Illegal Parking Part 1

On January 25, 2013 by Eye on Auckland

nemo-of-cars-434838

Auckland’s future

PART 1 of a 3 PART series:

I walk around the city on a daily basis and I have subsequently noticed that illegal parking is out of control. If nothing is done to curb the problem soon we are heading for disaster. I have lived in a Country where you let this slide and then you let that slide, before you know it matters are out of control and there is no way of getting things back to the way they were. I partially blame Shared Spaces (more on this mess in a future post) for the chaos that is ensuing on our inner-city streets. The rules for Shared Spaces stipulate that no parking or loading is allowed before or after the following hours, 6am-11am (Monday to Sunday, including public holidays). Unfortunately the complete opposite is taking place. Auckland Transport and The Auckland Council are turning a blind eye and allowing vehicle users to park in shared spaces at all times of the day.

This brings me to the point that I am trying to make – if rules are there to be broken without any form of repercussions then why should anybody care where they park ? Free parking for all, where ever and when ever you like. It appears that the entire city is one big Shared Space. To hell with pedestrians, to hell with the handicapped, to hell with the visually impaired, to hell with parents who have strollers and to hell with the children who use  the sidewalks. This is the sort of attitude that is becoming increasingly prevalent in our city. On the other hand, the Auckland Council is promising us a people-friendly city where people come first and foremost, they sell us a dream i.e. the World’s most liveable city.  Yes it is possible – for automobiles and not people.

The next set of photographs will leave you dumbstruck. Where is Auckland Transport ? Who is responsible for this mess ? as ratepayers and proud citizens of this wonderful city we deserve some answers and immediate action. Meet the ignorant, lazy and selfish drivers that reside in our fair city:

1.

Wai-atarau Plaza [formerly known as The Rob Roy Plaza] – located between Franklin Road, Victoria Street West and Union Street:

Wai-atarua Plaza

Recently refurbished and part of The Victoria Park Tunnel Project, Wai-atarau Plaza (thanks to ArchitectureNow and Patrick Reynolds for the photographs) is a pleasant and modern space for people to use but some people have other ideas and would much rather use the plaza as a car park. Quite frankly they couldn’t care less. Parking on the plaza gives you front door access to The Victoria Park Markets, it is free and extremely convenient. I took it upon myself to contact Auckland Transport and I provided them with details of  illegal parking on the Plaza. I was told that a warden will be there soon. I waited for an hour and ten minutes and nobody showed. During that time cars had gone, more arrived and then they were gone – so it continued. The offenders got away with it and will continue to do so.

What is even more ridiculous is the fact that these cars would drive on and off the plaza between the traffic lights where people stand to cross the road and at the pedestrian crossings. Is this some Mickey Mouse society we live in ? Let’s not forget that small children are taught that they are safe on the pavement. They are also taught that they can run around and play on public plazas. In lieu of this fact I contacted Auckland Transport on the 12th of October 2012 and I made the suggestion that they install bollards where there is easy access onto the plaza. I received the following response from Auckland Transport:

“To prevent access to the plaza would require a large number of bollards and access would still need to be maintained for service vehicles.  This is not currently considered justified, however we will monitor the situation, and may make changes at a later stage”.

Will Auckland Transport take responsibility for the death of a toddler because they didn’t take the necessary precautions to prevent people from driving and parking on a public plaza. Will it only be justifiable when it is too late ? The installation of 3, maybe 4, bollards is all it will take and I am willing to show them where to place them. Access is easy if you have a key to remove the bollards, which most service vehicles should have. There are simply no excuses when lives are put at risk and quite frankly we don’t want our plazas to be used as free-for-all car parks. These are just some of the images that I have captured over the last couple of days:

Wai-atarua Plaza. Free parking for all.

Wai-atarua Plaza

Pedestrian crossings provide easy access for a drive thru

It only takes one and the rest will follow.

Free Parking Here !

Great ad for Woodstock !

