Winnipeg Parking Authority to mail school zone tickets starting May 1
Coming soon to a school zone near you: Parking enforcement you can't drive away from.
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There’s no escaping parking tickets in school zones anymore.
Earlier this week, the city launched an awareness campaign to pre-empt and warn drivers of new parking ticketing practices beginning May 1 to better enforce the rules in fire lanes, stalls for drivers with disabilities, and school zones.
Ryan Arabsky, the Winnipeg Parking Authority’s manager of regulations and compliance, said the changes may come with a “small spike” in ticket volume initially, but the net result should be improved safety.
“The long and short of it is in the past we’ve always served (tickets) to the vehicle…quite honestly we weren’t able to issue many tickets,” Arabsky said.
Normally, parking officers try to serve people who either drive around the block to avoid a ticket—representing a hazard where children are crossing—or when “the person isn’t always so polite.”
Arabsky said there were constant confrontations and “hostility,” but more importantly, “it wasn’t solving any safety problems,” which is the whole point of the enforcement.
“The problem with that is, what’s going to stop them from going back tomorrow and doing the same thing?” he said. “It’s chaotic and it’s dangerous.”
To get around that issue, changes to the municipal bylaw enforcement act that came into effect in August granted the parking authority the ability to mail out tickets, so moving forward, they won’t need to serve tickets by hand—they can just snap a picture, process it back at their office, and mail the ticket that day.
Arabsky is confident the new method will be more efficient, which should improve its efficacy in turn, as parking officers deal with 70 school zones in the city on a regular basis.
Previously, they’ve done “selective enforcement,” because resources don’t allow them to visit many on a given day.
Now they will be able to get to each site more consistently, which Arabsky said should help people clue into the issue and adjust behaviours accordingly.
“With this campaign we hope people maybe have a lightbulb go off and people go, ‘Holy man, this is a problem,” he said. “I hope this does bring awareness.”
Coun. Brian Mayes, the city’s school board liaison, said he’s met with school boards about pickup and drop-off safety concerns for the last year and a half, hearing stories of near-misses, “people swearing at each other,” parking in crosswalks and other “dangerous conditions.”
“Parents are saying it’s not safe,” Mayes said. “Some people are going to call this a cash grab, but call it whatever you want, my view is this is enhancing school safety.”