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Pedestrian Council of Australia
Safety – Amenity – Access – Healtha

 

Media Release

Sunday 26 February 2006
 
 FoI Reveals Certain NSW Councils Deliberately Refusing to Enforce Pedestrian Zone Law
 
 

PCA Asks Attorney-General and Ministers for Roads, Local Government and Police to Order Councils to Enforce the Law – Scandal Emerges as City of Sydney Officers Issue Only 1 Ticket in 6 Months Period

 

The Chairman of the PCA, Harold Scruby, said: “Following over 7 years of lobbying by the PCA and a major review of the entire NSW Penalties and Demerit Points system, the former Minister for Roads, the Hon Carl Scully issued a Media Release on 24 September 2004.  In announcing 3 Demerit Points and a $225 fine for the offence of ‘Stop on / near / children’s / pedestrian / marked foot crossing’, Mr Scully said:  ‘For the first time, Council officers will be able to issue a penalty notice for an offence that attracts demerit points … Mr Scully said the existing system needed to be reformed to achieve a ‘fairer, more safety-focused outcome’. He praised lobbying Pedestrian Council chairman Harold Scruby for his ‘persistence on being heard’ about the implementation of the new penalties..”

 

“This initiative had unanimous approval from all concerned, including then Opposition Leader John Brogden, NSW Police, Ministry of Police, PCA, NRMA, RTA, the NSW P&C, Council on the Ageing, NSW Council Rangers and all the Disabilities groups.  The NRMA said it welcomed the introduction of Demerit Points for parking offences because drivers generally supported the demerit point system.”  Mr Scruby added.

 

“Then, a new Minister for Roads, the Hon Michael Costa was appointed.  He immediately announced a hold on the implementation of all the new Penalties and Demerit Points and in early June, buckling to backdoor pressure from taxi, courier and truck unions, reduced the above penalty to $225 and 1 Demerit Point, while increasing the penalty for low-range speeding to 3 DPs (6 DPs in holiday periods).  The new penalties were finally introduced on 1 July 2005. http://www.walk.com.au/pedestriancouncil/page.asp?PageID=1156&SiteID=1

“The PCA has just received the results of our FoI (attached) detailing, by Council, the differences between the number of Infringement Notices issued for the six months prior to and following the introduction of the new penalty.  It is nothing short of a scandal.  It proves conclusively that some Councils, particularly the City of Sydney, are knowingly refusing to enforce this law and deliberately disobeying the will of Parliament.  This Council, which employs over 100 Parking Officers and Rangers, issued just 1 such penalty notice in the entire 6 months from 1 July to 31 December 2005.  Other Councils like North Sydney, the fourth largest CBD in Australia, issued 9, down from 65 in the preceding period before.  Yet we have been in regular contact with the GMs of both these Councils and have been assured, time and time again, that the Parking Officers are enforcing the law, without fear or favour.

“Other Councils, like Blacktown, Fairfield, Waverley and Liverpool, have all issued well over one hundred PINs for this offence in the same period.  During this period, we have had several meetings with Mr Peter Seamer, GM of the City of Sydney together with Mr Richard McCarthy, Manager, Transport Management, who have consistently assured us that the law is being enforced.  We have sent dozens of emails to them with photos showing literally hundreds of taxis stopped and parked in pedestrian zones.  The FoI and correspondence prove we have been deliberately misled.  And this is the same Council which issued over 26,000 Parking Meter offences in Pitt Street alone last year. This Council contains scores of Primary Schools within its boundaries.  This law was introduced to deter motorists from stopping in school pedestrian zones, to minimise risk and save lives and limbs.  Clearly, all the CoS is concerned about is Revenue-Raising – and safety be damned.  Taxi drivers stop in pedestrian zones every minute of the day in the CBD, yet CoS Parking Officers haven’t managed to book one in six months. 
http://www.walk.com.au/pedestriancouncil/page.asp?PageID=1330&SiteID=1

 

“It is abundantly clear that the CoS and other Councils such as North Sydney have a deliberate policy to not enforce this law.  They do not wish to upset the taxi and transport lobbies.  As such, we will be writing to the Ombudsman and all relevant Ministers, asking that they force Councils to be open, transparent, consistent, fair and accountable in their enforcement of the parking laws.  Mr Scruby said.

