My home of 18 years sits on a Vancouver corner near B.C. Children’s Hospital. A tidy middle class neighborhood dotted with parks, worlds away from the 10 minute drive downtown. Traffic circles calm the ebb and flow, night falls with silent invitation to coyote, skunk and racoon. Day breaks with time clock punctuality, proximity to the hospital dictates a 6 am scramble for precious free parking.
Parking trouble started with a distant rumble. Several years ago Car2Go marched into town – https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/car2go/ The city designated one side of the next block as “Car2Go Parking Only”, no big deal – I joined the car sharing club knowing one would be just down the street, half the cost of a taxi anytime my husband had our car. No skin off my nose, parking for our car and my work vehicle were guaranteed by “Resident Only” parking on our side of the street as well as the street running alongside the house. Across the street remained up for grabs, anyone determined to forsake sleep for a run at the 6 am parking dash might save $14.25 in the hospital lot.
Early last year geniuses at city hall obliterated 60 free street parking spots to build a bike lane. To be clear – this is wide residential street with generous sidewalks, an existing crosstown bike-way 9 blocks south, unremarkable daytime, negligible after dark traffic – but this is Vancouver. Mayor Gregor Robertson rides a bicycle to City Hall, oblivious to realities of life in one of the world’s most expensive cities.
Tolerant at first, I didn’t mind non resident hospital staff parking on restricted sides of the street. Restricted resident only parking on two sides of our corner could park a dozen vehicles, we only needed two – one in front, another around the corner. Imaginary propriety held for a while, I called it respect, parkers considered it testing the water.
Word of consequence free parking violation spread like wildfire. For over a year I countered with polite notes tucked under wiper blades of offending vehicles. ” We don’t mind you parking in a restricted zone but request you not park in front of our house” or “Please park at the alley so we can all get along” meant nothing. I’d played my cards, they knew I was bluffing. Months of home from work realization parking wouldn’t be close to home, relentless personal debates over tolerance vs spineless complacency later, I called bullshit on resident only parking violators.
Plate numbers in hand I dialed parking enforcement. Civic employee took my complaint with apparent sympathy, diligently confirming repeat offender plates with assurance of immediate action. Empowered, I left for work without a tinge of remorse, certain that news of a ticket or trip to the impound lot would spread as quickly as news my corner was a pushover. Next morning the cars were back. I called again. The third day I returned from work to one of the cars parked where I wanted to pull in. Noticing a driver at the wheel I assaulted the horn with vengeance, slammed my car in park and jumping out to a chorus of “what’s the problem you crazy bitch”. “This is my house! Get off my street” was enough to shut him down, he drove off without a murmur.
Only then did I notice a city vehicle down the street. A handful of perplexed onlookers watched me stomp toward his car shouting “are you parking enforcement?”. “Yes” the man replied. Conflict resolution kicked in allowing Bylaw enforcement man to hear my out with appropriate sprinkles of sympathy. He apologized for lack of civic action, suggesting I call again to request a “patrol” for offending vehicle plates, adding “permit only” parking was dealt with immediately, “resident only” was a little trickier.
Feeling better but not convinced, I walked home to Google Vancouver resident only parking and found this –
Resident Parking Only (RPO) zones
The RPO program was cancelled in January, 2010. Existing RPO zones have been grandfathered into the residential parking system, however, the City no longer creates or extends RPO zones. All new restricted parking is now permit based.
- Allow you to park on your block without a permit
- Are enforced on a complaint basis only
Where RPO regulations are ineffective, residents may request a change to their block regulations and be incorporated into a new residential permit parking plan.
WTF! “Where RPO regulations are ineffective residents may request a change to their block regulations and be incorporated into a new residential parking permit plan”. Heads up to the civic employee who takes my fourth complaint call tomorrow morning, all I can say is they’d better have a damn good grasp on “ineffective” because this resident only parking victim won’t be swallowing excuses.