Auckland Transport has acknowledged it relies on the average motorist's ignorance of berm parking laws to discourage the practice - with it illegal on only 33 streets across the city.

In August 2018, AT advocated for a bylaw change to the Land Transport Rule 2004, because it does "not issue infringement notices for parking on the grass verge unless signage has been installed".

Auckland Councillor Desley Simpson is pushing to make it a reality in 2019, requesting a status update from the NZ Transport Agency over the AT by-law change submission last year.

With about 9000 streets in Auckland, equating to 7500km of roadway, signs banning "off roadway" parking appears on only 0.36 per cent of roads.

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Installing signs costs $50,000 per street "not including the cost of passing the prohibitions", hence the administrative costs for selecting and banning a given street.

But between August 2016 and August 2018, AT received 840 safety complaints from the public about berm parking.

"Drivers in Auckland are becoming aware that AT do not issue infringement notices for
parking on the grass verge unless signage has been installed," the 2018 AT submission said.

"As more drivers become aware, the problems increase in areas without signage and AT is unable to take action."

The report adds that: "Parking on the grass verge is causing substantial safety risks in Auckland."

As it stands, AT will go through the three to four month process to erect signs on a street only after prioritising any grass berm complaints.

The criteria for a street having signs implemented includes risk of damage to "critical" utility services" such as power, water and fibre cables located underground, close to the surface of the grass berm.

Street visibility in high-risk areas near schools or parks is also a consideration for the signs.

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Sarawia St, Newmarket, is one of only 33 streets to have berm parking banned in Auckland.
Sarawia St, Newmarket, is one of only 33 streets to have berm parking banned in Auckland.

An AT spokesperson said it was "essentially" correct that AT has no power to ticket, tow or request to move any vehicle parked on a berm that does not have a street sign up prohibiting it.

"Generally, we do not receive a large number of complaints about parking on berms, suggesting it is not a significant problem in many parts of the region," the AT spokesperson said.

"Legislative change is required for us to enforce without signage. While we advocate for these changes to legislation, we are recording each customer enquiry.

"Often these problems can be resolved by speaking to neighbours, or when someone moves.

"Installing berm signage across every street in the region would be a significant investment, would require significant ongoing maintenance, and could create signage clutter which we are trying to reduce."

The Landing, Takapuna, has widespread
The Landing, Takapuna, has widespread "off roadway" signage due to its proximity to Akoranga park n ride.

Meadowbank resident Murray Hutchinson was frustrated to be told by AT that it did not have the power to tell tradies who repeatedly parked on the street berm outside his Temple St home to move.

Hutchinson said a neighbour of his was renovating his home for the duration of 2018, and contractors were parking on the berm and leaving the turf "munted".

"One of the bigger operators parked a big ute on the grass verge, and I thought I'll just ring council and ask them to send an AT guy down to ask them to park on the road," Hutchinson said.

"Council sent me a reference number for the complaint, but nothing happened. I went back to them, and said the guys haven't moved their trucks etc. and there's still space on the road - ping them.

"The guy rang me and said AT aren't enforcing the rule because there's no sign saying no parking. Their personnel will not even request the vehicles be moved.

Murray Hutchinson tried to get tradies parking on the berm moved, to no avail. Photo / Leon Menzies
Murray Hutchinson tried to get tradies parking on the berm moved, to no avail. Photo / Leon Menzies

"I thought that was a weird situation."

Ministry of Transport mobility and safety manager Brent Johnston said a number of councils have raised transport bylaw issues with them, including changes to Section 6.2 of the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004.

Section 6.2 dictates the rules around councils being able to fine motorists parked on a berm.

Auckland Councillor Desley Simpson said she had already asked AT for a progress update and would follow up with NZTA also.

"I'd rather be the city of sails than the city of signs. We need to work with NZTA and amend the legislation accordingly," Simpson said.

Under a new bylaw in 2017, the Christchurch City Council declared it an offence punishable by a fine to park on a grass or paved berm where there is a kerb.

LIST OF AUCKLAND STREETS YOU CAN BE FINED PARKING ON BERMS:

Litten Rd/Paparoa Rd, Cockle Bay
Beaumont St, Auckland Central
Hamer St/ Brigham St, Auckland Central
Corner of Sale St and Cook St, Auckland Central
Union St, Sam Wrigley St, Auckland Central
East St & Young Cres, Drury
257 Main Highway, Ellerslie
2 Hudson St, Ellerslie
15 Margot St, Epsom
279 Botany Rd, Golflands
Auckland Domain, Grafton
33 Scanlan St, Grey Lynn
Ara-Tai Rd, Half Moon Bay
5 Paramount Drive, Henderson
261 Lincoln Rd, Henderson
1 Ethel St, Mcdonald St, Altham Ave, Kingsland
Barrowcliffe Pl, Manukau
32 Altham Ave, Mount Eden
397 Ellerslie-Panmure Highway, Mount Wellington
103 Panama Rd, Mount Wellington
96 Ireland Rd, Mt Wellington
3 Rankin Ave, New Lynn
9 Sarawia St, Newmarket
71 Maurice Rd, Penrose
237 Sunset Rd, Sunnynook
247 and 249 Sunset Rd, Sunnynook
1 The Terrace, Takapuna
15 Brett Ave, Takapuna
The Landing, Takapuna
2 Waipani Rd/ Gwendoline Ave, Te Atatu Peninsula
3 Katote Close, South near Botanic Gardens, The Gardens
Clive Rd (outside Scout Hall), Mt Eden
Te Atatu Rd (outside Harbourview Reserve), Te Atatu Peninsula