By Fred Morris
The City should consider certain minor changes to parking restrictions. Major improvements are needed in the explanation of some parking policies.
In advance of holidays, the City usually sends out a Media Release announcing the closure of most City offices and facilities. The closure of Parking Authority Office is included in the announcement. These Media Releases are usually reported by media outlets. However, an explanation of how holidays affect existing parking restrictions is not mentioned in these Media Releases.
The Parking Authority considers Easter Monday, the Terry Fox Holiday, Remembrance Day, Boxing Day, and the eight Manitoba Statutory Holidays to be holidays that do not require meter payment. I tested one meter on Remembrance Day and verified that cash was not accepted. However, the unnecessary searching for cash, a credit card or a phone on a cold day is not user friendly.
A City email to me stated that regular weekday one- or two-hour time restrictions still applied on Remembrance Day. For instance people attending the Remembrance Day Services may have been ticketed for parking that exceeded one or two hours. Why can’t all the weekday restrictions be eliminated on holidays? In other words, treat all holidays as another Sunday.
Canada Day is on the Parking Authority’s list of holidays. However, when Canada Day is on Saturday or Sunday, the holiday is unofficially celebrated on the previous Friday or the following Monday. Whenever this occurs, the Parking Authority should clarify their position. Christmas Eve should be added to the holiday list. We used to live on Portage Avenue across from a church. I could not believe the ticketing of parked cars during the 5:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Mass.
There are a couple of non-holiday related parking problems. December is the first month of the three-month snow route parking ban. Between 2:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m., vehicles are not allowed to park or even temporarily stop on snow routes even if no snow clearing is taking place. The signs are properly placed. However, the signs don’t define the hours or the periods for which they are in effect.
Brandon has no trouble putting a proper definition on their snow route parking signs. Winnipeg should follow Brandon’s lead.
The City should consider not enforcing the overnight ban on New Year’s Eve. The Parking Authority should not be issuing tickets for people who are attending the once-a-year New Year’s celebrations.
Finally, how close can we park to a stop sign? There is no indication at many intersections. Stickers can be put on all existing Stop Signs to explain the rule.
The Parking Authority does a good job. The above changes should silence any cynics who believe the parking fines are a City Cash Cow.
Note: the 8 Manitoba Statutory Holidays are New Year’s Day, Louis Riel Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day
Editor’s note: I happen to be one of those cynics. I parked overtime during the Throne Speech so couldn’t renew for 10 minutes and was ticketed. That parking fine has escalated to $45 if paid in two weeks. Also, Fred, if you park within nine metres (29.5 ft.) of a “beacon, stop sign or TFC control sign, it’s $70. Parking within three metres (9.5 ft.) of a stop sign it’s $100. God help those who are bad at distance estimation! If you park in a handicapped spot, be prepared to dish out $300! That is a cash grab in my books. DD