Woman uses wheelie bins to save parking space on crowded Bearwood road as ‘situation is nightmare’

A woman has resorted to using wheelie bins to reserve a parking space outside her house on a busy street. Helen Barrell, 43, says parking is a “nightmare” on Gladys Road, in the Bearwood area of ​​the town in Smethwickin the Sandwell borough.

She says the road gets blocked up by parents and staff members at a nearby primary school which she claims doesn’t have any parking facilities. Ms Barrell, an author and librarian, also claims cars ‘speed’ down the road, despite it being a crowded road where vehicles park on either side, and fears there will be a “fatality”.

She has called on Sandwell Council to implement a 20-miles-per-hour speed limit on Gladys Road, and nearby Ethel Street, and enforce a one-way system. Ms Barrell, who lives with her partner and cat, spoke out after BirminghamLive reported how residents in another busy street, in Lozells, which is nearby, resorted to using items such as a bread tray, a paint pot and cones to ‘reserve parking’ too.

READ MORE:Bread tray, paint pot and cones plonked in Lozells road to ‘reserve parking’

Ms Barrell, who has lived in her home for 12 years, said she felt “rather seen” after the article was published as she told BirminghamLive she ‘reserves parking outside her house in Bearwood using her wheelie bins’. Ms Barrell has only done it a few times, she says, which was when contractors carried out work on her house.

She said: “I had a window replaced, and I couldn’t leave the contractors to carry it all the way up the road otherwise it risked being broken,” she said. “And they needed access to their tools while working.”

Helen Barrell
Helen Barrell

Ms Barrell says her neighbors have been “good about it, and believes they would “no doubt reserve spaces for contractors using their bins” if they needed to. “It’s just something that we all have to do occasionally,” she said.

Outlining how her road gets clogged up, she said: “The road I live in is right by a primary school which doesn’t have any parking for staff, so they all park on my road and other roads nearby. And at school dropping- off and picking-up time, parents all try to park in the road too.

“It’s a nightmare for residents as there’s just nowhere to park, and it worries me that this situation is played out all over the region and in fact the country. I am concerned for the children – it’s very unsafe, especially when people have to reverse a long way to find a passing place when they find another car heading their way.”

She continued: “Another problem is that parking on my road is on both sides, which renders the street one way. But it’s still meant to be a two-way street and some drivers go much too fast down this road too – and it’s on a hill.

Helen Barrell
Helen Barrell

“I’ve contacted Sandwell Council, saying this street needs to be 20mph and one-way. It seems crazy to me that a street so near a school isn’t 20mph already, but it looks as if, because no one’s been mown down and killed yet, it’s not a priority.

“It seems dreadful to me that we have to wait until someone dies before anything is done.” Ms Barrell also rued the fact that Sandwell Council is reportedly installing an electric charging point at the end of her road, which she believes will cause ‘confrontations’.

She said: “People who live in terraces without off-street parking will find it incredibly difficult” to charge their cars. “Sandwell Council are installing one charge point at the end of my road, and I dread to think of the battles that will ensue as people fight over that space.”

In response to the story, a Sandwell Council spokesperson said: “In recent years Sandwell Council’s highways team has worked hard to improve safety across the borough and investigate and implement road safety measures. All one way requests in the borough are always investigated in detail, as they can have both benefits and disadvantages.

“The area around Gladys Road and Ethel Street is already being considered for a 20mph zone in the current year’s programs of road safety works. Sandwell Council is listening to local communities and will be providing additional funds to consider a wider range of community requests for road safety measures this year.”

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