More evidence and information: http://www.walk.com.au/admin/content_page.asp?action=edit&PageID=1367


Contact:  Harold Scruby - Tel:  (0418) 110-011 or (02) 9968-4555



Copies of just some of the correspondence with the City of Sydney relating to the issuing of Penalty Notices for the Offence of Stop On/Near Children's /Pedestrian / Marked Footcrossing.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Peter Seamer [mailto:pseamer@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au]

Sent: Monday, 19 December 2005 10:33 AM

To: walking@walk.com.au

Subject: FW: Our meeting in January and Taxis Parking in Pedestrian and Bus Zones in Clarence Street (and all over the CBD)

 

 

Dear  Harold

 

I refer to your further representation about taxis illegally parking in the Clarence Street Bus Zone south of Jamison Street.

 

The City's Transport Manager Richard Campbell tells me there are some problems in trying to provide a taxi rank to the north of Jamison Street as follows:

  • taxis would queue back into the intersection and also into the bus rank.  This is already a chronic problem near taxi ranks in Bent and Gresham Streets near Governor Macquarie Tower, as well as in Sussex Street near Market Street, and also in Market Street and Park Street.
  • taxi passengers would try and get into taxis at the rear of the queue near the building entrance as is currently the case.  This would mean taxis would probably still stop in the bus stop area because they would be reluctant to walk up the road to the front of the queue.
  • taxis would get in the way of buses especially in the peak hour as acknowledged by you in your email.
  • the section proposed for the taxi rank is a part-time bus zone from 3pm to 7pm which would also interfere with bus operations.
  • There is a taxi rank in Kent Street around the corner from this location which could be used.

Given the above problems especially for bus operations the City's Transport Manager doesn't propose to provide a taxi rank north of Jamison Street.

 

I have asked the City's Rangers to develop an enforcement strategy for this location and I have also asked for statistics on fines issued to taxis illegally parked in the bus stop, especially those fined after 1 July 2005.

 

Cheers

 

Peter

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Richard Campbell [mailto:RCAMPBELL@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au]

Sent: Tuesday, 13 September 2005 10:19 AM

To: walking@walk.com.au

Cc: Peter Seamer; Catherine Hart

Subject: RE: Line of Sight: No Stopping sign in Pedestrian Zone

 

Dear Harold

 

I refer to your email with attached photos showing incorrect signs being installed near intersections near Channel Ten in Pyrmont.

 

City staff are currently reviewing signposting of Miller Street, Bank Street, Quarry Master Drive and Saunders Street and will replace incorrect "No Standing" and "No Parking" signs with "No Stopping" signs.  New signs are expected to be installed in 1 week.

 

I have asked Greg McCarthy to reply to your previous email about Rangers and the infringements near pedestrian crossings.

 

regards

 

Richard Campbell

Manager Transport Management

 

City of Sydney

 

( 9265 9391

 

Fax 9265 9500

 

TTY 9265 9276

 

email to: rcampbell@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

-----Original Message-----

From: PCA [mailto:walking@walk.com.au]

Sent: Monday, 12 September 2005 9:21 PM

To: Richard Campbell

Cc: Peter Seamer

Subject: RE: Line of Sight: No Stopping sign in Pedestrian Zone

 

 

Thanks Richard

 

Re my email below, here are photos of the incorrect No Standing and No Parking signs near Channel 10 in Pyrmont.

 

They are costing you money and inviting dangerous stopping and parking.

 

Will I expect a reply from Mr McCarthy or from you?

