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Posts Tagged "parking"

24Jul

Accessible parking scofflaws a problem for people with disabilities | CBC News

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Vincel Miele feels frustration and anger when he sees an able-bodied person parking illegally in a spot designated for people with disabilities.

“For them it’s a convenience, I suppose,” said Miele, 69, as he drove through the parking lot of Lansdowne Centre in Richmond in his specially-designed van. 

Miele was injured in an accident at 21 and has used a wheelchair since. 

“It just takes away from someone that does need it and, in a lot of cases, can’t go about their business because they can’t find a parking spot where they can get in and out independently.”

Miele’s van lets him get out into the community independently, but he needs to park in a special, wider disability stall so he can use his van’s ramp to get in and out of his vehicle.

Vince Miele, 69, was injured in an accident at 21 and has used a wheelchair since. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

He wants people to know how inconsiderate it is when someone who doesn’t need the spot takes it anyway.

Miele also wants to see improvements to what he calls a patchwork system of fines and enforcement in B.C.

He said rules, penalties and enforcement levels vary across Metro Vancouver.

Vancouver, for example issued more than 1,600 tickets for parking in accessible spaces in 2018, while Surrey issued 24.

Miele would also like to see tougher fines for those who violate disability parking rules, and stricter rules for disability parking on public and private property. Fines can be as low as about $60. 

‘They swear’

While driving in another Richmond parking lot with CBC News, Miele spotted an able-bodied person with a disability parking decal in an accessible spot.

The driver said she was waiting for her mother, who has a disability. She was legally using the space but Vince doesn’t get why she had to take the spot he needed instead of waiting somewhere else.

This Canada Post truck was spotted parked in a disability parking spot on Homer Street in Vancouver. The corporation said it has launched an internal investigation. (Eric Rankin/CBC)

“It’s a problem … mostly for people that use wheelchairs because they really depend on that wider spot,” he said.

Miele spoke to the driver. The conversation went well but he said drivers can turn nasty.

“They swear. Yeah. They tell you to mind your own business,” Miele said. “They tell you to, whatever off, and sometimes worse.”

Vince Miele says when able-bodied people park in the wider accessible parking spaces — like the driver of this white van has done — it inconveniences people in wheelchair vans, like the one on the left. (Vince Miele)

Private lots make own rules

A Lansdowne Mall spokesperson said it enforces parking rules, especially for disability stalls. Offenders, she said, are fined or towed.

EasyPark vice-president Gary Kohr said private lots — the kind you might find at malls, grocery stores or below ground at some highrise towers — are only obligated to include a certain number of disability parking stalls.

The buildings’ owners arrange enforcement, he said, and can waive tickets.

Private parking lots are only required by law to maintain a certain number of accessible spots, according to one lot operator. Enforcement of lot policies is up to the owner — who has the option to waive a ticket. (Vince Miele)

“The owner of the property will define the rules of engagement,” Kohr said, adding most owners follow guidance from operating companies like EasyPark, with fines starting at about $60.

City bylaw officers have no jurisdiction over private lots, he said.

Lorraine Copas, executive director of the accessibility advocacy group SPARC BC, said police can enforce rules on private lots, if called.

A CBC News team spotted this driver on Granville Island parked in an accessible spot with no permit. The vehicle’s back end encroaches onto a second accessible spot. (Ethan Sawyer/CBC)

Cities vary

Kohr would not say how many delinquent drivers his company tickets for breaking disability parking rules.

Numbers from Metro Vancouver’s four largest cities show a wide disparity in numbers of tickets handed out in 2018 for offenders on city-controlled lots and on-street parkers.

Vancouver handed out the most tickets — over 1,600. Burnaby issued 138, Richmond issued 107, while Surrey handed out 24. 

A City of Surrey spokesperson explained that’s because bylaw officers only actively patrol four locations in the city for violations, two of which are at city hall. 

Miele says it’s not just the malls — rule-breakers are commonly seen on Richmond’s streets and lots.

Richmond spokesperson Clay Adams said the city doesn’t have the power to enforce disability parking rules in private lots, leaving it up to drivers and lot owners to respect the parking laws.

“It really gets down to individual drivers and how much they want to respect the legality, but also the moral element, of these kind of parking stalls.”

Priorities

Miele wants to see rules for disability parking — on public and private property — better enforced, and a uniform, hefty fine to apply across B.C.

“Make it $400 as a even number,” he said. “Maybe that’ll get people’s attention.”

Most of all, he wants to see a change in attitude from some able-bodied drivers.

Vince Miele is an advocate for people with disabilities. He uses a special wheelchair-lift-equipped van that he can drive on his own. But if the wider accessible parking stalls in a lot are taken up, it’s hard for him to deploy the ramp and get out of the van. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“I mean, is part of parking closest to the entrance that critical for the guy that has to run in and grab a case of beer or go buy a pack of smokes?” he asked.

“I think they should give … their heads at least one shake. Maybe two or more.”


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25Jan

Out-of-control parking at Joffre Lakes, B.C., is a grey area for RCMP traffic enforcement

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An outdoor enthusiast from Vancouver’s North Shore became so outraged over illegally parked vehicles outside Joffre Lakes Provincial Park that he took matters into his own hands.

