Hospital parking blame game

Hospital parking blame game

The Australia Post mail box has now been removed due to the continuous damage inflicted on it from cars parking along the hospital verge.

Dangerous parking around the Armadale Hospital continues to create unnecessary hazards for pedestrians and motorists.

But there is confusion over who is responsible for monitoring and mitigating the situation.

During peak times, hospital patrons are routinely parking along nearby streets.

Cars are also being parked daily on the verge of the Albany Highway near the hospital bus stop, dragging thick piles of rocks and sediment onto the footpath, and creating a hazard for elderly or infirm people.

The parking issues there are so bad that Australia Post has chosen to remove a post box because it was continually being taken out by cars.

But when we asked who is responsible for monitoring and deterring this parking, fingers were pointed in all directions.

Mayor Butterfield said while the City of Armadale was responsible for maintaining the footpath, “the hospital is responsible for the verge beside the Albany Highway”.

“The city has several concerns that the hospital does not seem to be managing the parking in this area, which is not designated for parking,” she said.

Conversely, a Main Roads spokesperson said the area “falls under a maintenance agreement with local government, with the verges delegated under the responsibility of the City of Armadale”.

While a spokesperson for the hospital said that verge is “crown land and is not subject to any current by-laws as it falls outside hospital land”.

“This is currently under review so that an appropriate by-law can be utilised,” the spokesperson continued.

These responses are not likely to appease locals who are angry that no one is taking control of the situation.

“I’m astounded no one is doing anything about the mess of the parking outside the hospital perimeter,” local resident Fiona said. “And it’s disappointing the post box has had to be removed.”

Mayor Butterfield said the city takes its job of maintaining the footpath outside the hospital seriously, as it is deemed a ‘priority’ area, and council workers responded to a recent request to clean the footpath “within a couple of hours”.

“Recognising the root cause of the path issue relates to vehicular traffic, the city is investigating the matter further to determine what actions are necessary to prevent the issue continuing,” she said.

While the Main Roads spokesperson said the issue of illegal parking had not been raised with them by the hospital or the City of Armadale, but that if it was they “would work with the relevant local government to enforce parking restrictions”.

But there are other parking issues at play too.

In January this year, the City of Armadale installed ‘No Parking’ signs on one side of Haslemere Drive to deter hospital users treating the street like an overflow parking lot and creating a blind narrow gauntlet for rubbish trucks and local traffic.

But there are questions about the effectiveness of this approach.

This car was illegally parked on the side of Haslemere Dr with the ‘No Parking’ signs installed

Mayor Ruth Butterfield said the city has received eight complaints of illegal parking since the signs were installed on January 31, and has issued two infringements.

“The city responds to complaints in this area but does not actively target this area on patrol,” she said, indicating that illegal parking there could be more widespread than is currently being reported.

The hospital is hoping that installing some new parking will alleviate these issues.

“We are always looking to utilise the land surrounding the hospital, and as part of that process, we are developing an additional 40 parking spaces which should be available by the end of the year,” the hospital spokesperson said.

There are also calls from the public for authorities to look at the very busy intersection between the hospital exit and the Albany Highway, with a blind spot for those turning right onto the highway a factor in a number of recent collisions.

Main Roads has said there were 26 reported crashes during the five years up to the end of 2023, with two requiring hospitalisations, and four medical attention.

The Examiner has personally witnessed three more since the new year began.

“It’s a horrendous junction because some people don’t know how to merge. It’s not safe, and there’s a real risk of injury or worse,” local resident Fiona said.

Main Roads said there are “currently no plans to upgrade this intersection”.

Mayor Butterfield said since the reduction of the speed limit to 60kph, the city had received “significantly less complaints”.

But the hospital is not satisfied that the problems have been rectified.

“Main Roads Department have been requested for the speed limit to be reduced from 60kph to 40kph between Ecko Road and Haslemere Drive on both sides of the Albany highway,” the spokesperson said.