Berm blitz may backfire on council

COLIN WILLIAMS
Last updated 10:20 05/12/2012
05-UHL-ticketcropped.jpg
COLIN WILLIAMS
Space wars: Clyma St’s Ray Randle said parking his car half on the berm was a safer option on a narrow street and the council’s ticketing blitz is simply a money-making exercise.

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A Clyma St man fined $40 for parking his car's left-side wheels on the roadside grass says he now feels entitled to expect the council to maintain the berm.

Ray Randle paid the fine after deciding not to take the matter to court but his protest will continue.

After receiving his "stationary vehicle offence" notice, the 70-year-old explained his action to the council's "infringement committee"of senior council employees.

His written explanation did not sway the committee and for Mr Randle that was the end of the line as far as fighting the fine.

Mr Randle said the council's "touring the suburban streets" on its infringement blitz should have been better publicised.

"If there was a general problem, a notice should have been placed in The Leader explaining why and what bylaw was being infringed," he said.

Now he has contacted Mayor Wayne Guppy to explain his not totally committed plan to abandon looking after his roadside berm.

"I could now request the council maintain this berm area by regular mowing at (the) council's expense," he told Mr Guppy.

"Also I could now be reluctant to remove any rubbish that is blown around the street - leaves, plastic bottles, drink cans etc.

"I consider the fine imposed is only a revenue-gathering exercise," Mr Randle said, noting the regular way vans servicing banks and couriers park on the kerb at Main St intersections.

"I trust that you will supply the phone number of the person to contact when the berm requires mowing," he said.

Though disappointed with receiving no reply from the mayor, Mr Randle did hear from the council after the infringement committee decided not to rescind his ticket.

"While the reasons listed in your correspondence may be reasons for you parking as you did, it is in fact illegal to do so," city administration manager Kerrie Falconer said.

"The compliance services group did put warning letters on any vehicles . . . notifying people who had been found parked on berms that they would start ticketing for this offence."

Earlier, in detailing Mr Randle's "infringement P114 incorrect kerb parking" compliance manager Glen Wood said it applied when a vehicle was not parked correctly entirely on the road.

"The reason we are patrolling residential streets is in response to a lot of complaints where persons cannot see when driving out of their driveways and others not being able to use the footpaths."

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Mr Randle said his reasons for parking "partly on the berm" were based on safety and convenience for other road users.

At a width of 7500mm, Clyma St is "quite narrow" and when cars are parked on opposite sides of the road there is limited single lane space for through traffic.

Parking the way he did does not restrict footpath users and actually provides clearer access for neighbours exiting their property, he said.

Mr Randle detailed incidents caused by a lack of road width including a van, even though parked with its wheels on the grass, having its wing mirror smashed off by a passing utility vehicle.

"About two months ago I parked on the side of the carriageway and later a car parked directly opposite a bit far out for the kerb," he says of another incident.

"Later in the morning I heard a horn blowing and and went to investigate and discovered there was not enough room for a truck to go between the parked cars," he said.

- Upper Hutt Leader

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