It’s the hottest ticket in town, but it’s not the kind of attraction most want to see — especially the Town of Clarenville.
Parking in fire lanes was the number one traffic ticket issued in 2018 by Clarenville’s municipal enforcement officer Kent Toms.
At the Jan. 15 council meeting, the town discussed options for municipal enforcement ticketing after analyzing the 2018 status report, which broke down the number of tickets issued for the entire year.
Councillors Paul Tilley and Bill Bailey were quick to identify people parking in fire lanes as the overwhelmingly biggest issue for the town.
The ticket for parking in a fire lane, in front of an area like the malls or a store in the town, accounted for 65 of the 83 issued infractions last year.
While it’s clearly marked that residents shouldn’t park in the fire lanes, chief administrative officer David Harris added that the biggest problem currently is people sitting in their vehicles in the fire lanes.
“It is becoming an issue,” said Harris. “The CREST bus can’t even drop off the seniors on their busing (route) because of vehicles parked in the fire lane.”
These drivers have just been getting a warning as it’s not a ticketable offence — not yet that is.
Council did decide to review not only the idea of ticketing these individuals as well, but also possibly upping the fines associated with the tickets.
“Parking in fire lanes seems to be the biggest issue for our enforcement officer, it’s something that the public should be aware of to make it less of an issue,” said Tilley.
Coun. Lloyd Parrott also identified parking ban infractions as something to keep an eye on the future. In Clarenville, from Nov. 1 to April 30, there is no parking allowed on the street between 1 and 8 a.m. regardless of weather.
“There’s streets in Clarenville, that if there was a fire call, they’re impassable because of cars parked on the side of the road,” said Parrott.
Mayor Frazer Russell added that they need the cooperation of residents to prevent these types of things from happening—like snow plows having to weave around cars to plow the roads and fire lane parking.
“They’re clear to understand, so I think we’re going to have to get tough on that,” said Russell.
“And the toughest way is to issue tickets.”
Council decided to entertain the idea of raising ticket fines at the public works meeting ahead of the next regular council meeting, however, after consulting some other similar municipalities on the issue, it seems there is no precedent for ticketing people sitting in their vehicles parked in fire lanes.
Also, the idea of raising fines may not necessarily be the answer either, according to council.
Clarenville’s municipal enforcement 2018 status report
Listing of tickets issued from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2018
Type of ticket
Parked between no parking signs - 4
Impeding snow clearing - 3
Blue zone parking - 2
Parking on sidewalks - 8
Winter parking ban - 1
Parking in fire lanes - 65
In addition, four official warnings were issued for “Handicap parking tickets voided (blue card not placed in windshield).”