Driveways can be complicated. Just ask the Dunedin man who was fined over $1,000 for parking across his own driveway.

Marc Ellis had driveway issues on Waiheke Island, and, as previously explored, problems can also arise when driveways are shared between two or more houses.

My own particular bugbear in relation to driveways is that some people (tradesmen and home service delivery providers, in particular) have a penchant for parking in them. But if driveways were intended for parking in, surely they would be renamed "parking bays".

The clue is, in fact, in the name; they are called driveways because they are intended for driving on. They are a thoroughfare. They are an access way. Most often, they provide vehicular access from the road to the garage. Who would have thought?

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We used to live in a place that had a longish driveway that ran from the road to the garage. Having vans and utility vehicles clogging up an otherwise perfectly functional driveway became one of my pet hates. For a while my three main hobbies were reading fiction, supermarket shopping and devising ways to keep the driveway clear.

There seldom seemed to be a compelling reason for these people wanting to park on the property. It wasn't a dangerous neighbourhood. The street itself was wide and quiet, with roadside parking for dozens and dozens of vehicles. And sometimes the offending van would park so far up the driveway that a park on the road would have given easier access to the part of the property being worked on.

I was so hot on this topic that at one point I would require any prospective service provider to confirm prior to visiting that vehicular access would not be required. Yet as soon as these people turned up and saw the driveway - flat, long, empty, achingly beautiful - they would covet it and start figuring out how to make it their own. Their previous assurances meant nothing in the face of such temptation.

I know that not everyone is as perturbed by this as I am, so, just to clarify, here are the five main reasons that fuelled my campaign against rogue driveway parking.

1. It's inconvenient

A driveway being blocked can virtually bring a busy household to a stop. Residents can't get their vehicles in or out of the garage. Nearly twenty years ago, when my first lot of renovations were underway, my tradesmen took full advantage of my naivety in this regard.

It was like a little piece of suburban performance art took place in my driveway each morning. First, the two builders would arrive and park their individual vehicles in the driveway. Then the electrician would arrive and park behind them. Then the plumber (and usually the painter) would do the same thing.

Inevitably, once those four or five vehicles were all parked up, I would need to leave and get my car out of the garage. So I would let the tradesmen know that my departure was imminent. They would all down tools, get in their respective vehicles and reverse out onto the street. I would then exit the garage and reverse out myself.

Then, guess what would happen? Would they decide to stay out on the street now they were there? Of course they wouldn't. They all immediately piled single file back up the driveway so they could repeat the process every time one of them needed to exit.

2. It poses security risks

When a vehicle is parked in a driveway it presents something of a security risk. It's all too easy for someone to take stuff out of your house and load it into his (or her) vehicle.

Whereas if the van or car was parked in the street the driver would have to think twice before unlawfully carrying away your possessions in full view of nosy neighbours. In 2002 my husband's golf clubs went missing from our garage on a day our house was unoccupied and a particular service provider had been granted vehicular access to our driveway. You do the math.

3. It's potentially dangerous

It's well documented that driveways can be dangerous places for little children. For that reason alone, I reckon anyone with an ounce of foresight and caution would resolutely keep their vehicles off private properties. Without knowing what children live on the premises and how closely they are supervised, any motorist would be well advised to stay out.

4. It can cause damage

Tradesmen are not always accurate drivers and their vehicles are not always well maintained. In no particular order, trade vehicles in the driveway have dripped oil, scraped the retaining wall, broken branches of overhead trees and threatened to lift the gates off their hinges and to knock the fence over.

5. It's rude

I considered it presumptuous and arrogant to blithely block residents' access to their garage. I didn't like the fact that my mobility was being restricted by the thoughtlessness of someone whose ostensible purpose was to help us. Parking in the driveway is not helping. It is hindering.

- nzherald.co.nz

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