Wellington Scoop

The mis-conceived white line

by Lindsay Shelton
They’ve painted a white line in the middle of my narrow hillside street. A good idea? Well, no, not at all.

It’s good that they haven’t painted it along the entire street. But inexplicable that they’ve painted it on two blind corners.

Why? Because cars park in the left lane on these curves. Which means you’re forced to drive in the right lane, without being able to see what’s coming at you from round the corner.

This is causing rising unhappiness, even anger, in our usually quiet street. I saw a woman on a scooter shouting at a car that had almost knocked her over. She was in the left lane, obeying the law as she chugged uphill. Round the corner, in the same lane, came a four-wheel drive, confronting her. Don’t blame its driver. He had no choice but to drive in the same lane as the scooter which was going in the opposite direction. (He could have driven slower, though.)

There’s a mini-sign asking drivers to give way to uphill traffic. But when you can’t see what’s coming, you can’t give way to it.

The white line must have been planned by the same people responsible for the confusion in the transformed Victoria Street. Where you’re driving in a clearly marked lane which suddenly, without warning, becomes a parking space. Or by the same planners who decided to make a slalom of the lanes heading east in Courtenay Place. The green bus lanes come and go, and every other driver has to obey the law by swerving from right to left, then from left to right, and then back to the left and then back to the right again. All within a couple of blocks.

These planners can’t be drivers.

But back to my little street. On part of it where there’s no white line, cars are allowed to park on both sides. Leaving a one-way space (with no one-way sign) which is so narrow that sometimes the rubbish trucks can’t get through. There are many streets in Wellington’s hilly suburbs which have the same problem. The only solution: a stricter approach to where parking is or is not allowed. But this is something that the city council seems reluctant to deal with.

So I won’t bother to tell them about the problems in my street. Not, at least, unless there’s a serious accident.


  1. Axle Ryde, 15. October 2015, 11:45

    I counted 12 cars ‘parked’ on Adelaide Rd with 2 wheels on footpaths this morning between John St & Stoke St. 11 the other day. Enforce please! [via twitter]

  2. Interested, 15. October 2015, 13:00

    Who are the Ward Councillors?

  3. lindsay, 15. October 2015, 19:58

    Only one councillor has shown any interest – Nicola Young, who is going to come up and look at the problems in the street.

  4. Rick Morgan, 15. October 2015, 21:22

    There are two issues here:

    1/ an often ignored important driving rule is to give way if you cannot proceed in your LEFT lane without crossing the center line – also known as keep left! All drivers need to have the driving skill & willingness that enables them to STOP rather than threaten vehicles in the other lane (as the 4wd in your story did) Lines are OUT just like in a rugby game – how pissed off would you be if the All Blacks couldn’t run up the field without constantly crossing the boundary lines? Why shouldn’t we all feel the same disgust for unskilled/lazy drivers who can’t stay in their lane?

    2/ the WCC insists on allowing parking on narrow roads with center lines where drivers have to cross a solid white line to get by – this has taught many drivers to have no respect for the solid white line (which used to be treated as a wall that you never drove over) so much so that WCC is now bringing open road (100km/h zone) yellow lines into its streets to try and keep cars left, but then it stupidly still allows lanes separated by double yellow lines to be blocked by parked cars. What are the mayor’s thoughts on this?