10 September 2020

Probing the polls: narrow roads, and a man's right to park on the nature strip

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Jerra Jim

Jerra Jim and his illegally parked vehicle. Photo: Michael Weaver.

Canberrans are divided on the state of our roads and whether they’re deliberately designed to slow us down.

There was a strong response to our story about speed humps and narrow winding roads in the suburbs after columnist James Coleman expressed frustration with roads that are so narrow that it becomes difficult for cars to pass easily, and speed limits that have not changed in decades, or have been decreased.

We asked Should the ACT’s roads be designed to slow us down?

A total of 919 readers cast their votes. Your options were to vote Yes, slowing down won’t hurt anyone. This received 34 per cent of the total, or 310 votes. The alternative was No, it’s a false rationale that infuriates drivers. This was the winner, with 66 per cent of the votes, or 609 in total

READ ALSO Is it time to rethink Canberra’s roads?

This week roads are still on our minds with the tale of Jerra Jim, who has mounted a Castle-like battle with the Queanbeyan Palerang Council over the fines they’ve issued for parking on his nature strip.

Although Jim’s lost a lawyer, fees and plenty of fines in the process, he still thinks that while he’s undoubtedly in the wrong legally, he’s got the upper hand morally.

The problem centres around the alignment of Brudenell St in Jerrabombera, where Jim claims there have been multiple accidents and near misses. But in line with NSW Parking regulations, rangers continue to issue tickets to residents who prudently remove their cars from the street to avoid sideswipes and bumper bar prangs.

Despite having lost well over $3000 in his battle with the Council, Jim wants to warn residents who may have become complacent about parking outside their own homes because “right through Queanbeyan and Jerrabomberra, there remain hundreds of cars, trailers and caravans still parked permanently on nature strips”.

READ ALSO “Morally I’m right, legally I got pinged”: the case of Jerra Jim versus the council

Commenter Azel lives on Brudenell St and noted that there have been six accidents in the last year, including three parked cars being rear-ended. “This is why people are parking on the kerb … and yesterday, someone ran into a tree. The council needs to do something before someone dies”.

But Jetabe007 countered: “Finally a good use for the road. I should place all my vehicles on it as per law, keeping my driveway and or garage reserved for morning walks. I hope my neighbours also get in on this as vehicles on both sides will complete the look.”

Brian agreed, saying “if his place is like every other one in the photo then he’s got a driveway, he should park there”.

And there were plenty who argued that whoever maintained the nature strip had rights to its use.

Our poll this week asks:

Should you be allowed to park on nature strips?

View Results

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It is undoubtedly poor planning to have narrow streets, some of which are planned so foolishly that they cannot facilitate waste collection vehicles or other larger vehicles. I recall this had been problem in Palmerston, ACT. The council or municipal authority legislations and regulations can impact on which places potential investors or buyers would choose.

Where I have had to park in the past had been legal, though a hazard despite safe nature strip areas nearby, but by parking on the kerb legally if possible, and not the nature strip, the hazards and incidents might be what it takes for the message to get through on better road planning or upgrades.

It’s even poorer planning to buy/rent a property with insufficient accommodation for you and all your stuff. Can I put my extra furniture on the road because my house isn’t big enough for it all to fit inside?

I see your point, however, I had gained a job afterwards which required a larger vehicle that was registered and it was parked within the legal measurement for the road width and layout. I did move thereafter. The point is that the road planning sometimes does not accommodate for growth or potential usage.

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