New parking program attempts to minimize illegal parking in handicapped stalls

All it takes is a blue painted curb to minimize the number of tickets issued for people parking illegally in handicap zones.

Troy McLeod, the director of Roads and former head of Calgary Parking Authority says that the Curb the Tickets project in downtown Calgary helps keep motorists and fine charges at bay.

“We tried blue paint on the curb initially on 9th Ave SW and as we did the [test], we found 74 per cent reduction in accessible parking tickets.”

Curb the Tickets project was launched to help parkers observe handicap signs with the help of blue painted curbs in order to minimize tickets issued for people parking illegally.

Adrian Mrdeza, Public Relations Advisor at the Calgary Parking Authority, says that Curb the Tickets was launched downtown May 2014 with 10 designated curbside stalls painted bright blue. This number increased again by 10 in October, bringing the total to twenty blue stalls.

Over 7000 tickets for illegal parking in handicap zones were issued in 2013, one year prior to implementing the painted curb pilot says McLeod.

The parking fine is $200 paid within 10 days, and $300 paid after 30 days. However, with Curb the Tickets, McLeod says the program could have potentially reduced written fines, as there was aTroy McLeod, the director of Roads and former head of Parking Authority says Curb the Tickets in downtown Calgary helps to keep motorists and fine charges at bay. McLeod says, “we tried blue paint on the curb initially on 9 Ave SW and as we did the pilot, we found 74 per cent reduction in accessible parking tickets.”

Photo by Sabina Seyidova 28 per cent reduction in the total number of tickets issued in 2014 compared to 2013.

While fine reduction is a significant purpose behind Curb the Tickets, ensuring available and convenient parking spaces for those who need them is also a top priority.

Myles Dyck, former manager of Calgary Parking Authority and current manager of Business Services in the Department of Roads says, “the ultimate goal was to make sure those spaces on the street were available for the individuals who actually need that space and have the valid placard on their vehicle.

Six months was needed for testing after which they were able to implement the program. To “I was excited to see [that] those stalls would truly be available for those who need it, and I think that was a rewarding thing to observe.”

– Troy McLeod, director of Roads and former head of Calgary Parking Authority further solidify their efforts, McLeod says Curb the Tickets works closely with traffic divisions and Calgary Parking Authority to improve accessible parking for the city.

McLeod says they tried a test pilot of 10 locations and evaluated it over a series of months. They found a significant improvement to the compliance of accessible parking stalls, which has led Curb the Tickets to be implemented to the rest of downtown.

While various permissions were needed to see this project through, Dyck says, “there was nothing out of the ordinary as far as challenges went in getting this project underway.”

“You got to determine who is going to do the work, who is going to maintain it going forward, and which locations they are going be installed at. Once those things were in place then the project went forward,” says Dyck.

Curb the Tickets project was launched to help parkers observe handicap signs with the help of blue painted curbs in order to minimize tickets issued for people parking illegally.

Photo by Sabina Seyidova McLeod personally monitors the curbs, and says he’s seen different reactions from parkers as they pull into the zone and almost immediately leave. “I was excited to see [that] those stalls would truly be available for those who need it, and I think that was a rewarding thing to observe,” McLeod says.

Dyck says that parking enforcement officers also notice individuals being more conscious of where they park, especially if they don’t have a suitable permit. Once noticing the blue painted curb, they immediately move their vehicles.

McLeod continues to observe Curb the Tickets, and says its so-far success will improve Calgary’s community. “I want to just remind people to leave the spaces available for those who truly need it and look carefully of where they park.”

sseyidova@cjournal.ca 

Editor’s note: The Calgary Journal has corrected paragraph 5 of this story to eliminate an erroneous attribution of the statement in that paragraph to Shelly Trigg, Parking Authority communications manager. The statement was in fact made by Adrian Mrdeza, Parking Authority public relations advisor. The Calgary Journal’s reporter misunderstood the origin of the remarks conveyed to her by Ms Mrdeza.

To contact the editors responsible for this story; Jordan Kroschinsky at jkroschinsky@cjournal.ca; Evan Manconi at emanconi@cjournal.ca.