More drivers in Halifax are getting slapped with fines over a matter of millimetres — an uptick in ticketing this summer that one resident calls “predatorial.”
The number of drivers ticketed in the past month for parking more than 150 millimetres, or six inches, from the curb has more than doubled to 639 from 242 compared with the same time last year.
When Pam Sullivan’s husband received one of these tickets last week, she told CBC’s Information Morning they were “bewildered.”
“I think he was maybe nine [inches] from the curb, or something like that,” she said.
“I’ve driven here all my life, I’ve never seen this kind of ticketing. I’ve started around our house calling it predatorial ticketing.”
‘Sends the wrong message’
Parking enforcement duties in the municipality have been performed by a company called G4S Secure Solutions since November.
While the city is not directly administering parking tickets, Sullivan said they share some of the blame.
“It’s ultimately the responsibility of the city to know what these [officers] are up to,” she said.
“Why give people a ticket because they’re an inch or two past six inches? It’s not a safety issue at that point, it’s a ‘how can I slap a ticket on this person,’ which is not how you like to feel as a citizen heading downtown … I just think it sends the wrong message to everybody.”
Maintaining flow of traffic
Brendan Elliott, a spokesperson for the municipality, said the focus of enforcement is on safety and encouraging the flow of traffic through downtown.
“We’re asking the parking enforcement officers to use common sense in giving out tickets.”
– Brendan Elliott, city spokesperson
Drivers have a responsibility to understand the Motor Vehicle Act, he said.
Sullivan said she’s not arguing that regulations in the act shouldn’t be enforced, but said that residents should be warned beforehand.
“You have got to inform people, you just can’t start when nobody has any idea that this even exists,” she said.
Last month, Elliott admitted there have been “growing pains” with G4S Secure Solutions after one parking enforcement officer issued more than 17 tickets in one day for drivers who failed to turn their front wheels toward the curb.
Those tickets were subsequently cancelled and municipal officials advised the company that tickets should only be issued when there’s a legitimate safety concern.
Elliott said after the city registered a similar jump in tickets for parking too far from the curb, they asked the company to tone down its approach.
“We can’t tell them what to do, [but] we’re asking the parking enforcement officers to use common sense in giving out tickets,” he said.
“All of these are offences but we want them to use their judgment in always looking at a situation and ask themselves, ‘Is this a safety concern?’ Because that’s where our ultimate priority is.”