Yellow lines lead to red faces

By Rowena Orejana

Every driver knows not to park on dotted yellow lines. But as this East Tamaki business owner found, one set of lines shouldn't have been there in the first place. Rowena Orejana reports on a breakdown in communication.
The broken yellow lines were different lengths; the spaces between them uneven. Worse, they were painted across the mouth of her driveway.
For more than a year, Leanne Banno had slugged it out with Manukau City Council, insisting the "no stopping at all times'' markings along her drive frontage were not legal.
The issue began when Ms Banno, owner of Leanne's Kitchen, moved her dumpling business to 22 Neilpark Drive in East Tamaki.
"It was very strange. We had broken yellow lines all over our driveway,'' she says.
She asked the council for clarification but came away more confused and concerned.
"My customers can't park for food, they can't park there.
"And I'm losing so much business,'' she points out.
"We were given so much wrong information, it wasn't funny.
"One day, it was like, 'Oh, it's illegal, we'll make sure that all the wardens know that no tickets are going to be issued. All tickets are invalid'.''
"Two days later, we were told that those lines were legal and therefore we had to pay for the tickets,'' she says.
All in all, parking tickets ran up to about $800.
"We fought that. We really did,'' she says.
Finally, after a thorough investigation by the council's traffic consultant, Ms Banno has been proven right.
"An additional 5m is marked beyond the extent of the recorded restriction.
"There are currently no records available to explain this anomaly,'' says a report prepared by Nadia White, of Opus International, the council's traffic adviser.
In simple terms, the yellow lines were painted in by someone who had no authority to do so.
Consultations for removing the markings have since been called.

One property owner opposed it.
That property owner, who asked not to be identified, says: "We own a business where big trucks are always going in and out. Great big trucks. They can't be manoeuvred properly if there are cars parked across the street.''
The report, however, says the road is wide enough for heavy vehicles and trucks with trailers to enter and exit the property safely, even when cars are parked on Ms Banno's property.
"At the end of the day, I'm not here to bust their business,'' says Mrs Banno.
"If they come to us and say we've got a truck coming in, we will clear it for them. Absolutely, no problem.
"I don't want our cars banged and dented.''
Botany Community Board has approved the removal of all parking restrictions on the road as well as the bus stop.
"We agreed with her that the yellow markings shouldn't run across the driveway,'' says  community board member Roy Bootle.
Although she's really keen to find out who had painted those yellow lines, Ms Banno is just thankful the council finally came through for her.
"It's all good. I'm so happy with the outcome.''

- THE AUCKLANDER

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