Poor parking in Dorchester stopping emergency vehicles

Poor parking in Dorchester stopping emergency vehicles

Published by Maria Greenwood at 8:27am 18th December 2019.

Poor parking on Dorchester’s Victoria Park has stopped emergency vehicles getting through.

Local councillor Janet Hewitt says on one occasion a fire engine had to reverse because it was unable to squeeze past parked vehicles.

An ambulance crew also had to abandon their vehicle and walk with a wheelchair to a patient on a separate occasion.

Cllr Hewitt is now calling for double yellow lines around the junction of Clarence Road and Garfield Avenue to prevent a repeat of the problem and for more lines elsewhere in the area to stop poor parking.

garfield avenue
Garfield Avenue, Dorchester

She said:

"Luckily the fire engine was not on an emergency call at the time, but could have been, and the ambulance crew were able to get where they needed to – albeit on foot."

Clarence Road and roads off it are busy every day from around 7am when hospital and town centre workers use the area during weekdays.

Garfield Avenue - Clarence Rd junction 2

Action has already been taking by Dorset Council at some junctions in the area with the introduction of lines to deter drivers from parking too close to corners and blocking drives.

Cllr Hewitt says that poor parking is also a risk to the hundreds of children who walk, and cycle, each day to the three schools in the area – with only one lolly pop crossing at the junction between Queen’s Avenue and Clarence Road.

She added:

"I am constantly seeing children popping out between parked cars to cross the road. Sooner or later there will be a serious accident."

In Maiden Castle Road some drivers are now parking between the zig-zags, built out areas in the road, designed to slow traffic down by creating a slalom effect. Although this is not illegal Cllr Hewitt says it does illustrate the lack of concern for others.

"The majority of people who are parking seem to work at the hospital and in the town centre…we no longer have a park and ride because the council stopped it and there isn’t enough parking spaces in the town.

"Most motorists are abandoning common sense and treating the ‘Highway Code’ with complete disdain. They block roads and fail to leave the recommended safe distance to road junctions as just one example. Parking within the ‘slaloms’ on Maiden Castle Road is dangerous and stupid…

Maiden Castle Road - cars parked between the zig zags 2
Maiden Castle Road

"I suggest that residential streets should prohibit stays longer than two hours and park and drive facilities be restored. Car-sharing should be encouraged."

Dorset Council says it is always happy to consider ideas which may improve road safety and has, as Cllr Hewitt mentions, already painted lines around some junctions in the area to improve safety.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter