Red Hill school zone parking fines prompt request for change

Michael Weaver 11 September 2019 66
Patrick Pentony. Red Hill primary school car parking issue. Photo: Michael Weaver

Concerned Red Hill resident Patrick Pentony would like to see 15-minute parking zones outside schools extended to 30 minutes. Photo: Michael Weaver.

Patrick Pentony prefers to take the long way to pick up his eldest son from primary school at Red Hill rather than risk a parking fine in the 15-minute zones outside the school.

He is fortunate enough to be able to walk. Between about 2:45 pm and 3:30 pm each school day along Astrolabe St, it is quicker for him to walk than drive anyway.

Since parking enforcement vans have started doing laps around many Canberra schools at this time of day, Mr Pentony says going by foot is certainly a lot cheaper too.

There are about 20 parking spaces outside Red Hill School that are seen as pole position for the daily school pick-up and drop-offs. Each of them has a limit of 15 minutes and Mr Pentony says it seems grossly unfair for the ACT Government to target parking zones such as these.

Mr Pentony poses a simple question to RiotACT readers: should short-stay parking around schools be increased to 30 minutes?

“If you have children in pre-school and primary school, usually the start and finish times are 15 minutes apart,” Mr Pentony told Region Media.

“The parking zone here is a real issue and a few concerned parents have approached me as president of the P&C and said they have received parking tickets because they have one child at the pre-school and another in primary school.”

Mr Pentony is president of the Red Hill Parents and Citizens Association, but stresses his views are his own and not those of the P&C committee.

To avoid possible fines, one parent has gone so far as to pay $20 a week to a local family to park in their driveway.

“For these parents and plenty more like them, they are faced with getting in their cars and giving up a parking spot to pick up their second child. Once they leave, there’s not another parking spot anyway.”

While Mr Pentony said the parking vans are well within their rights to be giving tickets to people who park illegally, he sees the regular rounds of the vans as simple revenue-raising from parents who are just trying to get their children home from school safely.

“By having the 15-minute window for people picking up young kids, especially if they have more than one child at separate schools, makes them vulnerable to a parking fine.

“I suspect most people are parking for more than 30 minutes anyway, so why not just extend the timeframe to make it fairer?”

Red Hill primary school car parking issue

Astrolabe St in Red Hill becomes a bottleneck as parents wait to pick up their children from school. Photo: Michael Weaver.

Mr Pentony said parents regularly park on the verge opposite the school, or double-park in the driveways of homeowners. He said many of them are also fed up with the bottleneck that’s been created.

“I know there are lots of tickets that have been handed out. I’d much prefer to see someone out here telling the people who are dangerously parked to move along, but instead, it’s just easier for the parking enforcement van to drive along collecting the money.”

Mr Pentony said extending the parking zone to 30 minutes would help many parents who don’t have the luxury of only having one child at either of the schools.

He said with 802 students at the school and more enrolments expected next year, the problem is only going to worsen.

“We’re trying to educate parents to park on streets nearby and find parking spaces a little further away, but unfortunately, with everyone short on time and in a rush, it becomes very hard to do.

“It’s only a matter of time before we, unfortunately, have something terrible happen.

“For these people who are currently parking in a safe parking space, would it make a difference if they were allowed to stay there for half an hour?”

A parking enforcement van patrols Astrolabe St in Red Hill. Photo: Supplied.

Mr Pentony said the issue is not only affecting parents at Red Hill School, with similar parking issues experienced at other schools in Red Hill and nearby suburbs.

“How do we educate parents to perhaps just be a little bit more courteous when they are dropping off or picking up their kids from school?

“That 15-minute carpark is one tiny bit of the problem that could be changed and it wouldn’t really affect many people.”

For the meantime, Mr Pentony is happy to take his 15 minutes and a familiar path for his daily walk.

Are parking fines an issue at your school? Join the conversation in the comments below.

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66 Responses to Red Hill school zone parking fines prompt request for change
Trev Astle Trev Astle 2:00 pm 15 Sep 19

No, I don't agree. Children should exercise more by walking or riding bicycles to their nearest Public school. Parents should stop wasting fossil fuel transporting kids to distant out of area schools.

David Brown David Brown 2:06 pm 14 Sep 19

Maybe she could buy the kid a bike?

Lyndon Zoukowski Lyndon Zoukowski 8:20 am 14 Sep 19

Stupid rule, just stupid. Maybe they need a ticketing system like the airport? 🤔

bigred bigred 7:58 am 13 Sep 19

If we wait a few days there will no doubt be another school or event subject to the great camera van sting. You have to wonder why it has taken Mr Barr’s Treasury so long to identify this cash cow? How much revenue has been foregone over the years?

