Lovely early Christmas present from the city

To the City of Ottawa:

I drive down to Knox Presbyterian Church once a month to volunteer at a supper for the homeless. I park on Lisgar Street, at the end of the street just before it becomes a cul-de-sac at  Lisgar Collegiate Institute.

When I arrived at 5:30pm tonight, it was dark.

I saw the white lines indicating parking spots on the road, and I slid my car into one of them.

I’ve been parking there for years.  Why would I check to see if the green  circle parking sign has suddenly changed?

I come back two and a half hours later to find a 50 dollar ticket on my windshield.

Since I last came down there, a little red no-parking sign has sprung up – with no change to the white lines on the road.

How about a warning next time you make a change like this, instead of a ticket?


7 thoughts on “Lovely early Christmas present from the city

  1. I had never had a parking ticket in my life before I moved to Ottawa. Since moving here, within about 3 years, I got 3 parking tickets, for 3 different things. In each case, I looked to make sure I was allowed to park there. One time the sign hidden,and one time there was a series of signs that was confusing, and I misunderstood. Another time, there weren’t any signs around, but I later found out there was a by-law that we are all just expected to know.

    The City of Ottawa loooooves making money off of this.

  2. Public transit users pay a direct user fee for OC Transpo and Para Transpo in the form of a fare, while there are no road user fees for using the automobile. If you can afford an automobile, which according to CAA is $22/day, you can afford to pay for any motor vehicle user fees.

  3. You pay for the upkeep of OC Transpo when you pay your bus fare, you’re not paying for the roads. We all pay “road user fees” when we pay taxes on fuel, income tax, etc. You are not paying more for the roads as someone taking the bus. In fact, bus passes are tax deductible. Car owners also pay for parking a lot of the time and that goes straight into city coffers. I’m not sure how you think your fare to OC Transpo equals paying for the roads while the income tax, parking fees, and tax on gas paid by car owners equals nothing at all. Apparently you encourage handing out arbitrary parking tickets out of some self-righteous view about public transit being better than car ownership. Be sure to remember that the next time a car owner gives you a lift.

  4. Ignorance of by-laws, just like provincial or federal laws, is not a legally valid excuse of innocence in a court of law, albeit it is a mitigating factor.

    A small percentage of the total road and highway surface is used by public transit, and an even smaller percentage of the anthropogenic deterioration of the road and highway surface is due to public transit. The user fee car owners pay for parking is a parking user fee, rather than a road user fee (i.e., not a direct road user fee) and there are instances where parking is free, as mentioned. The parking fees are only sent to city coffers for on-street and municipal parking lots.
    Based on anecdotal evidence, the city of Calgary is much more likely to distribute tickets for by-law infractions, including for j-walking, than Ottawa is, and I have a strong suspicion that cities which are more densely populated than Ottawa, where space is at a greater premium and offer superior public transit, tickets are more freely distributed.

    The automobile industry is subsidized through minimum parking requirements (which results in an oversupply of parking and corresponding low cost of parking, and inefficient use of the land), below-market parking and insurance rates (I would define “below-market” as less than what someone is willing to pay), below-cost-recovery property tax rates of commercial parking lots (Mike Harris, for example, instituted tax ratios which did not permit parking lots to be charged property taxes greater than 1.1 times the residential property tax rate, even though the land is being extremely inefficiently used as there are no buildings on such properties), health care costs (collisions, sedentary lifestyles (21 700 direct deaths in Canada per year), stress, air and noise pollution), congestion ($6 billion annually in Toronto), the capital, operational and maintenance of roads, highways and bridges, development charges of high-density housing used for new roads, even though they require minimal or no new roads, tax deductibility of the capital, operational and maintenance of vehicles, the bailout of automobile companies, the “cash for clunkers” programs, the gas tax is not indexed to inflation, below-market impound fees, too high a threshold for impoundment, ineffective driver’s testing especially for the elderly, monitoring and enforcement.

    In the case of the most populous municipalities, such as Toronto, a significant proportion of the motor vehicles are registered at addresses outside Toronto or Ontario, meaning their owners are not contributing property taxes or income taxes for the capital, operational and maintenance costs of the roads, highways and bridges (and typically their property taxes are significantly less than if they were based in Toronto). A fair proportion of motor vehicle users commute from Gatineau to Ottawa, even though they don’t pay property taxes or income taxes for roads, highways or bridges.

    Based on anecdotal evidence, a significant proportion of violations of automobile laws are not penalized. For examples, speeding, talking on the phone while driving, intoxicated while driving, running red lights, driving without a valid driver’s license, slowing when construction or emergency workers are present, gridlock at intersections, not losing one’s driver’s license for significant violations (fines or otherwise), stopping at yield signs, idling by-law, fraudulent use of handicapped identification, tinted windows, exceeding parking limitations, pulling over to let emergency vehicles pass, road racing, littering on the highway, permitting buses to shift from the bus stop lane to the regular lane, blocking sidewalks, slowing in school zones.

    There is a loss of number and quality of work hours as time is used inefficiently (one cannot normally work while driving), and poor health. Collisions also incur costs associated with police, firemen and congestion. The automobile also encourages people to replace active modes of transportation (walking, cycling) with passive transportation (public transit, automobiles), due to the (perceived or real) dangers of interaction between different modes of transportation and noise pollution, resulting in a cascade effect of further automobile costs.

    The direct cost to the owner of the automobile represents a small percentage of the total cost of the automobile, therefore it is not expensive.

    Roads, highways and bridges are not sustainable under the current model of funding, as evidenced by general poor quality and safety concerns in many jurisdictions. In addition, certain municipalities seem to be willing to use debt for road maintenance but not for public transit. For example, the 2012 city of Toronto budget proposed that 86% of the road funding is obtained through loans, while 0% of the Toronto Transit Commission budget is obtained through loans.

    (I admit I disapprove of the automobile more than anything else)

  5. Hi Will,
    I had a similar “present” today parking at the same place I’ve been parking parked for 2 years on Meadowlands across Deer Park but it was $90. No “NEW” signs as I thought the city does when signs are changed. I felt like I was tricked. Yes, it’s true that I didn’t even look at the sign why would I if I’ve been parking their 3 times a week for 2 years. What are you planning to do in your case? As for me, I am going to dispute the ticket. I think it would respectful towards citizens to place “NEW” sings if there any changes in parking or traffic sings.

    • Varya,
      I went down to the provincial court office at City Hall yesterday. It turns out that instead of pleading not guilty (and going through a long process, I’m not sure what exactly that entails) you can “explain” your ticket.
      You go into a little room, you tell them what happened — and in my case, they took 50 per cent off the ticket, from $50 to $25.

      I also emailed the city, and I’ve gotten feedback right away from the traffic department. In my case, they aren’t getting rid of the white lines because it’s a temporary change for snow removal. I am continuing to argue for a “New” sign – I agree with you, it’s a good idea.
      Here is the address to email: Let me know how you fare!

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