15 August 2013

A parking ticket in my hood? Why?

I've lived at my address for the past 10 years or so - it is a rental unit. Normally I park in front of my place and have never experienced any problems.  Sometimes I park on the street (my place is one block from the corner) that is perpendicular to my street - in this case Cypress Street.

I dash out the other day to find a ticket on my windshield. Placed on my car on the 12th of August.  The next day I get a letter in the mail. My, my Vancouver City is very prompt with getting this out to me.

So I go onto the Vancouver.ca website to dispute the ticket.There is a nice little diagram on the site. So far it looks pretty straight forward.

I start the process. The first thing that comes up is a check box that asks me to agree to the following statement......

I understand that a dispute only determines whether the infraction occurred—it does not consider why it occurred. I also understand that the penalty cannot be reduced, and that I must pay an additional $25 if my dispute is not successful.

Of course this infraction occurred - but I'm curious to learn why they do not consider why it occurred.

There were other vehicles parked on Cypress (including my partner's which has has been parked longer than the three hours) and they were not ticketed. Was it because my car was so dirty? Was it because I was parked less than 3 doors away but not on my "official street"? Was it because the ticketing officer did not like 20 year old SAAB? Did the officer run my plate through their system and see that I lived fewer than 3 houses away? Was it because recently the city issued new parking regulations to one street beyond mine and the officers are roaming the area to get their quotas up? I recently saw a car towed away - I live on a very quiet residential street and while the person may have been parked a little to close to one of those traffic calming circular gardens, cars and bikes could still get easily around it, s/he was still towed. What is going on? Why are the over-the-top rule following by-law officers not using a bit of common sense and courtesy?

Now I'm being told to agree that the penalty cannot be reduced - so why am I disputing it if I cannot have this amount reduced to zero?  

And to add injury to insult - I must pay $25 if my dispute is not successful. Unfair.  So the ticket is $35.00. I have lived in this area since 1998. I think the ticket is wrong/unfair and a waste of my money. And now I have to invest time into figuring out how to resolve it.  Not only do I have to agree to statements I don't support (there is no other option), then I must talk to a screening officer and then attend a hearing if the screening officer and I don't see eye to eye and then, if the ticket is upheld I get the bonus of paying an extra $25.   What I like best is that nice red final #5 box - collection agency - so the assumption being made here is that I might not pay my ticket and the City of Vancouver will then forward it to a collection agency.

What will I do next? I will agree to what I don't agree. And see what happens.

Here is what I wrote in the 500 words or so that I was allowed:

Hi: I've lived at xxx W 14th since 1998. I park in front or at the side street on Cypress. I have 2 cars. One is in for repair so am using one that normally isn't here. It is registered to me at this address. I wasn't near corner or blocking driveways, passageways, et. I'm 3 doors from where car was ticketed. I often park on the side st so not to hog prime spots in front. Also Wxxth is busier now since parking regulations on xxth were changed causing more cars to park here. Please consider this. Thank you. 

I submitted and got this back. Again I am confused. Should I pay it right now? Wait till they review it and take the chance that they won't get around to it for at least 3 weeks and then get hit with a heavier fine? 

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