OK, here's the post I promised, I'm sure you're all looking forward to it..
Back in August I went to Osheaga festival in Montreal. On the Sunday morning, we decided to go check out the farmers' market instead of rushing over to the festival, since there were no acts we were really interested in.
Not speaking French, I accidentally parked in a space which was signposted as being a "residents' parking" space, requiring a permit. After returning to the car and finding that, I figured I might as well make good use out of the ticket, and so left my car there for the rest of the day.
While at Osheaga, I decided to pop over to the casino, played a hand of blackjack switch, and won $50, enough to cover the parking ticket.
After returning to Ottawa, 2 days later I parked in the Byward market to go to trivia at the Highlander Pub on Tuesday night. After trivia I returned to my car to find I'd been issued a parking ticket:
Frustrated, I called 311 to have the Bylaw officer come back and explain to me why I'd been issued the ticket. They refused to send him back, instead telling me that I could contact the supervisor for an explanation.
I was given her email address, to which I sent the following email:
I was given your contact details as the Bylaw supervisor for last night, after I called 311 when I found I had been issued a parking ticket for parking in the Byward Market last night.
Officer #237, Pyper, issued a parking infraction notice, reference H0261490, and I require some explanation.
My vehicle was properly parked within the painted lines of a parking space, and I was not causing an obstruction, nor were there any signs to specify I was not allowed to park there.
Here are some photos of the way my vehicle was parked:
As you can see, my vehicle is clearly parked correctly, between the marked boundaries of the space.
The vehicle parked next to me was also issued a ticket for the same offence. I spoke to the driver of that vehicle, and he informed me that he was intending on contesting the ticket.
Can you please provide the written documentation of the Bylaw that has been infracted here?
Can you also please cite the specific part of the Bylaw which both vehicles are in violation of?
Can you please define what is considered an "unauthorised angle"?
I require this information so that I know what to expect as I go through the process of contesting the issue of this ticket.
I received the following response:
Good Morning Mr. Quigley;
As per your email below I have attached a copy of the traffic and parking by-law. If you go to section 19 subsection 4 of this by-law you will see the violation that you were accused of being in violation of. You could have received a parking ticket for either the offence you received since you were not parked parallel to the curb or for parking on private property as the section you parked in is leased property and not a legal parking spot. Please feel free to contact me if you require any future information.
I read through the copy of the Bylaw which Mike had forwarded, and replied to Mike in regards to section 19:
Thank your for your response. Reading through the entire section on Angle Parking, I can't find anything that I am in violation of.
19. (1) Where an angle parking space is designated by lines or other markings on the
roadway, or otherwise, no person shall stop, stand or park a vehicle or permit a
vehicle to remain parked or standing therein except entirely within the area so
designated as a parking space.
(2) Where angle parking is permitted on a highway, no person shall stop, stand or park a
vehicle or permit a vehicle to remain parked or standing except at the angle
designated by signs or markings on the roadway.
(3) Where angle parking on a highway other than at an angle of 90 degrees to the curb or
edge of roadway is permitted, no person shall park a vehicle or permit a vehicle to
remain parked on such highway except with the front end of the vehicle at the curb or
edge of the roadway.
(4) No person shall park a vehicle or permit a vehicle to remain parked at an angle on a
highway except on the highways, at the sides and between the limits set out
respectively in columns 1, 2 and 3 of Schedule “VII” to this by-law.
(1). The vehicle was entirely within the lines marking the area as a parking space.
(2). The markings on the roadway designate that the parking is at a 90 degree angle.
(3). The angle parking is at 90 degrees.
(4). The vehicle was parked at the side of the highway, at the angle specified by the markings on the roadway as per column 2.
Also, nowhere is there any signage specifying that the sides of the highway have been leased, and/or are private property and not public parking. Without such signage, how are people expected to know that those clearly marked parking spaces are not public parking? Am I expected to have psychic abilities?
I will be attending one of the first attendance facilities to initiate a formal process to dispute this ticket, but in order to make the best use of the agent's time when I do so, I would appreciate my queries responded to.
Can you please send me your phone number so I can call you and better explain the regulations to you?
I replied and provided him with my mobile phone number. He never called me, and there was no further email correspondence.
The next day I went to see an agent at the "first attendance facilities", taking along a couple of the photos printed out. He said he could reduce the fine, but he couldn't cancel it, and he seemed to think that I was parked up on the sidewalk, even though I explained that I was parked on the road.
Since that was unsuccessful, I told him I wanted to take it to trial. I went to see the staff at the counter who stamped my ticket, and told me I would receive a court date at some point in the next couple of months or to contact them again if I did not.
Eventually, in October, 2 1/2 months later, I received a letter informing me of my trial date, January 8th 2014.
Off I went to the court, after preparing and printing out some photos to use as part of my argument:
The sign, which implies to me that the stands are parking after 7pm:
The parking spaces I saw:
the way in which I parked my car:
I was in the courtroom at 9am, and the proceedings started.
Initially it was just role call, they went through a giant stack of papers of people who were supposed to be there to face their charges. When your name was called, you had to respond that you were there, and if your intention was to plead guilty or not guilty.
They were checking the presence of the officer who issued the ticket, and very early on, perhaps the first case, was against Pyper, who'd also issued my ticket. He wasn't in attendance. As a result of that, it meant there was no evidence, and the case would be dismissed.
Each person in turn stood up, and was asked what they were pleading. Some people couldn't understand to just answer "guilty" or "not guilty" when asked, and were trying to argue.
One guy was trying to show pictures on his phone, when we'd been told all electronic devices had to be turned off. Another guy, after being told he was free to leave with the charge dropped started ranting about how he was rally annoyed, and had to be told that his behaviour was not acceptable. It was ridiculous.
For the people who were contesting, and their issuing Bylaw officer was present, they were told to sit down and wait until their trial later. A couple of people plead guilty, and by presenting an argument had their fines reduced by half or so, and could then leave.
Eventually they got to me, at about 9.45am, I said I was there, and was pleading not guilty. As the officer was not present, there was no evidence being presented against me, and so the case was dismissed, at which point I was free to leave.
So for wasting an hour, and speaking to the judge for about 30 seconds, I avoided having to pay a $60 fine which I don't believe should have been issued in the first place. It's a hollow victory, since I didn't get to argue about why it made no sense for the ticket to be issued, but I'll take it.
In future I'll take all parking tickets to court. At the least I get another 6 months before I have to pay it, chances are the Bylaw officer won't bother to turn up, and it'll get thrown out and I won't have to pay it at all, or I can plead guilty with an explanation and get the fine reduced. What a ridiculous system.