Councils give warnings about overhanging trees blocking footpaths – why not parked cars?

From the City of Glen Eira web site:

Property owners are responsible for keeping trees and shrubs under control and trimmed back to ensure pedestrian safety and clear sightlines for drivers.

If a Council notice is sent requesting that trees or shrubs be trimmed, the work must be completed within 14 days.

Property owners who do not comply with a notice within 14 days will be issued with an official warning notice. This provides a further 10 days to complete the work. If action is still not taken within the required timeframe a penalty notice of $200 may be issued and a contractor engaged by Council to undertake the necessary work. The property owner is responsible for the contractor’s fees.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they were as keen in preventing this far more common intrusion onto footpaths:

Car illegally blocking footpath

This is inconvenient for all footpath users, but can be downright hazardous for those in wheelchairs and other mobility aids, as well as pushing prams and strollers, and children riding their bikes (which is quite legal, I might add).

While you occasionally hear of people being rightly fined for it, it doesn’t seem to be very common.

It’s particularly galling when there is plenty of space on the street (or in the driveway they’re not quite using). People are just being lazy — as well as thoughtless and inconsiderate.

Perhaps a better way for Councils to deal with it would be to do as per the trees: first send a notice advising people not to illegally block the footpath… if they keep doing it, get a contractor to tow the car and charge them costs.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

16 replies on “Councils give warnings about overhanging trees blocking footpaths – why not parked cars?”

I want to key the car as I walk past when this happens.

Also when they park on the nature strip. Housing costs and rates are as high as they are because you need to subsidise hundreds of on-street parking spaces just on your street; why not actually use them?

Most councils will send an officer on request, especially if it’s a repeat offender. Problem is, who really wants to dob on their neighbours, no matter how annoying? Once you’re in the next street though… ; )

Hi Daniel, completely unrelated to this post, but do you have any idea what the mini-train was that was buzzing around to the city from Clifton Hill this morning? We walked under an overpass as it was going above us, and have never seen anything like it…and I can’t find any info on the web!

Uh this frustrates the hell out of me. In the suburb of Toronto I’m staying at the moment there are often only footpaths on one side of the road. The other day I actually saw someone in a wheel chair cruising down the middle of the road, and I quickly realised it was because some idiot had blocked the only footpath that he was able to use. I know its not quite as common in Australia for there to only be footpaths on one side, but even if there isn’t, finding ramps onto the footpaths isn’t always easy for those with limited mobility.

A second, slightly related frustration is people that decide it is perfectly ok to stop on top of pedestrian and bike crossings on roads. I once told someone that I thought her behaviour was selfish blocking the bike crossing at parallel to Railway Place on Nicholson Street. She responded that it wasn’t her fault and “how was I to know that the next car in front wouldn’t allow her enough room”. I asked if she took the same attitude at railway crossings and she had no response. It seems that if the risk is that you’ll inconvenience other people on much smaller vehicles “its not my fault” but if there’s a chance you’ll get crushed by a few thousand tons of moving train then common sense and courtesy prevails.

People should be allowed to park on their nature-strip though, its a great Aussie tradition.

The Victorian Government should pass laws to ban councils from fining people for parking their own car on the nature-strip in front of their own house.

Believe it or not, we sometimes invite people over!

Yes, very annoying, dangerous and unfair to people in wheelchairs, etc.
The difference between trees overhanging footpaths and cars jutting out, is that the latter might only be there for a few minutes – difficult for council officers to catch the culprits.

I’m not sure in the UK but surely if a tree or bush is overhanging a public right of way the council should be able to come along with a chainsaw and remove the offending branches.

How funny would it be if they where allowed to do the same with cars, chainsaw off that boot and leave it in the owners garden.

Let’s face it, if they just did it once the message would get through!

The mayor of a town in Lithuania had the right idea

@Louise, define “mini train”???

@Jacob, parking on the nature strip is certainly not a universal Australian tradition. In a lot of places, nature strips aren’t wide enough, and it may be common in some neighbourhoods but never seen in others. And I have a problem with it, too. The nature strip is not owned by the home owner. And it’s a nature strip, not a car space. Why do people feel like they can just leave their cars anywhere?

Nature strip parking is certainly illegal and almost nobody seems to realise it. For some reason people refuse to park legally on the road, which, in most cases, is RIGHT NEXT TO the nature strip. And if they run out of road space they can’t be bothered walking a block or so to get to their party and would rather just park all over the nature strips. There should be more booking on this issue in my opinion.

It has become very common in recent years in newer estates because of councils allowing the use of rollover kerb instead of traditional barrier kerb. This stuff encourages people to drive onto the nature strip. It also provides the bonus annoyance of being uncomfortable to drive over when driving into our out of one’s driveway. The reason it is used is that it is a lot easier (and cheaper) to run a continuous length of identical rollover kerb than to build shorter lengths of barrier kerb with properly constructed crossings at every driveway.

Nature strips are supposed to provide a little bit of greenery, so people definitely should not park on them! It damages the grass and any trees planted there.

Another annoyance is residents who park on the street and add to clutter there when they have empty spaces in their driveways – it’s just sheer laziness in this case!

The other one that gets me is construction sites. I find most of them don’t really care how much damage or disruption they cause on the footpath or how long it lasts. A place near where I live took over six months to finish building two units and then another three to repair the footpath. When I initially complained to the council, they reckoned they couldn’t do anything because the builder had a permit and that the permit includes a promise to repair the footpath if required, but no time limit. In this case the damage was caused by a low-loader carrying a bulldozer that was used for demolition. So the damage was done right at the start of the building works

Actually one of my neighbours was sent a cease and desist letter from Council for leaving their car hanging over onto the footpath and threatened with a fine. Maybe they’re tougher in the west.

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