Gallery of Vancouver night captured by my husband over the past few weeks –
Gallery of Vancouver night captured by my husband over the past few weeks –
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 –
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.
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.
Vancouver B.C. has declared a salty state of emergency. Retail outlets sold out snow shovels and ice melt weeks ago. Ads on Craigslist offer ice melt salt for a staggering $20 – 40 a bag. Desperate citizens resort to crow bar, hammer and axe sidewalk clearing. Not once in four decades of calling Vancouver home can I recall free salt relief stations at fire-halls across the city.
Watch what happens – first clip, a minute that speaks for itself. Second video, added commentary of the evening news.
At first one might confuse our salt shortage with images of starving refugees swarming aid stations for grains of rice. I shudder to think of behavior in an actual emergency.
Nature chooses to ignore perfectly reasonable requests to follow rain forest winter rules. Three inches of snow fell this afternoon, fresh frosting on streets besieged since her first tantrum December 5, 2016. At a loss to comprehend why she’s so mad, I’m willing to accept Nature might have overlooked the courteous reminder sent a few days ago.
Looking down my block at 7 pm New Years Eve.
You win Mother Nature – well played, hope you had a good laugh. All we want is our rain back. Enough is enough, what purpose is served by stubbornly beating your chest? Why inflict record low sub-zero temperatures for the next five days, followed by another snowfall warning on Friday? Surely you recognize the folly of coming on too strong. Your strength is the element of surprise, ours is the ability to adapt.
Make no mistake Nature, evidence of adaptability abounds. Shock and awe advantage wears thin, weeks of trial and error threaten your impetuous game. Calamity of your meddling has passed, with all due respect you teeter on the brink of minor inconvenience. Stay if you must but understand with each passing day indifference to rain forest winter propriety grows.
The sidewalk is shoveled and dusted in salt to repel ice. We’ve figured out how to get to work on time, with our without a functional transit system. Snow talk no longer dominates conversation, nor do we fixate on probabilities of further accumulations. Truth is, I say “enough with the snow” out of habit – rain forest winter is managing quite well.
Contrary to assumption not all Canadians thrive in winter’s slap. Those of us in south western British Columbia expect winter to follow rules. Rain forest winter needn’t be complicated, decency dictates adherence to basic guidelines – Relentless rain falls from November to February. Every six weeks or so Arctic outflow overpowers Pacific sogginess. Brief sunshine averts total despair. Temperatures plunge below freezing, we speculate on probability of rain or snow. Occasionally timing breaks monotonous rain, delivering just enough snow to ignite frenzied sales of snow shovels, salt and winter tires. Enough to cripple public transit, close schools, unleash ice bombs from suspension bridges and occupy local media until rain washes it away. Residents tolerate inconvenience because rules stipulate winter has an obligation to keep snow on the mountains.
December 5, 2016 the first measurable snow since February 2014 invaded my space. Rain forest rules said it could stay a few days, snow made other plans. After three frosty weeks I say enough! Walking home from work tonight required nimbleness of a cat. Are you nuts rain forest winter? Fifteen harrowing minutes to walk two blocks, each step calculated to avert calamity. Thick ice, thin ice, black ice. Ice in the air, ice on the wind, ice locked snow. WTF! Photos snapped along the way can’t begin to illustrate treacherous conditions but take my word – this rain forest winter is not normal.
Children’s Hospital parking lot near my house.
Looking down my street.
More car share vehicles than any city in the world is moot if they can’t pull onto a street. Down the block Car2Go suggests angle parking – it isn’t. I personally abandoned the second car four days ago, no match for thick ice under the snow.
Dark of night transforms deserted streets into vibrant canvases. All images in this gallery, taken by my husband over the past few weeks in Vancouver B.C.
A gallery of my husband’s photographs – road trip Vancouver to Battleford, Saskatchewan – August 2016.