Notebook

NOTEBOOK: City staff want your feedback on parking time limits

In some Stittsville neighbourhoods (especially the newer subdivisions), parking is a massive bone of contention.  There were 268 parking bylaw compliants in Stittsville during the first half of the year, the most of any bylaw category.

City of Ottawa traffic services staff are in the process of updating the parking bylaw, and are looking for feedback on a specific part of the rulebook on parking time limits.

Currently, unless there’s a sign indicating otherwise, you can park for a maximum of three consecutive hours between 7am-7pm on residential streets.  City staff are looking for feedback on a proposal to increase the limit to six hours, but only on weekends and holidays. You can fill out a survey here, email parkingrule/reglementdestationnement@ottawa.ca or call 613-842-3622.

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My take: In a perfect world we wouldn’t need to legislate parking time limits in the suburbs, but unfortunately a lot of vehicle owners lack common courtesy and common sense when it comes to street parking. So a time limit is a probably reasonable solution, but it has problems.

I’ve heard about people getting ticketed for having their car on the street while their driveway is being paved, or their in-laws getting fined while they’re visiting for the weekend, completely unaware of the rule.   (Make sure you tell your guests: “Thanks for visiting this weekend, I’ll set a timer for three hours and when it goes off you can re-park your vehicle at least 300 metres away so you don’t get a ticket.”)

By all means, ticket the junker that’s been abandoned for three days straight, or the truck that’s parked too close to the intersection and blocking sight lines.  But if there’s no safety issue, and no ongoing harm to neighbours, bylaw officers should opt for a warning first before the $40 ticket.

If it’s not too expensive to administer, I’d also like to see a system set up to allow once-in-a-while permits for extensions to the 3-hour or 6-hour rules. The City has something similar for overnight winter parking, so maybe they could piggy back on that process.

You can read all about the myriad of current restrictions and fines here. It’s enough to make you never want to park on a street again.

(Oh, and in let’s also continue to push for better transit and walkable communities, so that maybe someday we won’t have so many cars looking for parking spots!)


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