Car parked on a berm.

Narrow streets cause a fine mess for drivers

The plight of car owners being pinged for parking on nature strips and gutters was raised at the Monday 8 July meeting of Hume City Council.

Cllr Sam Misho asked staff to carry out a review of the city’s parking infringement policy saying the poor design of some housing estates is contributing to fines of more than half a million dollars being issued by city parking wardens.

“Many of our rate payers are subject to fines for parking on gutters and nature strips,” said Cllr Misho. “That behaviour is often a result of extremely poor estate design. People shouldn’t be punished because they live in a certain suburb.

Cllr Sam Misho.
Cllr Sam Misho.

“It is critical that our rate payers are protected and we ensure that such fines are not a driver for unwarranted revenue for council, as they penalise individuals for circumstances beyond their control.

Council has raised $688,000 in parking fines this year, and Cllr Misho wants to know how much of that is from fines given to car owners parked in narrow streets.

“In the scheme of things, in terms of our revenue, it is not much,” said Cllr Misho. “But I believe it is too much for ratepayers.”

While council has installed indented parking bays along 62 streets since 2016, Cllr Misho says 420km of narrow streets are to be completed over the next 10 years. He called for this work to be fast-tracked.

Cllr Jack Medcraft said there is nothing in the current budget to fast track the work, and that SUVs and home owners putting gyms in their garages contributes to the issue of problem parking that he said can hinder emergency vehicles.

Cllr Jack Medcraft.
Cllr Jack Medcraft.

“We’ve got these monster trucks, everyone’s driving around like they own the road, and when they come home they have to park it,” he said. “That’s the problem.

“I often wonder what that little area is next to the house. It’s got a door that goes up and down – I think they call it a garage. You go to some of these places and they’ve got gym equipment in there, stereos, everything you can imagine – use the garage for your car.”

Cllr Joseph Haweil blamed previous state governments for lax planning rules, and said residents in narrow streets remain “burdened by parking and movement difficulties which is often compounded by council’s heavy enforcement of the Victorian road rules”.

Council staff said they have no influence over the Road Safety Act’s fining policies and that the council’s policy for appealing fines is under review with a report due in August.