Clear­way clog­gers

Where tow trucks do a roar­ing trade

Herald Sun - - NEWS - KIERAN ROONEY kieran.rooney@news.com.au

IL­LE­GALLY parked cars are be­ing hauled off Syd­ney Rd at a rate of 29 per week, with the pop­u­lar shop­ping strip the worst spot for tow­aways in the state.

Fig­ures re­leased by VicRoads show there have been 1217 ve­hi­cles re­moved from the busy clear­way this year alone as driv­ers flaunt park­ing re­stric­tions dur­ing peak pe­ri­ods.

John­ston St, Fitzroy was the sec­ond busiest spot for tow truck driv­ers with 694 cars taken away while 522 ve­hi­cles were dragged off Vic­to­ria St, Rich­mond.

There are 77 clear­ways, stretches of road where park­ing is banned dur­ing busy hours, across Mel­bourne and about 10,000 cars are towed away from these streets ev­ery year.

“When you park in a clear­way, you’re ef­fec­tively re­duc­ing the ca­pac­ity of the road by up to 50 per cent, caus­ing frus­tra­tion for driv­ers get­ting to and be­yond lo­cal shop­ping cen­tres, and po­ten­tially de­lay­ing emer­gency ve­hi­cles,” VicRoads di­rec­tor of jour­ney ser­vices Sameem Moslih said.

“There’s noth­ing more frus­trat­ing than be­ing stuck in peak-hour traf­fic and see­ing a sin­gle parked car in a clear­way zone.

“It’s im­por­tant that driv­ers obey clear­way zones, so that ev­ery­one can get to where they need to be as quickly and ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble.”

Mo­torists who have their car towed in a clear­way are charged a $334 re­lease fee by VicRoads but park­ing fines are only handed out by lo­cal coun­cils.

RACV roads and traf­fic man­ager Dave Jones said clear­ways were im­por­tant in re­duc­ing con­ges­tion across in­ner-city and mid­dle sub­urbs with less road space.

“We need to en­sure there’s enough road space for mov­ing peo­ple in cars, bikes and all forms of trans­port,” he said.

“On Syd­ney Rd we’ve clearly ob­served peo­ple are be­ing self­ish and stop­ping in to get a cof­fee which be­comes a dan­ger to rid­ers.

“It is a safety is­sue and an in­con­ve­nience when cars take ad­van­tage of what should be a lane of traf­fic for mo­torists.”

Mr Jones said author­i­ties should work to­gether to stamp out the prob­lem

“They need po­lice, coun­cils and VicRoads all work­ing to­gether to fine peo­ple who are il­le­gally parked in that pe­riod,” he said.

“We need to be con­stantly re­view­ing the clear­ways we’ve got and look­ing at a whole lot of in­ner-city routes.”

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