Parking enforcement, ab absurdo

Neighbours stood grumbling at the corner this morning. One had found a ticket on their car, and they were trying to figure it out. “Count how many feet!” said one. “What’s a meter again?” asked the other. “How do owe know if it’s nine feet or nine meters?” one more said. “There’s no sign!”

Not that, though, Toronto parking signs are known for clarity: No parking unless it’s November, or June, in the first half of the month or the last, before 9 a.m. or after 1 p.m. unless it’s between 3 and 4 p.m. hiding the No Stopping sign. The complexity of these things is legendary. (Miss Wilmut, I think I need to go back to grade school again.)Example of a bylaw officer employed to do stra...

My uncle, in his latter years, simply resigned himself to it, announcing he wasn’t going to get upset about these things anymore. It’s the cost of an urban car, he said. While that approach may be good for one’s blood pressure, it doesn’t work at the broader level. Sure, metered parking and other small burdens are the price for a questionable urban form of transport, but when the daily administrations of the law are unclear and seemingly capricious, it does a greater community harm. It builds cynical and disengaged citizenry.

I normally let these things roll, but I too recently got stung by such pedantry.

One of my daughter’s friends biked over to our house early Saturday morning to borrow our family car (yes, not all urban dwellers own one) to take a load of friends to go do day work on an organic farm. She returned the car after sundown, parking it at the end of our block by an unseen fire hydrant. Yup, oops!

For that though, we got two tickets, one a little before midnight and the second just after 7 a.m. of the Sunday morning. Officially, two different dates, yes, but, please, only one “sleep.”

Yes, we can fight the tickets, but the damage is done. The apparently mercenary approach, this “over-policing,” breeds discontent.

It also provides an insight to a middle-class community as to how some communities “known to police” fall away from us.

(To rub salt in the wound, while this all went on, my son’s rear bicycle wheel was stolen.)

Parking signs, Parking tickets, pah!

Top Ten Rules of Parking, learned by experience

Are hospital visitors targeted for violations, or are we just negligent roadhogs?

The parking spot that become illegal, CJAD, Montreal, 2013

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