Parked out by law

The Glebe and Inner Western Weekly

Wednesday 13 August 2003

LEICHHARDT residents are being caught between their council and the RTA in a ticket squeeze on footpath parking, Since The Glebe first published concerns of inconsistent fines being issued across the Leichhardt municipality, a number of people have called and complained.

In addition to inconsistencies, residents said they were not given a fair go in narrow streets, particularly Balmain, Birchgrove and Rozelle and felt parking officers were preying on them.

Many are forced to park across their driveways or on footpaths to be near their homes but in doing so were breaking the law.

Road rules introduced in 2000 made parking on footpaths illegal unless signposted otherwise.

But legislation to accompany the signs has not yet been finalised so for now the practice is still an offence, even though Leichhardt Council's own narrow street audit has already identified streets where footpath parking is necessary.

Council general manager Peter Head, said although council was aware of the trouble spots, it was powerless to act.

"We have a strategy to address the problem but legislation doesn't yet provide for the signage to be introduced," he said.

He acknowledged the need for limited footpath parking in a number of streets throughout the suburb but denied the council could go easy on ticketing until the legislation was passed.

"Under the law we have no discretion," he said.

"It's what's called 'fettering the legislation' and we are in no position to do that." He said in the interim council would continue its attempts to have trials of limited footpath parking in Balmain's Short and Phillip Sts approved.

"It's up to the RTA to make the final decision and they've got some problems in terms of how this can be rectified," he said.

For now though, residents will have to toe the line on footpaths as council parking officers will be instructed to continue ticketing offending vehicles.

An RTA spokesman said: "The issue surrounding parking on footpaths is currently being examined."

Photo: Narrow streets force people to park across driveways and on footpaths