2.

Victoria Park Markets – Union Street:

The recently refurbished Victoria Park Markets

The recently refurbished Victoria Park Markets

Directly across the road from Wai-atarua Plaza is The Victoria Park Markets. Nobody can forget how awful The Victoria Park Markets were but that was then and this is now. I for one love the new look and it is shaping up to be a market full of promise. The only issue is the public access on Union Street. Here cars block pedestrian access without a care in the World. I don’t know if the blame for this bad design lies with the developers of The Victoria Park Markets or with the Auckland Council but it needs to be fixed.

The bollards are in the wrong position and should be placed closer to the edge of the pavement so that cars can’t park there and consequently obstruct pedestrian access. People in wheelchairs or parents with strollers have to use the street and let’s not even begin to imagine how the visually impaired will have to cope. Come on people, use a couple of brain cells when you plan these things and do it right from the start – think about people first and foremost, not vehicles.

Self-centred and lazy.

People are of no concern to these drivers.

3. 

Victoria Skatepark – Beaumont Street:

Yet another great addition to the area, just a shame that we have a few who would like to spoil it for everybody else. This is an area frequented by children of all ages. As I have stated before, we teach our children that it is safe on the sidewalks and grass verges but that is unfortunately not entirely true in Auckland. All it will take is for some small child to sit on the grass verge behind a parked car and/or for some child to be skating along the pavement to be knocked over by an over-zealous buffoon.

Now before anybody tells me that there isn’t enough parking, think again. I have seen lots of parking spaces available in the surrounding area. There is no excuse for this sort of behaviour. It is against the law to park on grass verges and where there are yellow markings on the road.

If it’s a problem to find parking there are other solutions. Use public transport, walk, ride your bike, skate or scoot. If I had been involved with the planning of this area I would have made provisions for bollards along the entire skatepark periphery – we are dealing with “challenged” teenagers here who couldn’t care less about the safety of others. I have also reported the issue of illegal parking at Victoria Skatepark to Auckland Transport on numerous occasions and one would think that they would patrol the area on a regular and daily basis but to no avail.

In the photograph below it is quite clear to see that there are tyre tracks on the pavement, proof enough that cars are driving here:

Lagos ?

Third World antics.

I am surprised that they didn’t park on the pedestrian crossing.

Oblivious to any rules.

Yellow dashes on the road means park here – did registration ABT484 buy their licence ?

Lazy as !

Classic bogan move

If the wall wasn’t there this car would be parked on the skatepark

Monkey see, Monkey do.

The solution to the problem is simple. Place the same bollards as the ones that already exist here along the periphery of the skatepark but along the edge of the road. Children’s lives could be saved and parents can rest with peace of mind :

An easy fix

PART 2 features Wynyard Quarter, The Viaduct and Quay Street. It will blow your mind when you see how badly planned things are in Auckland. The Auckland Council is going to have to put their money where their mouth is and I can assure you that this issue is not going to go away until there are efforts made to fix the problems. A link has been emailed to Randhir Karma (Traffic Operations Manager ), Mike Lee, Shale Chambers, Christopher Dempsey, Christine Fletcher, Victoria Park Market, Nazla Carmine, Ludo Campbell-Reid and Len Brown. If there is anybody that can find a solution to this problem, the afore-mentioned people can.

34 Responses to “Illegal Parking Part 1”

  • Linz

    Awesome post – this is a real irritation and a particular hobbyhorse of mine. When I come accros these dickheads in my street I always bend their mirrors and wipers back to make the point that they have been noticed, and I always call the council – 09 301 0101 – and ask for them to be towed.

    • Geoff

      LOL Good on ya.

    • bob

      “…I always bend their mirrors and wipers back…”

      have you got nothing better to do than being a busy body? they probably dont even know why this is happened and just thinks it is somone messing with their cars. why dont you do something more constructive and leave them a little note, at least that way they might not do it again and you wouldnt need to vandalise things.