Nick Savino Nick Savino 5:02 pm 12 Sep 19

The signs were put up initially for a reason and that would probably be cars parked wherever and for a long time and annoying local residents and other parents. Why should I as a rate payer pay for a sign to be changed ! it was bad enough when idiots parked on my street and blocked my view as I came out of my driveway just so they could have free parking close to civic and when I confronted these bludgers they basically said stiff. Now I cant park in front of my place during business hours but that's ok yeh I can blame the govt for making parking more expensive in the city. But people can be so greedy surely they can see the problems they cause but they don't care . So if they get fined ,stiff .

Nick Swain Nick Swain 4:44 pm 12 Sep 19

Same problem at Telopea Park School and no doubt others. Some parents arrive very early to secure a ‘short term’ parking spot. This means they shut out other parents who cannot get there early and the result is usually double parking on the road or worse. Even school busses have trouble negotiating the pick up brigade and show remarkable patience.

Amanda Evans Amanda Evans 3:37 pm 12 Sep 19

Back in my mum took me to my first day of kindy at Red Hill, ...and after that, for the next 7 years I walked or rode my bike. Oh how times have changed!

Thom Vaan Thom Vaan 1:52 pm 12 Sep 19

I’m sure you can afford it if your in the red hill area 😂

Ella Factor Ella Factor 8:37 am 12 Sep 19

Why does it take 15 minutes to drop a primary age kid at school?

I mean my son used to mainly walk, but on occasions I had to drive him I just pulled over a couple streets away, he opened the door, got out, closed the door, I drove off he walked rest of the way. That takes seconds not 15 minutes.

    Patrick J Pentony Patrick J Pentony 8:50 am 12 Sep 19

    Ella Factor it’s more for the parents who have one child at preschool drop off at 9am and one in primary school drop off st 915am. For kinder and preschool you have to walk your child to meet the teacher. Sure for older kids no one needs this long but for parents with say a 4 and 6 year old it can be very tricky

    Ella Factor Ella Factor 8:54 am 12 Sep 19

    Patrick J Pentony I still don’t get it. If they are so close to each other that it requires only one parking spot, then get out and walk the preschool kid inside, let the primary school kid walk to class themselves.. is there something about primary school kids being unable to walk to class alone?

    Patrick J Pentony Patrick J Pentony 9:05 am 12 Sep 19

    Ella Factor kinder children need to be dropped off and collected from teacher. Our school does not allow 5 year olds to walk out and navigate streets by themselves.

    Ella Factor Ella Factor 9:08 am 12 Sep 19

    Patrick J Pentony

    Oh its an actual rule? My son did kinder in country NSW. He caught the bus to school age 5, or got dropped out front, we were not required to be collected from teacher, and the closer ones did walk (usually with older kids not alone)

    I guess the changing attitudes to childhood continue, making life ever more difficult for parents.

    Patrick J Pentony Patrick J Pentony 9:26 am 12 Sep 19

    Ella Factor yep I remember catching the bus as a kinder student as well, how times have changed. 🙂

    Casey Barton Casey Barton 1:19 pm 12 Sep 19

    Ella Factor our school is “hand to hand” for kindy, grade one and I think grade 2. They line up outside class at 3pm and must stay until they can see their parent / older sibling. For my son in grade 1 last year he wasn’t even allowed to be collected by high school brother initially. And in k/1 the teacher absolutely keeps tabs on the kids only leaving when the teacher sees the parent as well.

    Amanda Evans Amanda Evans 3:35 pm 12 Sep 19

    Casey Barton that's got to be very stressful for the teachers!

    Casey Barton Casey Barton 4:50 pm 12 Sep 19

    Amanda Evans it’s a super school with 2000 students k-10... I’d say it’s a relief for teachers and parents... nothing like looking for a little one after the bell rings who has decided to run off.

    Julie Delves Julie Delves 6:28 am 13 Sep 19

    Patrick J Pentony this must be a requirement unique to Redhill school. I work in the public school system in the ACT and it is not mandated that kinder age children be delivered to the teacher.

Gareth Rowlands Gareth Rowlands 8:15 am 12 Sep 19

Try Parking at Monash School. It has practically no parking, and during school pick-up and drop off is set down and pick up with a 3 min limit, and you can't be more than a few metres from your car.

