f6yjTSy

      You have to assume it’s the residents of the adjacent buildings, but it may be real estate agents because I think one of those might be a show home… can’t remember.

      Regardless, they’re treating the nice modern path (probably intended to be a shared path but if so I don’t remember seeing any signage) as a carpark.

        1. I’m not sure it still counts as sprawl if it’s neither further east nor further south than the previous sprawl. But “greenfield infill” sounds ridiculous.

          In any case, this area is somewhat poorly served by public transport. In principle, you catch either the 371 or the 365. Not too bad, right? The problems are:

          * at 1.8km walk away, the 365 is a bit of a hike
          * the 371 duplicates the 365 instead of running up Mill Rd to Manukau or, alternatively, Botany and back
          * the 371 is underperforming so it’s in line to get AT local’d

          But it mostly seems to be a case of people with too many cars for their property.

      1. Having recently been to this place, I can confirm that this is still exactly the same now that the houses are fully occupied. I posted about how poor the design of this street is on the recent article about Dutch suburban street design. It’s like it has been deliberately designed to incentivise berm and footpath parking.

        1. There is a street like that in Mission heights. Two way where there are 50-80 m of parked cars in the left hand lane. Each house additionally has 2-3 cars parked in the front yard of the house just like in the photo. There are hundreds of streets like this being built with no nearby access to public transport and solutions being decades away.

  13. The attitude of AT, or at least of its management, simply reflects the general attitude of many New Zealanders from the 1960s onwards: The car is sacrosanct. Don’t do anything to impede or restrict it.
    Simply close your eyes to the problems it causes.

  14. My grandfather (born 1902) used to tell me the fruit on the edge of the footpath was for people walking past. This has multi gains beautigying the street and making it easier to walk for transport

  15. The council created the main ‘sense of ownership’ problem when they mandated that people mow the berms in front of their house. Now, whether you like it or not, your neighbours consider the berm to be yours … your responsibility … yours.

  16. Wellington’s proposed new Traffic & Parking bylaw, due to be approved by the relevant committee today, says:

    29. Parking vehicles on the grass/berm
    29.1 No person may stop, stand, or park a vehicle on a berm, verge, kerb, lawn,
    garden, or other cultivation adjacent to, or forming part of a road.

    Does AT have a similar bylaw?

    1. No, they don’t. Wellington is having to pass this one because they’d made a bylaw that actually made it legal as long as you leave a metre to get past.

      Auckland was never so dumb as to do that. But at least Wellington has clarified the situation at each time – in line with the fashion, I suppose. The first one to make clear the authorities were allowing vehicles to dominate the space. The second one to make clear they weren’t.

      Whereas AT have just acted like it’s all out of their hands, as they continue to allow and encourage vehicles to dominate the public space.

      I don’t believe we need a bylaw, but since AT thinks it’s not clear, maybe they need a bylaw. However, they probably say that even with a bylaw it’s not clear.

      1. Footpath parking in Wellington has never been legal. The council adopted a policy (not bylaw) in 2005 to not enforce outside the central city if “reasonable” space was left. It is unclear why they need a bylaw now rather than just revoking previous policy and actually enforcing the parking part of the RUR.

      2. GK is correct: until now Wellington (like Auckland) has not had a bylaw about footpath parking, just a resolution that it would not enforce the relevant section of the RUR if a metre’s clearance was left. Fortunately that’s now history, and there is a bylaw specifically prohibiting all such parking (unlike in Auckland).

        But that was solely about parking on footpaths, nothing to do with berms. Since at least 2008 WCC’s bylaws have prohibited berm parking – and so in fact does AT’s Traffic Bylaw 2012:

        22 Parking vehicles off a roadway
        (1) A person must not stop, stand or park a motor vehicle in urban traffic areas on that part of the road which is laid out as a cultivated area, including a grass plot, a flower bed or shrubbery;
        (2) A person may stop, stand or park a motor vehicle in contravention of this clause if-
        (a) that part of the road is designed and constructed to accommodate a parked vehicle; or
        (b) Auckland Transport has given written permission to stop, stand or park a vehicle in that part of the road.

        but it appears that Auckland is even dumber than WCC was, in that it doesn’t enforce it at all!

        So it’s certainly not out of AT’s hands.

        1. Would’ve thought that berm parking would count as “damaging ornamental grass plots” under RUR 6.2(1) & thus be illegal anyway

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