Council Campaign says Pavements are for People

21 January 2009

Wellington City Council is urging motorists to think twice about parking on the footpath - a common habit around the city that creates hazards for pedestrians and can cause accidents.

Councillor Celia Wade-Brown has campaigned against parking on footpaths for several years. She believes that motorists think they're doing the right thing by parking on footpaths - as they are not blocking our narrow city streets - but the reality is that it's an illegal practice that can put pedestrians in potentially dangerous situations.

"Motorists really need to think about how their behaviour will affect other road-users - if a vehicle is blocking a footpath, pedestrians may be forced out onto the road and put into harm's way."

Cr Wade-Brown says the problem particularly affects some of our city's most vulnerable residents. "It makes life especially difficult for the elderly, people with disabilities - especially the blind - and people pushing prams."

The Council's Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Manager, Holden Hohaia, says that parking wardens having always taken a zero tolerance approach to footpath parking in the CBD. "Parking on footpaths with such a high flow of pedestrians is dangerous - so we'll issue fines immediately to any cars parked on the footpath in the central city."

However in the suburbs, especially the older suburbs with very narrow streets, the Council is taking a more pragmatic approach to get the message across - generally issuing educational flyers rather than tickets for the time being.

"We do accept that due to Wellington's topography, there are some streets where there is no alternative to footpath parking. In these instances we'll take into account the needs of both drivers and pedestrians, looking at whether enough room has been left for a wheelchair or pram to get past, and talking to motorists and suggesting other, safer places to park," says Holden.

According to Holden, parking wardens will also continue to crack down on motorists who park on footpaths within 250 metres of primary schools.

The Council is launching a campaign to change drivers' attitudes to footpath parking tomorrow (Thursday) with a series of radio adverts and flyers.