 

 

Regards

 

Harold

 

Harold Scruby

Chairman/CEO

 

Pedestrian Council of Australia Limited

"The Walking Class Heroes"

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

From: Richard Campbell [mailto:CAMPBELL@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au]

Sent: Monday, 12 September 2005 4:22 PM

To: walking@walk.com.au

Cc: Peter Seamer

Subject: RE: Line of Sight: No Stopping sign in Pedestrian Zone

 

 

Dear Harold

 

I refer to your email about parking enforcement of "No Stopping" zones in the City of Sydney.

 

Parking enforcement operations are under the jurisdiction of the City's Rangers and has been sent to Greg McCarthy for consideration.

 

regards

 

Richard Campbell

 

Manager Transport Management

City of Sydney

9265 9391

Fax 9265 9500

TTY 9265 9276

 

email to: rcampbell@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au <mailto:rcampbell@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au>

_________________________________________________________________

-----Original Message-----

From: Pedestrian Council [mailto:walking@walk.com.au]

Sent: Tuesday, 6 September 2005 10:41 AM

To: Richard Campbell

Cc: Peter Seamer

Subject: Line of Sight: No Stopping sign in Pedestrian Zone

      

      

Richard

       

Will do.

       

I think from an economic point of view it's worthwhile doing an audit on all No Standing signs in the CoS.

       

The reason:

       

No Standing = $75

No Stopping = $175

       

Costs of issuing PIN = identical

       

More importantly of course is that the offence lessens as motorists become "educated" by the new penalties.

       

In fact I was outside Channel 10 last week while one of your Rangers/Parking Officers was issuing PINs.

       

There was a vehicle parked facing the wrong way he was about to book.  I asked him what was the penalty for this offence and he replied $75. I suggested if he checked his book he would discover it was now $125.

       

Similarly, many Rangers/POs are using the $175 (No Stopping) penalty for vehicles stopped/parked in Pedestrian Zones

       

As you know the penalty if $225 + 1 Demerit Point.  But most respond that they "go by the signs".

       

Of course, practically all pedestrian zones are now surrounded by No Stopping signs, which means if this mentality prevails, there will be no such offence as Stop/Park in Pedestrian Zone.

       

I think there's an urgent need for some serious training in this area.  We worked for 7 years to get the penalties and DPs for this offence and it's a shame to see it being treated in such a cavalier fashion.  After all, the Rangers, of all groups, are probably the most exposed and most vulnerable when motorists stop/park in these zones as line of sight is obstructed.  I'd estimate a minimum of 50 taxis a day stop and park in the Pedestrian Zone in Clarence Street diagonally opposite Jamieson.  I've never seen a Ranger/PO there, let alone see a driver booked.

       

Peter Seamer is trying to get some data on just how many PINs have been issued for this offence since 1 July.

       

I don't know if you've ever read Bussell vs Campbelltown Council, but it's most relevant and really worthwhile.

      

http://www.walk.com.au/pedestriancouncil/page.asp?PageID=782&SiteID=1

       

It would not surprise me if a person were killed or injured in a pedestrian zone and it was later discovered that the relevant Council had not been issuing the correct penalties, that they could be joined in a damages/negligence claim such as this.

       

Would you please let me know your views and possible actions on the above issues.

       

      

Regards

 

Harold

      

 

Harold Scruby

Chairman/CEO

 

Pedestrian Council of Australia Limited

"The Walking Class Heroes"

 

Telephone: (02) 9968-4555

Facsimile: (02) 9968-4566

Mobile:      (0418) 110-011

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Peter Seamer [mailto:pseamer@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au]

Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 4:58 PM

To: walking@walk.com.au

Subject: RE: Bicycle Couriers

Sensitivity: Confidential

 

 

Thanks Harold...chasing up info on numbers of fines.

 

P

 

_____________________________________________________________________

 

-----Original Message-----

From: PCA [mailto:walking@walk.com.au]

Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 3:38 PM

To: Peter Seamer

Subject: RE: Bicycle Couriers

Sensitivity: Confidential

 

 

Thanks Peter

 

Will write to you shortly about JC Decaux as promised.

