A council has been accused of ‘rewarding’ years of ‘illegal and unsafe’ parking outside a problematic garage after plans to install dedicated bays outside emerged.
Residents have criticized Sunderland City Council’s plans to remove a lane from the A690, install parking spaces and remove a disabled crossing, after years of complaints.
Customer cars and company branded vehicles continue to be left in double yellow lines, often blocking the left-hand carriageway, outside O’Connor’s garage in Sunderland.
Read more: Cars STILL park illegally on problem Durham Road in Sunderland
In recent months, footage has shown the continuing situation with vehicles parked illegally almost every day – and on some occasions parked on a pedestrian island.
In a letter to residents this week, the council proposed reducing the existing two-lane lane to a single lane, widening the cycle path and relocating a disabled crossing.
Read more: Sunderland garage accused of ‘blocking’ part of the A690 with cars
In the meantime, he said two parking spaces will be created outside the garage with a maximum stay of one hour and no return within two hours – along with new yellow double lines.
He also proposed the installation of a series of bollards between the newly introduced parking spaces and the cycle path in an attempt to avoid further problems.
However, residents last night called such plans “laughable” as they said introducing parking spaces would not solve the problem at the expense of the taxpayer.
One said: “They are installing these parking spaces, but we already have two along this stretch with the same restrictions that they are offering for these new spaces.
“These bays are unguarded now, we’ve had O’Connor’s vehicles parked in these bays for weeks and no one bats an eyelid.
“Removing a causeway just to try to fix O’Connor’s illegal parking is going to cost taxpayers thousands of dollars and will be detrimental to the freeway when there’s an increase in traffic on the roads – they reward years of misery for the residents.
“It’s agreed that we need action, but obviously that’s not the answer. It’s not going to work.”
The resident added that he had previously asked for bollards or fencing to be installed on the current design, as seen across the road, but had been ignored.
Since the letter was published, it is understood that a number of residents in the Durham Road and Otto Terrace area have already raised concerns about the proposals.
In recent months, L’Echo has been made aware of concerns including near-misses with illegally parked cars, disabled access blocked and the bike path unusable.
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Councilor Andrew Wood of Millfield, who had previously raised concerns about parking in the area, said he supported calls from residents for action.
He said: “Ward councilors have been pushing for some time for changes to the junction.
“There are parking issues for businesses and for the church, which will also need parking in its new role as a polling station.
“The cycle path needs to be improved. There needs to be better use of the junction to keep visibility clear. There are a range of changes which are in consultation.
“I support residents’ demand for greater enforcement of parking rules, not just around this busy junction, but in other parking hotspots around Thornholme and Millfield.
“We will continue to push for more resources to be deployed.”
In response to concerns raised following the proposals, Sunderland City Council said: “We have drawn up proposals to improve accessibility and parking at this location and consultation is ongoing.
“The proposals aim to improve accessibility for all and include an improved crossing facility, a wider cycle path and several limited waiting bays.”
Those with comments on the plans can contact the council via IC.Consultations@sunderland.gov.uk
O’Connor Garage could not be reached
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