A retired bank manger and driving instructor has hit out at the confusion caused by parking signs in Portadown.
Raymond Johnston said he finds it difficult to understand why there is a small enclave of restricted parking (14 spaces) among a host of unrestricted spaces at Castle Street.
Mr Johnston was “stung” for the laid-down £45 fine when he mistakenly parked for four hours in the restricted spaces which front the row of shops just before the left-hand turning into Wilson Street en route to the train station.
“I suppose it’s a few months since I parked there and there were no problems then,” he said. “But it seems totally ludicrous that a handful of restricted spaces are in there among the scores of free spaces. It’s a puzzle.” He added that the “minuscule signs misinforming the motorist” were hard to decipher.
“In the area where I parked, there is a small sign which says ‘No return within 60 mins’ and there is another one which simply says ‘Parking 30 yards’ and doesn’t say whether it’s restricted or all-day. It’s all very confusing.”
The problem arose when he parked in the ‘restricted’ zone last Friday (“as I had done for about 30 years on and off”) and headed for the train to Belfast. “I admit my Nissan Micra was there for four hours,” he said. “Naturally, the red coats swooped and I’ll be paying the £45 fine okay, as waiting any longer would mean £90 - and that’s extortion. It’s risen 50 per cent lately and that’s rather steep.”
Mr Johnston added, though, that the whole area should be made all-day parking, “as there is loads of space in that area. The trouble is, that - with Portadown having loads of parking spaces - the DRD is turning the screw for more money from the harassed motorist, especially with charging. The recent decision to charge at William Street, Magowan Buildings and West Street is silly, given that car parks - like the one at the Bridge Street car park near Castle Street - are virtually empty all the time.”
A Roads Service spokesperson said, “Limited waiting ensures the turnover of spaces which can help businesses and improve the accessibility of an area such as Castle Street. Anyone issued with a Penalty Charge Notice has the right for an independent appeal.”
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