Car park accident raises questions

AN ACCIDENT inside the Croydon Street multi-storey car park at Cronulla has led to renewed calls for something to be done to aid traffic flow in the Sutherland Shire Council-owned building.

An elderly man will appear in Sutherland Local Court later this month in relation to the pre-Christmas crash which left two people seriously injured (see story below right).

The upgraded car park has been widely criticised since it opened in late 2009, mostly over the fact there is only one entry and exit point.

This means an accident or delay on a lower floor can result in scores of motorists being trapped inside the car park.

Police were called to the car park to aid traffic flow after it opened and a member of the public used garbage bins to block the entrance last February to allow motorists to exit.

The council has employed a traffic controller in the past during peak periods to ensure cars could leave the car park and a gate between the ground and first floor of often closed at busy times.

The car park was the subject of a promise before the last September's local government election when unsuccessful Shire Watch Independents candidate Damon Frith erected a sign at the entrance promising to fix gridlock.

At the time, former councillor Lorraine Kelly said Shire Watch and Labor councillors unsuccessfully moved for funding to investigate how to fix the car park while former mayor Carol Provan said gridlock in the car park was "a major problem" and money was set aside in last year's budget to find a solution.

Civic Videos Cronulla proprietor Lilian Wilde has long called for the council to improve the car park's design and install a quick-exit from the upper floors using a laneway at the rear.

"It's a major problem and [the council] are not doing anything about it," she said.

She blamed bad design for the behaviour of some drivers.

"People get irate in there and you can understand it," she said. "You see people driving the wrong way all the time. They come down the up ramp and they drive the wrong way on the lower level."

She said a quick entry to level three or above to miss the bottleneck on the lower floors was another option.

A council spokeswoman said the December 19 accident was managed directly by the police, who reported it as being caused by "driver error". She said the car park was not closed during the accident and vehicles in that section were directed out without causing delays elsewhere.

The spokeswoman said that following a review last year to investigate traffic flows, parking times and provide recommendations to upgrade the car park, improvements were implemented, including making the up and and down ramps from level 1B two-way.

"This allows drivers to exit the car park without obstructing people from accessing the upper car park levels. Work is under way to lengthen these lanes to better accommodate the greater vehicle activity on level 1B," she said.

Elderly driver to face court

AN ELDERLY man will appear in Sutherland Local Court later this month in relation to a serious accident in the Croydon Street multi-storey car park just before Christmas.

Two people were injured, one seriously, about 1pm on Friday, December 19, after the elderly driver allegedly lost control of his car.

Miranda police Inspector Rick Johnson said police allege the man, 94, was reversing his car out of a parking spot when the accident happened.

‘‘He has reversed out of that parking spot and he has lost control of the vehicle and collided with two pedestrians. One pedestrian received severe leg injuries,’’ he said.

Inspector Johnson said a woman, 77, suffered leg injuries while a man, 59, suffered ‘‘significant muscular injuries that required surgery’’.

An Ambulance Service of NSW spokeswoman said a woman who was unconscious when they arrived was taken to Sutherland Hospital, suffering shock.

She said reports suggested the man was pinned by the legs between two cars before he was freed and taken to St George Hospital in a serious condition.

The driver was later charged with negligent driving causing grievous bodily harm and is due to appear in Sutherland Local Court on February 21.

How could the car park be improved?

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