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Christchurch City Council Media Release 12 January 2001

Council to Tackle Footpath-Parking Problems

The Christchurch City Council is to get tougher with drivers who park their vehicles illegally on footpaths.

It is to start an education campaign to try to stamp out parking on footpaths following complaints received by the Council’s Parking Unit from all over the city. Pedestrians are being forced increasingly from footpaths, particularly in hill suburbs and in the central city.

The Council’s Parking Unit’s Enforcement Team Leader, Kay Hazlett, says the illegal footpath parking is particularly bad in residential hill areas where many vehicles are parked half on footpaths and half on the road in winding streets.

“So often pedestrians have to move out on to the street in the face of traffic and this creates a dangerous situation,” she says. “In commercial areas some car dealers also park vehicles on the footpaths again forcing pedestrians in to the road. In the city the traffic is much heavier and can create a dangerous situation.”

A Council Traffic Engineer (pedestrian advocate), Michael Thomson, says he wants the campaign to educate drivers that parking on footpaths is dangerous and each offence can bring a $40 fine.

He says drivers should not park on footpaths because it may force children, other pedestrians, and those with pushchairs and wheelchairs in to the road. Kerbs and footpaths can crumble because they are not built to withstand heavier loads, and difficulties can be created for the visually impaired.

Mr Thomson says vehicles can be towed away when they are illegally parked. “Some people might say it is another campaign for revenue collection. That is not the case. But we have to have a deterrent or penalty to stop this illegal parking,” he says.

“People might also say they cannot park safely outside their property, particularly if they live on bends. But they have to realise that it is a driver’s responsibility to park in a safe position and this may not be possible directly outside the front door,” Mr Thomson says.

The Christchurch campaign is taking the lead from a pedestrian advocate group in Wellington, called Walk Wellington, which has produced a leaflet with the slogan: Don’t Tread On Our Toes. He understands that the leaflet had been a good educational tool and he might copy the idea.

In the meantime, Mr Thomson and Mrs Hazlett will be reminding Christchurch drivers of their responsibilities over parking.

Further information: Michael Thomson, pedestrian advocate: 941 8950. . 

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