On the eve of the annual celebration of female economic participation – International Woman’s Day – one Griffith lady is battling an unusual barrier to entering the workplace.
Dot Patten has been manager at clothing store Rockman’s for 29 years.
For 26 of those years, she was able to drive to her work rear entrance on Banna Lane, open her gate, park her car and start her job.
But this luxurious arrangement ended three years ago, when loading zones were created along Banna Lane, preventing sedans and other small cars from stopping in front of her entrance.
“I can’t even get out of my car to unlock the gate… I’ve been fine several times of the past few years”.
While it takes her less than 30 seconds get out of her car to open her gate, that’s enough time for parking inspectors to strike. The most recent fine was a whopping $183.
“They seem to hide and wait for me to arrive,” she said.
Ms Patten now has to park on Banna Avenue every morning, walk through her shop to unlock her back gate, walk back to her car and then drive to Banna Lane to park her car. The same procedure is repeated in reverse when she has to leave.
“The other businesses that have car entries on Banna Lane have been getting fined as well,” she said.
“I really think council has more important things to worry about.”
When asked about the issue, Council said in a statement:
“Loading zones are intended to be used by tradespeople, couriers and delivery drivers – not by everyday motorists. These clearly designated spaces are set aside for short-term use only by certain vehicles when loading or unloading goods”.
“The Traffic Committee of Council make determination about the number and location of loading zones in Banna Lane. Persons are able to make representation to this Committee to review the placement of loading zones”.
Ms Patten said she arrives at work at around 830am, when there are hardly any trucks or large vehicles making deliveries.
“I’d understand if they needed this in Sydney, but not in Griffith”.
Dot and son Troy said they have raised their concerns with Griffith City Council.
The say Council wrote to Revenue NSW, the NSW government body that administers fines, denying their most recent attempt to have the $183 fine waived.
Dot wants common sense to prevail.
“It’s just revenue raising”.
“I’m not holding anyone up or blocking anyone’s entrance. It’s just ridiculous”.
Griffith City Council full statement:
Loading zones are intended to be used by tradespeople, couriers and delivery drivers – not by everyday motorists. These clearly designated spaces are set aside for short-term use only by certain vehicles when loading or unloading goods.
Vehicles designed for carrying goods can park for up to 30 minutes while station wagons and three-wheeled bikes carrying goods can also stop for up to 15 minutes. Public buses are also allowed to drop off and pick up passengers whilst stopped at loading zones.
A Station wagon is defined as having:
A sedan equivalent
A flat roof extending at the same height to the rear
An entrance at the rear suitable for loading goods
Seats that can be folded or removed for more goods storage space
Substantial space for the carriage of goods in proportion to overall interior space
The majority of 4WD passenger vehicles, hatchbacks, coupes or sports vehicles are not permitted to park in loading zones.
Compliance Officers make careful assessment before issuing an infringement notice. A recipient of a penalty infringement notice can make representation to Revenue NSW to have the matter independently reviewed or they can opt to have the matter heard at court.
The Traffic Committee of Council make determination about the number and location of loading zones in Banna Lane. Persons are able to make representation to this Committee to review the placement of loading zones.