Wellington Scoop

Getting rid of parking spaces, to make streets safer for motorists

by Lindsay Shelton
The city council is being too cautious with yesterday’s decision to remove 26 parking spaces from a few narrow roads. It’ll make driving conditions safer. But similar changes are needed on many more roads.

As the DomPost reported this morning:

Most of the new broken yellow lines will be drawn along streets in Wadestown, Johnsonville and Roseneath. In most cases, parking spaces will be removed from narrow arterial roads where parked cars often force traffic heading in both directions on to the same side of the road…

… Chief transport planner Steve Spence said a number of roads across the city presented safety concerns because they were being squeezed by parked cars. This plan was council’s way of ”chipping away” at the problem, he said.

Chipping away isn’t enough. There are many other streets where there are safety concerns which Mr Spence and the council should be fixing. Any driver could give them a list.

Washington Avenue in Brooklyn, for example. With parking on both sides of the street, parts of it are too narrow for buses, which straddle the centre line. A few bus drivers are prepared to stop to avoid oncoming motorists. But the less-skilled drivers keep going, forcing everyone else to brake and swerve to avoid a crash.

Things are worse when you drive off Washington Avenue into Connaught Terrace, which is where I live. On parts of my hillside street, parking is allowed on both sides. The result: a one-way road. With no warning signs. There are three blind corners, where cars often confront others coming at them head-on because they’ve had to cross the centre-line to avoid cars on both sides. A fire engine got stuck the other day. It couldn’t get through, and had to reverse back out of the street.

Down the hill in Newtown, southern parts of Adelaide Road are also in need of the council’s attention. Drivers park on the footpath, to avoid being scraped by passing traffic. It’s the same in my street. I’m torn between being pleased that they’re keeping off the road, and annoyed that they’re blocking the way for pedestrians. The council should add broken yellow lines on many more suburban streets, so that drivers aren’t forced to make impossible choices.