Stirling Point parks may be removed

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The entrance to Stirling Point, Bluff.

DOZENS of car parks may be removed near a popular tourist spot in Bluff, in a bid to improve safety.

Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is proposing to add no-stopping yellow lines on one side of State Highway 1, near Stirling Point.

If the proposal goes ahead, up to 34 car parks may need to be removed on the western side on a 150-metre strip of the highway on Marine and Ward Pdes.

NZTA safety engineers team lead Roy Johnston said the idea was in response to concerns raised by the Bluff 2024 Group about the many vehicles leaving Stirling Point, then stopping without indicating near the crest of a hill on the highway.

“This creates safety issues, as there isn’t enough room for highway traffic to safely pass because of vehicles parked on both sides of the highway,” he said.

Bluff 2024 Group spokeswoman Tammi Topi said she was “so pleased” the idea had been put out for public consultation after two years of pushing for change.

The group had made countless phone calls to NZTA and the Invercargill City Council (ICC), and also met staff at the site to discuss the issue several times since 2018.

“We were getting worried it would just get lost in the system.”

With Stirling Point growing in popularity with visitors, it was time the issue was resolved, she said.

“It reduces the road to a single lane when vehicles park there and it becomes a blind spot.”

While cars were parking along the strip, there was only a small space between the white line and the kerb, she said.

“You’re not really losing any parks because it’s not really a park [in the first place].”

Miss Topi hoped involved parties would be able to come up with a long-term solution to improve road safety without hindering visitor numbers.

Under the proposal, parking would remain on the eastern side of the highway, which would help off-set the loss of other parking, Mr Johnston said.

NZTA was seeking submissions on the proposal, which could be made in writing or emailed by December 18.

Once NZTA had considered feedback, a decision would be made in early 2021 on a bylaw change, potentially allowing the no-stopping lines to be installed.

The Bluff 2024 Group, Bluff Community Board and the ICC all supported the safety benefits of the proposal, he said.

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