Desperately-needed changes are being made to parking in Kenneth Rd, next to the Manly Swim Centre. But some problems have still not been addressed.
Parking at the swimming centre has been a hazardous activity since the pool's car park was closed to allow work to start on Manly Council's $19 M redevelopment of the site.
That forced swimmers to park on busy Kenneth Rd, with the council putting in angle parking on the south (pool) side of the street to try to accommodate the increased demand. But mixing parking manoeuvres with fast-flowing traffic provoked fury from the community and criticism from the Roads and Maritime Services. Making things worse was the decision to make parking front, rather than rear to kerb, putting people in harm's way while they unloaded their car boots.
After discussion between the RMS and the Council, several changes were presented to the Council's Traffic Committee in December.
Angle parking will be changed to rear to kerb and the speed limit on Kenneth Rd decreased from 60 to 50 kph. As well the council will build a pedestrian refuge in the middle of the road, and a turning loop at the eastern (pool) end of Kenneth Rd. Two disabled driver car spaces will be put in, and the northern footpath widened. Kerbs on both sides of the road will be realigned, however the road carriageway will not be widened as a result.
(Download file below for more detailed diagram of proposed changes).
But Manly Independent Councillor Barbara Aird says people's safety is still at risk insisting that parking should not be allowed on the north side of Kenneth Rd.
“Not only does it narrow the roadway, but it means swimmers - often mothers with kids and bags - need to cross the busy road. It's true that parking has always been permitted on that side of the road, but people were generally not parking there to go to the swimming pool. And if they were, they didn't have to contend with reverse parking manoeuvres, as well as through traffic”, Cr Aird explained.
The overflow of parking demand is also now affecting residential streets nearby where once quiet back streets are now parked out . Locals have criticised the Council for poor planning and wasting rate payers' money with the Kenneth Road debacle – now in its third reconfiguration. Many believe that the latest plan still does not address many safety concerns raised.
Are you a regular user of the pool or Kenneth Road? What do you think?
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.