      If i caught you messing with my car i would phone the police.

      • hotpixel

        No one would need to mess with your car unless you were parking illegally in the first. Should you call the police be sure to report your illegal parking first ;)

    • The Eye

      I can completely understand your frustration. The kind of disrespect shown by these selfish drivers don’t warrant a bouquet of roses ;) I have given up on phoning Auckland Transport, it is a waste of my money and they don’t bother. An image is worth a thousand words and I will keep on showing the inefficiencies of our local bodies.

  • Margaret

    I have been meaning to leave a comment for a while now to welcome you back, I love this blog and I am so glad that somebody out there cares about our city and is willing to keep our Councillors on their toes. My blood is boiling !!!!!! What does Auckland Transport think it is there for ? As a mother myself I am very surprised that they haven’t complained to the Council about this issue. Are people too busy to care ? I am with you on this one and demand immediate solutions.

    • The Eye

      The Granny Herald made some noise and Auckland Transport listened by becoming more lenient. The New Zealand Herald should get out there and walk the streets. They should also think of people’s safety before they become the voice of the very transgressors that are portrayed in this article. Thanks, it’s great being able to get back and help in a constructive manner.

  • AbelTasman

    Wow, this could be in Lagos, Karachi or Baghdad. I am shocked and I can’t imagine things to be worse in Part 2. Auckland Council and Auckland Transport have a lot of explaining to do. I can already imagine the excuses, let’s hear them AT.

    P.S. Happy to have you back.

  • BusFan

    This is why people should use the bus. Seriously though, I know exactly what you mean by blaming shared spaces. Since they created these free-for-all spaces illegal parking has become a huge problem. I see parking officers in Elliott Street but they are having a lovely chat and laugh with the perpetrators but don’t fine them. Zero tolerance is required. I for one would also like to see some action.

    • The Eye

      I have also witnessed the parking wardens having a little tea party and let them off. Shared spaces have been around long enough for people to know how they work. There are also signs up that are very clear to read. There are loads of excuses but none of them hold any water.

  • Tui

    Yes, welcome back. This is so embarrassing for Aucklander’s and the Auckland Council alike. Who do these people think they are, the blatant disregard towards people and the law is staggering. I am amazed.

  • Geoff

    Awesome work mate. About time something gets done.

  • Kettlewatch

    Unacceptable behaviour Auckland Transport. The solutions are out there, find them and fix it.

  • Alan

    To be completely honest I am not surprised. Auckland Council always sell us these amazing renders of car free spaces and promise us a more pedestrian friendly city but they don’t have the balls to actually live up to their promises. Have you been to Wynyard Quarter on a Friday or Saturday evening ? It is no better.

  • Gordon

    Finally, somebody willing to stand up to these morons. I have to agree with Alan, there is a lot of hot air but no Auckland Council have yet to deliver on their promises. Auckland Transport had best pull up their socks. I am outraged !

  • hotpixel

    Auckland drivers can no longer be given the ‘benefit of the doubt’ and be trusedt that all will be well. As usual it is the minority that spoil it for the majority, but it is this selfish, immature minority that force the need for obvious and prohibitive measures to be put in place to prevent them from parking illegally. In their world any ramp and space that they can physically manoeuvre their vehicle into is considered a parking bay, regardless of what any common sense would tell them. Signs are ignored, and no regard is given to people they are sharing the space with – in this case pedestrians.

    What car drivers need to realise is that at arriving at their destination EVERY driver once again becomes a pedestrian. These spaces have been created for the people of Auckland to enjoy – and unfortunately the only way to prevent this from happening is to physically form a barrier with bollards (that can be removed when needed).

    Auckland Transport policing is shoddy and patronising at best with regards to these infringements. Call their number to report illegal parking and they say they will send someone out. No one ever arrives. I have phoned in myself on numerous occasions to be told I am not the first to complain – and yet still nothing has been done.

