Monday, 5 September 2011

There is a car

parked opposite our driveway. It has been there for several days now. There is another parked a little further down the street. It is an almost permanent fixture. There are other cars parked along my regular pedalling route.
These cars do not live in driveways, carports or garages. There is no room for them. They now live in the street.
This is not legal but nobody bothers to enforce the law. It is too difficult to do that. Occasionally, if a car is causing a hazard, the local council will leave a notice asking for it to be removed - or risk being towed away. Even that is difficult.
There was one vehicle which was parked just past a "blind corner". It was there for weeks. A number of people complained about it - especially when two cars came within millimetres of colliding. Everyone believed it had been abandoned. It was there for so long the tyres had gone flat, the windscreen was covered in cobwebs and council notices. We felt sure the council would tow it away. Nothing was done.
Then, one morning, it had gone. It was parked on the lawn of the house across the street from where it had been standing. One of the neighbours, someone I know slightly, told me the owner of the vehicle had been furious at being forced to move it.
It seems to me that there are two major reasons for the increase in street parking. The first is that more people have cars. There is one household I know where there are five cars and four people. Many of the households along my pedalling route have two or three cars and two have four cars. Mum has one. Dad has one. The two eldest children have one each.
The other is that as older houses get knocked down two houses or "homettes" or "duplexes" or "dual dwellings" will be put where there was once just one house. This often means that there is almost no parking space (and not much garden) so people just leave their vehicles in the street.
It is not a particularly safe practice. It is not a desirable one. Nothing is going to stop it.
If we still owned a car we would have had extreme difficulty in entering and exiting our driveway while the car opposite is parked where it is. I doubt the owner knows we do not have a car. They probably do not care. It is their good fortune we do not have one and have not backed into the side of their vehicle. Such things happen.
My brother's vehicle, legally parked in the street in another city, was swiped by a bus recently. The bus company has paid for the repairs but the driver was reportedly trying to avoid a car which was illegally parked on the other side of the street where there is not supposed to be any parking at all.
Of course owning a car is convenient but I wonder whether all these cars are really necessary. It seems to me there is a difference.


Miriam said...

In our road, cars are parked, half or completely, on the pavement. This means that a walk along the street involves stepping on and off the kerb several times. I've never seen parking tickets on any of them. People are used to it. There's nowhere else to park.

Anonymous said...

That would really make me fume Miriam! How in the heck are people with disabilities supposed to negotiate such places? Ros

JO said...

I live in a street where none of the houses have driveways nor garages. The street is crammed with parked cars - it is unsafe for pedestrians, for cyclists and for motorists. But much of this town was built before cars were dreamed of - so there are many streets like this. There is now a need for serious thinking, and planning - this can only get worse, and sets one group of residents against another, which helps no-one.

Old Kitty said...

For me it's excessive when there are more cars than members of one family!

I live in an area where public transport is very good and the city centre is within a 10 minute pleasant walking distance.

I also live in an estate where residents are allocated one parking space per household plus about 5 extra spaces for visitors. I do not have a car but my parking space (rather than the visitor spaces) is constantly used both by visitors and residents having more than one car. I don't mind if these people bother to knock on my door to ask. One or two do, the rest don't.

I guess my point is that where I am, there really is no need to have more than one car (two at a push) per household given that public transport is good and reliable and the city centre with everything you could hope for is within reach.

Take care

catdownunder said...

Miriam, Jo, Old Kitty - yes, your problems are far greater. I just wonder why we are creating the same problems here!
Ros, it makes me mad here too - Dad is forever having to go around obstacles on his gopher.