PARKING LAWS IN TRAFFIC ACT
It seems frustrations over traffic issues in some school zones has reached breaking point, with some heated exchanges in South Cairns recently. Police and Council Officers are bound to follow the law. Two relevant sections of the Queensland Traffic Act are as follows:
PARKING IN CENTRE MEDIUM – ON FOOTPATH – IN A DRIVEWAY – ALL PROHIBITED
Centre Medium: ‘Parking in a centre medium is forbidden by Part 12 of the traffic act’. A good example of a centre medium is the centre medium on Anderson Road in Woree.
Footpath or Verge: Under section 197 Stopping on a path, dividing strip, nature strip or painted island Is forbidden. A driver must not stop on a bicycle path, footpath, shared path, a dividing strip, or a nature strip adjacent to a length of road in a built-up area.
Driveway: Parking in any location that blocks entry and exit to a driveway or crossover is forbidden.
Signage may impose additional restrictions: Cars must not park on a length of road, or in an area, to which a parking control sign applies.
We may not like these restrictions but Police, Transport and Council Officers have to enforce the law.
We can all do something to address the problems we have with parking in our school zones.
SCHOOL ISSUES NOBODY’S FAULT FIX IS EVERYONES RESPONSIBILITY
Whenever there is anger and frustration, people look for someone to blame. However, the situation we have is the situation we have. Enrollments at many of our schools simply exceed the capacity for all parents to drop off and pick up their children.
The surrounding areas are now built out and even if we could find land for additional parking, in many cases we would not even come close to addressing the parking shortfall. There is no point blaming anyone, but by working together we can manage the situation. Schools, Parents, Council and Qld Transport can all help and do more.
WHAT CAN SCHOOLS DO?
Every school should have a SafeST Committee. The SafeST Committee provides an avenue to schools, parents, Council and DTMR to discuss and resolve any traffic safety issues around schools. SafeST Committees provide all stakeholders a voice and ensure advice from a traffic engineer is obtained in any decisions that impact on traffic flow and road safety. Once a decision has been endorsed by a SafeST Committee, it can be acted on.
WHAT CAN COUNCIL DO?
Improving pedestrian and cycle access can promote active transport and take pressure off the road network. Council has spent several million dollars in Cairns over the last four years to enhance pathways so pedestrians and cyclists have safe and user friendly access.
Council can also work with the state to improve bus services, so public transport can offer an increasingly attractive alternative for commuters.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?
With so many good schools in South Cairns, people should consider the possibility that “the best school may be the closest school”. This enhances the opportunity for children to walk or cycle to school. This may not always be possible, but is something that parents should consider during the enrollment process.
Parents can encourage their children to walk or cycle to school. If possible, where primary school children are involved, at the start of the year, parents should walk their children to school, the local shops or to a friend’s house so they can point out any dangers to them. While walking with them, they should talk about what they are doing and explain what they need to watch out for to remain safe.
The most important thing parents (or any motorist) driving in a school zone must remember is to be patient and stay calm. School zones are designed to be a low speed environment and people just need to be patient. Remember it is only 10-15 minutes out of your day, and getting upset or emotional behind the wheel never helps.