Fire truck's damage trail leaves Hill St blue

The Daily Telegraph

Thursday 11 September 2003

A FIRE truck side-swiped four cars on its way to an emergency yesterday, sparking fresh debate about parking in narrow city streets.

Residents of Hill St, Leichhardt woke to the sounds of buckling metal about 12.30am as the truck ploughed into the parked cars en-route to a fire in a nearby reserve.

Robyn Hayward, whose flatmate's borrowed car was badly damaged, said residents faced daily parking problems in the street.

"Parking should be allowed on only one side of the street or you should be allowed to park on the footpaths without a fine," she said.

"A lot of people in this area don't have car ports or garages.'' Cameron Green said motorists had recently been slugged with $60 fines for parking partly on the footpath to allow traffic to pass.

"You're not meant to park there but you do,'' he said. "You have to, you're just trying to be courteous." Resident Nick Woolford said the narrow streets and parking difficulties were the nature of the inner-west suburb.

Leichhardt Mayor Marie Sheehan said the council was lobbying the RTA to change parking arrangements and re-engineer the road to relieve the parking congestion.

"Our greatest problem is that we're an old Victorian suburb and we don't have any off-street parking," she said.

"It is a reality that this could happen at any time if a fire truck has to go down a narrow street." The council has had a "common sense footpath parking'' proposal before the RTA for the past 18 months.

"For those narrow streets we are proposing to change the engineering of the pavements," Ms Sheehan said.

In a leaflet recently letterboxed to residents, the council said emergency vehicles required a clearance of at least 3m between parked cars.

Sergeant Ian Miller from Glebe police said a steering malfunction was being investigated as a possible cause of the fire truck accident.

Caption: Damage ... police investigate the crash scene yesterday and (inset) the council's leaflet. Picture: BILL HEARNE