ORANGE City Council could backflip on a decision to enforce a no-parking zone in Forest Road in front of the Orange Health Service in a bid to free-up more car parking spaces.
Council’s traffic committee has asked councillors to consider removing the signs between the hospital’s main gate and the gate opposite the cafe allowing drivers to legally park alongside Forest Road.
The signs were installed in 2011, less than two months after the hospital opened, after a report to council found the makeshift car park was a safety hazard for drivers entering and leaving the hospital and for pedestrians using the footpath.
But drivers have largely ignored the no parking signs and continue to risk an $87 fine.
Since then, overturning the no-parking zone has long been touted as a solution to the hospital’s parking woes, most recently by Cr Ron Gander.
Council spokesman Allan Reeder said it had been difficult for the council to enforce the no parking zone because it was a rural road and most drivers were not regular visitors to the hospital.
“Lots and lots of people go there and don’t go back so the long-term educational benefit of no-stopping zone was not terribly effective,” he said.
Mr Reeder said Forest Road had been made wider since the no-stopping zone was enforced easing concerns about nose-in vehicles backing onto the road.
Members of the traffic committee also expressed their concern about the former drive-in site opposite the health service being used for parking without sufficient safeguards being put in place for pedestrians to cross Forest Road.
Mr Reeder said the drive-in site was unlikely to be made into a car park as it was privately owned.
Councillors will decide if the signs should be removed at tonight’s council meeting.