City council receives complaints about tickets, timing

The City of Calgary is examining the hours of snow-route parking bans after receiving feedback that the 6 a.m. schedule is interfering with Calgarians heading to work.

The current program requires that cars parked along major roadways and bus routes — identified by street signs — be moved after five centimetres of snow has collected on city streets, or a snow event has been declared.

Ward 9 Ald. Gian-Carlo Carra deviated from city council’s agenda on Jan. 14 to describe a “logistic nightmare” for early morning commuters, saying that they are heading to their jobs hours in advance to accommodate snow-clearing routes.

“The suggestion came to me that 6 a.m. is really disruptive to people’s lives,” Carra says. “If it was 7 a.m. it could be a normal workday, and they wouldn’t have to do anything differently.”

Snow is removed from city streets after a storm.

Photo courtesy of the City of Calgary.The ban recently resulted in the ticketing of more than 900 Calgarians after the snowstorm last Friday when vehicles were not moved by the early start time.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi was responsive to Carra’s proposal, saying that while the program has been very successful — statistics show snow clearance rates are 30 to 40 per cent faster when the parking ban is in effect — the timing, “perhaps does not make as much sense for citizens.”

“This question of, ‘can we do this a little bit later?’ is a very live one,” he says.

While no decisions were made about the parking bans, Nenshi maintained that city council is aware of the issues and that the program’s hours will be weighed with safety going forward.

“As we continue to think about becoming more citizen-centred, this is a really nice case study for us to figure out how the program is assisting people rather than hindering them.

“Whether the inconvenience that people go through — and it is a significant inconvenience, there’s no denying that — is paid off in terms of increased safety for them,” he says.

To be notified in the event of a snow route parking ban, Calgarians can sign up for email alerts and download BlackBerry, Android and iPhone apps here.

hkost@cjournal.ca