Auckland drivers could be fined for parking on berms - even on streets with no warning signs

Auckland Council wants to fine drivers for parking on berms, even in areas without any warning signs. 

It's technically illegal to park on grass berms within the city's urban traffic area, but this ban can only be enforced on streets with 'no parking' signs installed every 100m.

Just 36 of Auckland's streets are signposted.

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) is seeking an amendment to the existing legislation, which has the support of Auckland Transport (AT). The proposed amendment will be put to a vote at LGNZ's annual conference in Wellington this weekend. 

In 2015 and 2016, AT repeatedly tried to address the issue of berm parking with the Ministry of Transport. In November 2016 the Ministry told AT they were co-ordinating potential regulatory proposals, but have issued no further updates on the subject. 

AT says vehicles damage berms as well as the utilities under them.

"On a [rainy] day like today a vehicle could easily wreck a berm," spokesperson Mark Hannan told Newshub. 

"Installing signage at all these sites is not only costly but also time consuming. We don’t want to add to visual clutter and place signs every 100 metres down the road."

He says 'no parking' signs are often vandalised, contributing to said "visual clutter" and maintenance costs.   

LGNZ wouldn't comment on the issue ahead of this weekend's vote. In the remit of its annual general meeting, LGNZ noted that the 100m signage rule also applies to beaches.

"Clearly, installing the required signage on all road margins and beaches is both aesthetically undesirable as well as prohibitively expensive," it said. 

The New Zealand Automobile Association (NZAA) says it's not fair for the Council to punish motorists for berm-parking in areas with no signage, as they may not be aware of the law.

"Such a general prohibition would need to be heavily advertised over a long period of time, and even then it is doubtful all vehicle users would be made aware (consider for example visitors from outside the region)," it said in a submission made in August 2018, when the idea of the amendment was first raised. 

"In the NZAA's view, it is more effective to signpost the prohibition where parking on grass verges is creating a particular problem, such as damaging underground services or restricting visibility."

The NZAA says the law change ignores areas in which berm parking is preferable or necessary, such as narrow suburban streets or outside school grounds. 

"In most cases, we believe parking off a roadway is permissible, acceptable and safe, and so only on the occasions that it is not, RCAs should set bylaws, and provide appropriate warning signs."


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