Michael Roy Michael Roy 7:11 am 12 Sep 19

Better to remove the parking altogether and improve active travel infrastructure to get kids and parents walking and cycling. Just keep a few car parks for disability parking.

    Amanda Evans Amanda Evans 3:33 pm 12 Sep 19

    Michael Roy you know that's not always possible.

    In any case at the rate good public transport and pedestrian infrastucture is evolving here in Canberra, that might happen in another century... not this one!

    Michael Roy Michael Roy 4:18 pm 12 Sep 19

    I have this vision that schools will once again become hearts of the community linked to oval shops community facilities and transit nodes. Sigh.

    Amanda Evans Amanda Evans 4:20 pm 12 Sep 19

    Yes I know and they should be park n rides actually.

Peter McDonald Peter McDonald 5:10 am 12 Sep 19

How many kids are you dropping off? A bus doesn’t need that long.

Kylee Taylor Kylee Taylor 10:48 pm 11 Sep 19

I hear an ambulance got booked for parking in the turning circle at TCH as there was no where else to park. It seems anyone is fair game.

    Lea Kermond Lea Kermond 11:53 pm 11 Sep 19

    Scarlett Butler I doubt they had to pay the fine though.

    Kylee Taylor Kylee Taylor 6:31 am 12 Sep 19

    Lea Kermond I wouldn’t be too sure about it. I don’t know for certain but I know in some circumstances they have to pay fines

Avril Pounds Avril Pounds 10:34 pm 11 Sep 19

I often get to my kids public primary school half hour early, just so I can get a decent spot. We haven't got time limits, but I do notice a lot of people parking in the no parking zones. Not sure how often the inspectors come around.

    Jenni Zimoch Jenni Zimoch 1:07 pm 12 Sep 19

    Avril Pounds I've seen them once at Gordon.

    They gave warnings that time because it was the first time they'd been.

    I've been at the school daily for nearly 4 years.

Aldith Graves Aldith Graves 10:29 pm 11 Sep 19

No, need to give everyone a chance to pick up their kids

Sue Sutton Sue Sutton 9:15 pm 11 Sep 19

Get the kids to walk to and from school. Didn’t hurt us 😁

    Lori J Tas Lori J Tas 1:47 pm 12 Sep 19

    Sue Sutton many schools now have a 'hand-to-hand' policy for grade ones and younger, which means the teacher must see the parent before they allow the child to leave of an afternoon

    Sue Sutton Sue Sutton 1:00 pm 14 Sep 19

    LJ Tas doesn’t mean they can’t walk.

Susan Green Susan Green 9:13 pm 11 Sep 19

No, just means someone else won’t get a park. First world problems people

Marc Edwards Marc Edwards 8:56 pm 11 Sep 19

Or pick up one child then drive around the block and pick up the next

Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 8:32 pm 11 Sep 19

Sounding like the government is collecting previously foregone revenue in a very efficient way while also regulating parking. In the longer term it might also be part of the anti obesity strategy by getting people to walk further. Wins all round!

Robert Knight Robert Knight 8:29 pm 11 Sep 19

So, when we have a scarce resource in other areas of our society what do we do with it? We ration it, or we set a market value to it which reflects its scarcity. Parking is a scarce resource and I see no reason why we shouldn’t set a market rate to it to encourage effective turnover and/or alternative methods of getting kids to school like walking and biking.

    Patrick J Pentony Patrick J Pentony 8:48 am 12 Sep 19

    Robert Knight this is true, but I’m sure you sympathise with s parent who has two children under 6 dropping them off at two different buildings with starting times 15mins apart. I’m not sure how easy other active forms of transport are in these situations.

    Robert Knight Robert Knight 9:11 am 12 Sep 19

    Patrick J Pentony yep, it’s a tricky problem, but this is where we should be encouraging those who can, like me for instance, to take other means. The default setting for Canberrans is to drive. If you’re within 800m of your destination, walking is viable. If you’re within 5km of your destination, biking is viable. It’s just a matter of providing a good walking/biking environment, then backing it up with an effective parking strategy. I know currently these things don’t exist, but there are ways of implementing it if we just had the political will.

    Patrick J Pentony Patrick J Pentony 9:24 am 12 Sep 19

    Robert Knight defiantly, for the 98% who aren’t in this situation, not that many parents have a preschooler and a kinder or year one student, they should use other methods. Like me I’m 1km from my local school and walk 90% of the time, if I do drive I park further away and then walk or carry my 4yo with my 7yo.

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