Sunday, April 16, 2017

Responses to my parking meter column in Vancouver Courier

Since writing my Vancouver Courier column about my trials and tribulations with a City of Vancouver parking meter, I have received a number of responses from readers wanting to share their own experiences, as well as one who had some sage advice for me. Here's just some of what I heard:

Thanks for your courier opinion piece.
One things that irks me regularly is meter parking out at UBC. I go out there every other month or so to buy printer toner at Staples.
The meter requires 25 cents per 5 minutes. When you add another quarter it adds up to 9 minutes and another quarter gets you 13 minutes. They rip you off by one minute for every extra quarter!

Here mare some others.

Write about the parking meter bandit of Ash St. I've seen the same individual farming the meters there while drivers get ticket after ticket. He jams the meter, waits for people to put coins in thinking they've paid, then comes and collects the money for himself. I've reported this to police, seen him get arrested, and then he was back the next day on his bike doing the exact same thing. I wonder how many tickets drivers have had there because of this guy and the inability of police and the city to do anything about it. Data shows this is happening in an area where bylaw officers are also writing the most tickets. 8th and Ash.

Re your Courier column on April 13, I found yesterday that the parking meters in the 10 & Sasamat area had all been changed to indicate $1 for an hour.  Previously they indicated partial hour rates:  10 cents for 6 minutes, 25 cents for 15 minutes.  So I put in 25 cents and sure enough, got 15 minutes; the partial/hour rates were still in effect.  

I tried the same thing at a parking meter on West Boulevard where the posted rate was $2 for an hour.  I put in $1 and got 40 minutes.  Admitted it wasn’t half of the posted rate, which it should have been, but at least I didn’t have to pay the full shot.  So if one only wants a short-term stay, you can in fact pay less than the posted rate.  A lot of people, like me, will assume that you cannot pay less than the posted rate. 

Also, I have a beef with the City about parking meters which are Pay-By-Phone.  For the large number of us who don’t have this facility, these parking slots are unavailable even though vacant.  I am going to write to the City  and suggest that all meters should still accept coins (lotsa luck). Grrrr.

I encountered a malfunctioning pay-by-phone spot, and the city cancelled the ticket! The short version of the story is that pay-by-phone hadn't been updated to resume allowing parking after construction on the street had been completed, and so the app refused to allow my parking/payment. I took a screen capture of the error and after I'd gotten the ticket I called the city, e-mailed them the screen capture, they verified the error with pay-by-phone, and the ticket was canceled. A lot of steps, but worth it.

I carry a sledge hammer and my camera phone. If the meter doesn't actually work then it should look like it doesn't work.

And finally this one:

Hello Mr. Geller, I enjoy your contributions to the Courier and always agree with your expressed opinions. However....

Here comes the however.
If one can afford to purchase a car, maintain it and  licence it then one can afford to pay for parkingParking should be considered part of the car owning responsibility package.
Driving around around trying to find a free spot is irresponsible.  That behaviour contributes to air pollution, global warming and traffic congestion.
Pay for the parking and be happy you are able to do so.
There are more important battles to be fought.

I know she's right. But as I said at the beginning of my column, I am very irrational when it comes to parking. And I know I'm not alone!

1 comment:

Ron said...

The cost of parking adds up greatly.

The rate at a gravel EasyPark lot that I use for attending practices (with equipment) has been increased this year to $2.50 per hour. That's $5.00 or $7.50 each time I attend a practice (some are 1.5 hours, others 2+ hours).

With 3 practices a week - you can easily see how being "nickeled and dimed" adds up.

So that's $17.50 per week, $70.00 per month.

It simply makes sense to economize where you can.

The same can be said about buying take-away coffee or other small cost items that add up significantly over time.