I wonder sometimes whether people who abandon their cars under the guise of parking are simply thoughtless or are so blind they shouldn’t be driving in the first place.
It’s not a problem unique to Sheffield.
There seems to be a worldwide epidemic of people who either think they don’t have to obey the law or are arrogant enough to presume that their convenience comes before that of others.
I live around the corner from an assisted living facility. As ‘assisted’ would suggest, most of its residents have mobility issues.
To facilitate their easier access to the local shops the council flattened the kerb and installed a refuge island so they could cross a busy road safely.
Well, they would be able to if local residents didn’t feel that their need to park less than a metre from their front door wasn’t more important.
One driver parks his car across the dropped kerb, leaving no safe area for a wheelchair to exit the pavement.
When it rains in Wellington it really rains, so gutters are deep and it makes it very difficult to manoeuvre a wheeled vehicle safely across.
A lady parks her car facing her garage, the back of it coming to rest about a foot from the pavement edge.
She then unloads children and pram, completely unaware that her inconsiderate parking means fellow pram pushers can’t get past without stepping onto the road (and negotiating that gutter).
I returned from work one day to find the painter working on my house had parked his car half on my lawn, with the rest blocking the footpath.
In each of these instances, there was plenty of road space.
I regularly see prams and wheelchairs forced to travel along the road, unable to access the pavement – one lady wears a hi vis vest, so used to it is she.
When my parents visited, my father pushing my wheelchair-bound mother, I warned that they would come across cars and especially vans parked across the pavement and blocking their way.
He reported that this was so but that ‘Kiwis are so friendly and everyone helps you to get past.’
Yes, but they won’t think of not parking there in the first place.
It’s not hard to show a little consideration for others.
And most of us could do with the extra exercise from walking a bit further to our cars.
* Tracy Annenberg, Stocksbridge ex-pat in New Zealand