Parking Ticket Woe

Well, I got a parking ticket. I ranted about snow removal not too long ago and someone in the comments suggested that the city would be sure to give me a parking ticket but God forbid they actually enforce the snow removal bylaws.

Anonymous commenter, you are a prophet. Please tell me the winning lotto numbers.  

Don’t get me wrong, I was parked illegally and I’m not going to argue that fact now that I realize what the bylaw is. But I’m pleading ignorance here. I was parked on a side street off 12th, in a spot I pulled into as someone was pulling out. It was the last space before the corner, and there were no signs to indicate one way or the other if I could park there. Also, the curb was not painted. The street / curb is slightly cut away, and I (wrongly) assumed that parking was permitted within 6 metres of the stop sign because of that cutaway. It’s that way in different areas of the city, so I extrapolated. For example, in front of the video store I patronize, I can park similarly although hindsight tells me there is a sign there, so I suppose that’s different.

In any event, I was ticketed less than 10 minutes after I started shopping. About 15 minutes after I parked, the clerk mentioned sadly that someone was getting towed. I asked for a description of the vehicle and I felt my throat drop into my stomach when she described the vehicle  I was driving. It so happens that I had borrowed my mother in law’s car that day.How awful would that have been to not only have a car you are operating towed, but for that car to be your mother in law? I ran outside and the tow operator was kind enough to stop what he was doing as he hadn’t yet hooked the car up, and if I had a loaf of homemade banana bread to reward him with, I would have.  In my world, baking is currency.

I’ll pay the $50. Even though I’m on mat leave and have no funds in the mad money jar for things like this after my recent splurge, I’ll pay it. I feel morally obligated to do so. I realize that the city operates on revenue generated by things like parking tickets and dog licenses and I like my community and want to be a part of its sustainability and growth. I also don’t want my mother in law’s car marked as a naughty non-payer.

But that doesn’t mean I am not furious that no less than three residents in a one block radius of my house were permitted to IGNORE THEIR SNOWY SIDEWALKS for close to an entire month, and instead let them turn to sheets of extremely dangerous ice. It doesn’t mean I’m not frustrated that I think I am the only person in my neighbourhood who cleans up after my dog if the crap landmines are any indication. It doesn’t mean that I don’t get annoyed when someone’s off leash dog comes bounding up to me as their owner shouts “It’s okay, he’s friendly!” as if that makes it okay to have their dog off leash. It’s hard to blame residents – no one thinks they are doing anything wrong because there is no city presence to tell them otherwise. Its like the Broken Window Theory that tells us that clean and tidt begets clean and tidy. It’s about consistency and being fair across the board, not having one department running with an iron fist and the rest being given no budgets for enforcement. 

Anyway, I called the city’s parking bylaw office yesterday, for two reasons. One, I wanted to pay over the phone with my credit card, and two, I wanted to know what I have to do to request that they install a sign or paint the curb or something to indicate that parking is not permitted in that spot. I shop at that merchant a lot, and I know I am not the only one who has gotten ticketed and almost towed from there. It’s 100% unlikely I will make the same mistake again, but I’m sure that someone else will be ticketed and towed. I had to leave a message on their voice mail and my message went something like this:  “Hi, My name is Jen. I got a parking ticket this past weekend and had a question about it, so if someone could return my call to 604 XXX XXXX, I’d greatly appreciate it, thank you.”

Polite. Concise. Informative. I’m good at leaving messages. 

Here’s something that will likely shock absolutely no one: my call has yet (two full days later) to be returned. Perhaps if the message I had left was “I want to pay my ticket” I’d get action. But I’m doubly annoyed that now its apparently up to me to chase after the parking services office to pay a ticket.

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3 Replies to “Parking Ticket Woe”

  1. I emailed the city about the fact that you can’t pay your tickets online a few months ago – got a very fast reply with a note saying this was a capability they plan to introduce in the new year (that would be the one that’s already started).

    My car got towed because the bumper overhung a six-foot-wide crosswalk – cost me almost $200 – I was NOT blocking the crosswalk or impeding traffic in any but the most technical way – it’s frustrating – bylaws can be enforced blindly, even-handedly or compassionately. I’ll take a combo of even-handedly and compassionately for 500 please, Alex.

  2. I once caught a parking bylaw person measure how close a bumper was to a curb. 3 inches to close = tickets (quayside). I also saw an RV parked on Quayside for three years straight with no one using it except to replace the insurance sticker on the plates. No Tickets.


  3. Ruth: I believe the online payments are something the city is looking at implementing when they relaunch the website. There’s currently an RFP out for the work, so it will very likely be some time before the functionality is available. It is on the city’s radar though.

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