    This is the thin edge of the wedge. Let this behaviour slide and you not only find yourself in an irreversible chaotic situation, but some other rot will already have set in somewhere else. Enough is enough.

    If Auckland council wants to make Auckland the most liveable city and spend millions of ratepayers dollars designing and building these spaces they need to commit to them. If they don’t wish to really give them to the people and take a soft stand on this kind of behaviour, then they should rather be honest with us and not give the space to the public in the first place – just return it all to parking and then at least we know as pedestrians where we stand (no pun intended) – and there will be no longer any confusion. It really is a half hearted attempt to give the citizens of Auckland something great, and then not to bother enforcing it or ensuring it does what it says on the tin.

    • AndrewF

      Well said mate, I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

      Welcome back, how about running for Council ?

    • Carlos

      I completely agree. People are getting away with blue murder, promises are being broken and somebody has to take responsibility for this and fix it. I have been reading the comment at the transport blog and there are many who are in denial and can’t see the consequences of illegal actions. Good work, I hope that you make a difference.

      • The Eye

        Yeah, I had a good laugh. So many of the comments there are valid but there are also a lot of people with their heads in the sand. I would like to see how bravado they will be when somebody is injured or killed on the pavements or Plazas.

    • The Eye

      Well said, I couldn’t agree more. If you are going to change the psyche of this city and become a pedestrian friendly city then you take the bull by the horns and you make it happen. No pussy footing around a leopard that doesn’t change it’s spots. Sure there are going to be a lot of complaints from vehicle users but they will soon enough get over it and find alternative arrangements. That is what human beings do. We adapt and we survive.

  • Suffrage

    I feel quite cowardly that I didn’t have the nerve to voice my concern about this issue and I am glad that somebody has. You mention the shred spaces and this is one of the biggest annoyances that I have. I walk through Elliott Street on a daily basis and there is always cars parked there after 11am. Some days it is so bad that you can’t even walk on the side of the street because delivery vehicles are parking there. I agree with hot pixel, if you can’t make shared spaces work rather stick to the old format. At least then we know that cars stay there and pedestrians stay here. I would also like to say to The Auckland Council that they need to grow a pair and stop dancing around vehicles. Fully pedestrianise streets and plazas, make sure that they are idiot proof. If you are too weak to enforce it then step down so that somebody else can. That feels so good to finally get it out. Thanks and I look forward to part 2.

    • The Eye

      I have photographs of the very same thing that you are talking about. The shared spaces can be amazing when it works but as they operate now I hate them with a passion and would hate to see more rolled out across the city. If they can’t control the few that we have how are they going to control matters with more shared spaces to patrol ?

  • Osmand

    Any response from the people that “can find a solution to this problem” ?

    • Gollum

      Don’t expect any. I for one am very happy that this has been exposed. It is an issue that is growing exponentially and needs to be nipped in the bud sooner rather than later.

    • The Eye

      I have asked them to wait until PART 3 is posted and I am sure that some form of action will be taken, stay tuned ;)

  • Nice post and I agree. Time to take action to stop this bad parking! I’ve posted a link to this post on my blog.

  • MollyBrown

    I have just got from my holidays to find that eyeonauckland is back and with a bang. I for one am very happy that somebody is taking pride of place and exposing this reckless and lawless behaviour. I too will be keeping an eye on this blog to see if Councillors do something about it.

  • Melboy

    I thought that we had it bad in Melbourne. Not a chance when compared to this. Your council needs a kick up the backside.

    • karumba

      Can we swap our council for yours ? then again I am willing to bet that it wouldn’t be a fair swap.

  • Richarduk

    In London we have a much larger population and we have bollards everywhere for good reason i.e. to prevent this sort of chaos from happening. I get the feeling that Auckland Transport is looking for excuses. This sort of chaos should have been prevented from the get go and the people that plan these things are just as guilty as Auckland Transport for not having the insight to take precautionary measures. Is everybody amateurs over there ?

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