Parking bays ‘hogged’

2015-11-10 11:35
A truck attempts to manoeuvre through the narrow Thomas Street without damaging cars parked on either side.

A truck attempts to manoeuvre through the narrow Thomas Street without damaging cars parked on either side. (Kailene Pillay, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Shop owners in downtown Thomas Street believe that while the paid parking system may help free up parking spaces, it is not the solution to what they say is a bigger problem.

Speaking to The Witness, shop owners said that motorists use “dodgem car” tactics to manoeuvre through the narrow road after parking bays were marked on either side of the road.

Now, after new signboards were erected warning that the paid parking system will be introduced to the area, business owners are in two minds about it.

“We always had a big issue with parking here because it is such a small road. Customers drive around and around trying to find parking while others hog the parking bays. So maybe the paid parking system will help but also it is very expensive,” said Naseema Ballim of Beauty Spot.

Ballim said R6 an hour may prove “too much” for customers who are only coming to buy vegetables to the value of R10.

She said that paying for parking will mean people will move out of parking bays faster rather than “hogging” the bays, but added that the amount charged for parking there should be reduced.

Manager of the Iqra Public Library Naseem Aboo echoed Ballim’s sentiments. She said that their library was a non-governmental organisation and many people who visit the library cannot afford to pay for parking.

“There should be reduced rates. Especially if someone is just returning a book, I don’t think they should be paying R6. It’s nice to introduce the paid parking but it is too expensive,” said Aboo.

Aboo added that businesses on the street were already feeling the effects of the bad economy and said she was afraid that paying for parking may deter customers.

Owner of Fairytale Weddings dress designing Shakeela Ismail said she was forced to consult with customers at her home as parking posed a real problem to her business.

“As it is, people don’t like to come to Thomas Street because there is never parking. But it does make me wonder whether they would come now if they had to pay for parking; especially if they are only going to be a few minutes with me,” said Ismail.

She added that the area was a residential area with shops only at the bottom of flats with hardly any parking for residents.

“Will residents also have to pay per hour to park outside their homes? This is the smallest and shortest road and we do feel targeted by traffic officers and now the paid parking system,” said Ismail.

Another business owner, who did not want to be named, said that the street was “continuously” targeted by traffic officers who issued tickets to “all and sundry”.

“We are not saying that the traffic officers shouldn’t issue tickets to motorists in the wrong, but some of them are so inconsiderate.

“A man had to park in front of the doctor’s surgery as he was taking a very elderly person who could not walk to the doctor.

“The traffic police issued him with a fine and towed his vehicle away without even finding out the situation,” said the business owner.

The business owner added that traffic officers should issue fines and the paid parking should be implemented in Retief and Pietermaritz streets as “there is complete lawlessness there”.

Msunduzi Municipality did not respond to questions by the time of going to print.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  parking

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