AA joins residents’ fight over Auckland Transport crackdown on parking over driveways

The Automobile Association is lining up with angry residents in central Auckland over a crackdown by Auckland Transport on cars parked in the entrance to driveways.

AT has been issuing $40 fines after emailing permit holders at 14 residential parking zones to tell them that parking over driveways is an offence.

The Herald has received numerous complaints about the crackdown, including one woman in Freemans Bay who has been ticketed three times for parking in the entrance to her driveway in Franklin Rd.

Mark Stockdale, the AA’s principal adviser regulations, said it is unfair to ticket people when they are trying to do the right thing by using unused space to park.

He said photographs in the Herald showed houses without garages or parking on properties, and lots of space on wide berms.

“Why is that a problem if they can’t park on the street?” he said.

Stockdale said people should park on the street if there is space and it is a “no brainer” to fine people for parking over the footpath.

But, he said, people are trying to be courteous in getting their cars off the road, particularly in narrow streets, for rubbish trucks and emergency vehicles.

An AT spokeswoman said: “It is against the law to park a vehicle that is then obstructing a vehicle entrance. The entrance is not owned by the resident – it is part of the road.”

She said the Resident Parking Zone permit – which costs $70 for one year – does not exempt the driver from parking laws, therefore no parking is allowed over the driveway.

“For parking infringement purposes, the words ‘stop’, ‘stand’, and ‘park’ all mean the same thing and the word ‘parking’ encompasses them all. A vehicle is considered to be parked even where the driver is present, and the vehicle engine is running,” the spokeswoman said.

The transport agency earlier said parking zones are there to help residents find space during the day, but parking over driveways negates the reason the zones were introduced.

AT spokesman Mark Hannan said on Tuesday the residential parking zones are not being targeted, saying 186 tickets were issued for parking over driveways in Freemans Bay, Ponsonby, Grey Lynn and Parnell in September and October.

But many residents believe AT is on a revenue grab.

Freemans Bay resident Alissa Pitt, said she had lived on Franklin Rd for three years and never had a fine, but recently copped three.

“I don’t think it’s fair at all. I feel like they are just trying to collect revenue after missing out on collecting revenue during lockdown,” said Pitt.

Another Freemans Bay resident, retired lawyer Simon Kember, said the law has merit for cars that protrude onto the footpath.

However, in most cases the driveway is long enough to accommodate a car without protruding into the footpath and, in that case, the law is nonsense, he said.

“This is totally unjustified by an organisation that needs some popularity votes,” Kember said.

Ponsonby resident William Kember said he received a ticket for parking illegally in his driveway on Islington St – and not blocking the footpath.

“It is upsetting to me that AT has gone out of their way to aggravate our neighbourhood. I understand it may be illegal but we are not causing any issues. I believe AT is proactively seeking out offenders in order to raise revenue,” he said.

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