I have always believed that parking a motor vehicle on a grass verge is illegal. Auckland Transport in response to my telephone inquiry, tells me that this is not so, and that so long as the vehicle does not cause an obstruction to pedestrians or other vehicles and that it is parked at least one metre from a driveway, parking on a grass verge is lawful. So please tell me - can I or can I not park on a grass verge? Murray Reed, Te Atatu South.
It's complicated. Auckland Transport is in the process of reviewing the rules of the various former, or heritage, councils with the aim of setting a standard bylaw for Auckland. Previously the old Manukau City Council took this parking matter to court and it was found that it was unreasonable for councils to put up "No Parking" signs for every grassed area.
There is an offence with a $40 fine for vehicles parked on a roadside grassed plot, shrubs or flower beds. This is aimed at a "cultivated area" and not the grass verge or berm.
There is another offence, inconsiderate parking, fine $60, which can be used if the area is damaged or the safety of others is compromised.
A grass verge or berm is a segment of the road reserve and Auckland Transport advises people not to park on the road reserve unless there's an emergency.
The Road Code says you must not park or stop your vehicle:
* On the right-hand side of the road (except in a one-way street), where it will be in the way of other people using the road (including pedestrians).
* Near a corner, curve, hill, traffic island or intersection, if it will stop other people from seeing along the road.
* On the road, if you can park the vehicle off the road without damaging grass or gardens (a controlling authority may have a bylaw and/or signs prohibiting parking on a grass verge). The simple answer is that you do risk a fine or having your vehicle removed if you park on the grass verge, if you contravene one of the above.
There is a pleasant surprise on the journey by rail from Papakura to Britomart - two magnificent mural paintings. The first lies just south of Puhinui station and is of the old Papatoetoe station and the second, on the other side of the line just south of Papatoetoe station, is of old villas. The paintings are so realistic that one has to do a double take to see that they are not real but the train passes too quickly to notice who the artists are. Just who painted these murals? They are gems in a sea of graffiti. Gordon Cooper, Wattle Downs.
The murals are the work of Sharon and Louis Statham. The 500 square metre villa artwork took the couple two months to complete. They worked from old photos taken around Papatoetoe and then modified the images, so that the villa residents would not be offended. The mural of the Papatoetoe station also took weeks to complete The artworks, which were revealed early last year, were funded by the Manukau Beautification Trust and the Ministry of Justice.