Parking scheme makes no sense

It was a warm spring evening as I trudged back to my car after a hard day at work.

Laden with bags, I fumbled for my keys as I walked down Churchill Avenue. But, to my dismay as I looked up to unlock the door, there it was: a white piece of paper with a yellow envelope tucked neatly underneath my windscreen wiper.

My first words may not have been fit to print. But then I had a thought:  why was I being fined for parking in a street which – to my mind, at least – I should be allowed to use for this very purpose?

Now don’t get me wrong.  It is a two-hour zone and I parked for most of the day.  I have no argument with the warden. I knew the risks.

But the street is a local amenity.  And the only reason to prevent me parking in it for as along as I want is to ensure that those living on the street are not displaced. They have a case for using it.

But in this particular case, they don’t mind.  And, thanks to the recent introduction of a residents parking scheme, we know this to be true.

Strathfield Council recently introduced a trial resident’s parking scheme to clear the traffic out of areas such as Redmyre Road, Churchill Avenue and Beresford Road. The idea was that residents need the roads cleared so they can park their cars. 

But a report issued by council this month shows out of the 920 people who live in this part of Strathfield, just 53 applied for the permit.

In the words of the council report: “Applications received by Council for Residents Parking Permits is substantially lower than originally anticipated.”

So what was once a well-utilised street by day and night is now empty during the day. Residents are at work.  So no-one parks on it. Not exactly a triumph for common sense.

The scheme has created many fellow victims. The teachers and Parish Priest of St Martha’s Primary School sent an urgent plea to change the parking times to allow people to attend mass.

So why do I park here? To catch the train to work. The bus near my home does not run on time and if I walk to the station, it takes close to an hour.

I understand the frustration of residents living in streets blocked by traffic from interlopers. But this is not the case in Churchill Avenue. The majority of homes and apartments have parking on site.

I am not asking for a free parking space.  I am quite prepared to pay.

So instead of simply banning parking in areas where residents have no need of the space, perhaps council could consider meters with long-stay parking times. It could apply between 8am and 6pm when residents are at work.

After all, streets are a public amenity maintained by all ratepayers, including me. And since there is not enough room for a commuter car park near the station, there is a strong case for better using them.


Comments

This article shows a complete lack of understanding of parking issues or the parking scheme in Strathfield. Cars are not prohibited from parking in Churchill Avenue within parking time limits, displayed on the parking sign. The parking scheme allows residents within the near vicinity to park without time limits close to their home, but it doesn't stop anyone from parking within a time limit. I am perplexed how persons attending mass at St Martha's can not park their car in Churchill Avenue which permits 2 hours free parking. It is rare that a mass would take more than 2 hours.

The author of the article is Bernadette Chua, the same person who reported in June 2011 that "Councillors have been receiving a long list of complaints from angry residents over commuters taking up their on-street parking and the fact of the matter is that it has become a major problem. Every morning, hundreds of cars line the streets of Churchill Avenue, Oxford Road and other surrounding streets, and understandably, if I were a resident, I would be angry too. Particularly if I could not park my car within a reasonable distance to my home".

Any chance of some consistency?

Dear Anonymous,

Just for some clarification in regards to the opinion piece that I wrote for the Christmas edition of the Strathfield Scene, the point of this was to indicate that council are not utilising the street as best as they can since a good majority of people that do park there during the day are commuters. And I'm pretty sure they park there for longer than two hours. The addition of the request from St Martha's Primary School was something else to point out that there should not be parking restrictions in those particular streets.

The other point of the opinion piece was to indicate to council that there should be an alternative option for parking permits so people who wish to park there for longer the two hours have the option of doing so rather than clogging the already congested roads of Sydney. For example, perhaps installing a 10p parking metre like Burwood Council has done.

If you did have a firm idea about the majority of people that did park on that street during the day, I'm sure you would find that they would be commuters. I have stood around on Churchill Avenue for several hours in the morning and afternoon speaking with these people over the past two years and they are Strathfield residents who catch the train to work.

In regards to the OPINION piece (rather than an article) I wrote in June 2011, I do understand that it is infuriating for residents to not be able to park their cars outside their homes. And I still stand by what I said in my June 2011 piece. I was merely giving two sides of the argument, which as a journalist, I feel like I think I should do.

But please, if you feel like I have not clarified my message at all, I'd be more than happy to give you more insight into this contentious issue.

Regards,

Bernadette

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