Residents' fury at 2am parking ticket blitz

RESIDENTS of two narrow Auckland streets are furious that council parking wardens fined 27 of them in a 2am blitz on cars with two wheels on the kerb.

They say if they had parked correctly access would be obscured for emergency services vehicles, rubbish trucks and other large vehicles and likely result in damage to cars.

Residents on Orakei's Apihai and Tautari streets woke on Thursday morning to find $40 fines on their windscreens.

Auckland Transport is sticking by the decision to issue the 27 tickets, saying the road is not considered narrow and road markings are not needed to prescribe correct parking.

On a section of Tautari St measured by the Herald, where two cars were parked correctly on the road there was just over 2m of space between them for vehicles to drive through. The footpaths on each side were slightly wider than 3m.

Tautari St resident Paige Moran said the fines were ridiculous.

"We are all quite angry about it, it's ridiculous," she said. "It's a narrow street to start with and the footpaths are extremely wide, so it forces cars to park half on the footpath.

"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."

Mrs Renault said she had lived on the street for five years and it was the first time the issue had been raised.

AT spokesman Mark Hannan said the tickets were issued when a parking officer was called to a complaint regarding vehicles parked on the footpaths.

"In total we issued 27 infringements for parking on the footpath and one for incorrect kerb parking [facing the wrong direction]," he said.

By being parked in such a way, motorists were breaking the Land Transport Road User Rules. He said the road was not considered narrow and the agency saw no need for road markings to remedy the issue.

"There is no requirement to mark the road or put up signage to indicate vehicles should not stop on footpaths."

A Fire Service spokesman said as residents were parked on the kerb, staff had not experienced issues of blocked streets in Orakei.

"If they were forced to start parking on the road, like it sounds like they will be now, it's only now that we might start seeing this."

A St John spokeswoman said the residents' concerns were justified, but there were no recorded incidents of paramedics not being able to access a patient due to a narrow road.

"St John's preference is for streets to be wide enough for comfortable ambulance access in order to get to patients as quickly and safely as possible."

Police spokesman Grant Ogilvie said it was important narrow streets were kept clear for emergency services to use.

The Automobile Association has in the past criticised AT's parking blitz, which has pulled in more than $52 million from fines between the agency being set up in 2010 and January this year.



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