 

Apologies for my tardiness.  Have been consumed by Walk to Work Day.

 

Did you get the email on taxis?

 

And do you have data on how many taxis have been booked by CoS Rangers and Parking Officers for the following offences:

 

1 Stopping in pedestrian zones - $225 + 1 Demerit Point

2 Stopping in bus zones - $175

 

for the period 1 July to 31 August (since new penalties came into force).

 

I think this data will give us a much better understanding of what is going on - and perhaps what is not going on.

 

PS:  Re bicycle couriers, could we not in the first instance, get a few days of photos so we can confront the courier companies with the evidence and remind them of their Duty of Care. (i.e. dangerous behaviour: couriers on footpaths, going through red lights and up one-way streets the wrong way) It worked with Chubb when I managed to take the video of their vehicle driving through Martin Place.

 

http://www.walk.com.au/pedestriancouncil/page.asp?PageID=552&SiteID=1

 

Regards

 

Harold

_____________________________________________________________________

Excerpt from The Daily Telegraph of Tuesday 25 October 2005, detailing the streets where the greatest number of Parking Infringements were issued in the 2004-2005 Calendar Year.

 

 

Infringement hit spots in 2004-05

1. Pitt St, Sydney .......................... 26,088

2. Castlereagh St, Sydney .............. 14,029

3. Kent St, Sydney ......................... 11,435

4. Sussex St, Sydney .................... 10,109

5. Clarence St, Sydney ................... 7577

6. Spring St, Bondi Junction ............ 6930

7. Elizabeth St, Sydney .................. 6002

8. Lime St, Sydney ........................ 4854

9. Norton St, Leichhardt .................. 4686

10. Ebley St, Bondi Junction ........... 4656

11. Hickson Rd, Sydney ................. 4588

12. York St, Sydney ....................... 4475

13. Darling St, Balmain ................... 4091

14. King St, Newcastle ................... 4036

15. Pyrmont St, Pyrmont ................ 3815

16. Campbell Pde, Bondi Beach ...... 3798

17. Oxford St, Paddington ............... 3783

18. Oxford St, Bondi Junction .......... 3685

19. Hall St, Bondi Beach ................. 3683

20. Lawson St, Byron Bay .............. 3657

21. Phillip St, Sydney ..................... 3348

22. Liverpool St, Sydney ................. 3321

23. Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont ................ 3196

24. Market St, Sydney .................... 3183

25. North Steyne Reserve, Manly ..... 3096

26. Hunter St, Newcastle ................ 3022

27. Street Not Stated, Penrith ......... 2917

28. Victoria St, Potts Point ............. 2855

29. George St, Sydney ................... 2808

30. King St, Sydney ....................... 2700

31. Quay St, Sydney ...................... 2660

32. Belmore Rd, Randwick .............. 2592

33. Victoria Ave, Chatswood ............ 2519

34. Harrington St, Sydney .............. 2519

35. Beamish St, Campsie ............... 2517

36. Miller St, North Sydney ............. 2503

37. Walker St, North Sydney ........... 2500

38. Bronte Rd, Bondi Junction ......... 2483

39. Macquarie St, Sydney ............... 2420

40. John St, Cabramatta ................. 2419

41. Grosvenor St, Neutral Bay ......... 2346

42. Willoughby Rd, Crows Nest ....... 2327

43. Macleay St, Potts Point ............ 2312

44. Alfred St South, Milsons Point ... 2275

45. Forest Rd, Hurstville .................. 2274

46. Bondi Rd, Bondi ....................... 2222

47. Railway Pde, Burwood .............. 2212

48. Wheat Rd, Darling Harbour ........ 2196

49. Bathurst St, Sydney ................. 2149

50. Dean St, Albury ........................ 2114

© This work is copyright and is reproduced under licence from News Limited

 
This letter was received from the OSR, after this Media Release was issued, making minor corrections to the above data supplied, regarding the City of Sydney and Ashfield Councils. 
 
It makes no significant difference to the issues and claims outlined above.