Steve Jones got so frustrated with the state of Joffre Lakes north of Whistler that he filed a freedom of information request (CBC/Harold Dupuis)

Steve Jones filed a freedom of information request about parking enforcement around the Joffre Lakes trail which has had an explosion in popularity in recent years.

“It’s been getting busier and busier and busier, and part of it is that they made some upgrades to the trail so that more people can access it,” said Steve Jones. “But if we’re not proactive about making investments and ensuring that the experience for visitors is positive I think that we’re going to start to lose our reputation.”

Parking laws unenforced as jurisdictions argue

The documents he got back revealed Pemberton RCMP can’t ticket a vehicle without the driver being present. So even though vehicles are parked in front of “no parking” signs, police can’t do anything about it.

RCMP didn’t return CBC’s request for an interview. But in the documents, Cpl. Mike Hamilton emailed the Mainroad Group, a road maintenance contractor, urging it to put safety measures in place along the highway. 

He wrote about a failed attempt to educate the public about parking rules on Highway 99. “After approximately 2-3 hours I was forced to completely abandon this endeavour,” he said. “I experienced what I can only describe as driver anarchy and mass crowds. I was nearly struck head-on by an inattentive motorist.”

In a statement, a spokesperson with the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District said, “Provincial highways, such as Highway 99 near Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, are within the jurisdiction of the provincial government. As a regional district, the SLRD does not have the authority to implement a bylaw that would have jurisdiction over a provincial highway.”

However, a spokesperson with the provincial government said it is the responsibility of the district, “Currently, the SLRD does not have a bylaw preventing parking along the highway at this location. We have contacted them to inquire about such a bylaw, but the SLRD would need to respond re: any progress on this.”

The province is expected to provide further clarity on the issue next week.

Lake worth showing off

The brilliant turquoise blue of Joffre Lakes is perfect backdrop for photos and now a social media darling. Just kilometres away from the natural beauty is the crush of vehicles along Highway 99.

A log that sticks into the middle lake on the trail is a wildly popular photo spot. Many attribute the increased traffic at Joffre Lakes to its Instagram fame. (Shutterstock / karamysh)

Jones says the social media fame has come at a price, “I think Instagram has given us a very good reputation for the beauty on the front end, but we’re not proactive about making investments and ensuring that the experience for visitors is positive.”

The provincial park — about 45 minutes north of Whistler, B.C. — has become one of the South Coast’s most popular hikes, leaving B.C. Parks scrambling to manage concerns about overcrowding and environmental preservation.

In 2018, B.C. Parks made the decision to ban dogs from the trail because the animals have “led to issues with visitor experience, public health concerns and conservation efforts,” according to a news release from 2018.

Outhouses also a concern

Jones says another issue that came up in the documents is a lack of bathroom facilities. “The line for the outhouses is so long, people can’t humanly hold it in, and they’re just going to the washroom in the parking lot. It’s just disgusting that this is happening.”

He hopes the province will fund its parks adequately so that social media posts don’t begin to show B.C.’s packed parking areas rather than its natural beauty.

With files from Yvette Brend


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19Dec

Pushing for greener policies? Then give up free parking passes, Victoria city councillor urges colleagues

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Victoria city councillors need to put their green policy talk into practice and give up their free city parking passes, says Coun. Jeff Young.

Young is proposing changes to the parking privileges currently offered to Capital Regional District representatives, arguing that actions speak louder than words.  

“I’ve just been getting a little tired of what seems to me to be slightly sanctimonious or even hypocritical motions by the council, for example, decrying investment in fossil fuel firms,”  Young said.

“We do use automobiles. We need fuel, and for us to say we want to blame the fossil fuel companies for producing fuels seems seems a little odd.”

He pointed to the push to reduce emissions and resistance to projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and number of tankers in B.C. waters as examples of simply talking the talk.

“If we are going to keep making these pronouncements, we should look look at to our own home first,” Young told Gregor Craigie, the host of CBC’s On The Island.

“When we say we don’t want to invest funds in fossil fuel companies, are we really saying we want them to stop producing gasoline?”

Not everyone can cycle to work, argues Coun.Charlayne Thornton-Joe. Others have proposed offering bus passes or other remuneration if the parking passes are removed. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Concerns about accessibility

Young occasionally drives to work, himself, rather than cycling, he admits, and knows first-hand that having free parking at work is an incentive to hop in the car.

But not all members of council are able to cycle to work, countered Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe. Some may have health issues or drop children off at school along the way or have meetings in several different locations around the city.

“As councillors, we need to walk the talk,” she agreed. “But one of the things we have to make sure of is that … council is accessible to all.”

The parking permits are also part of a larger remuneration package for staff, which is why some councillors have proposed changing the parking passes for bus passes or higher wages instead, Thornton-Joe said.

She said she’s open to the idea but would need more information on how the changes would play out.

“Each and every one of us have different needs,” she said.

“[We need] a little bit more information on what does that entail.”

Council has requested a staff report on the financial implications of eliminating parking passes as part of a review of council remuneration

“I have no problem looking at the the reports,” she said.

“Councillor Young brings up larger issues of how councillors conduct themselves, the motions they bring forward and [whether they are] practicing that.”


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17Nov

Wheelchair ramp removed in favour of more parking spots?

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At a Surrey strip mall, fresh pain marks new 20-minute parking spots that have replaced an accessibility ramp.

Vivian Yu, who visits the strip mall on 100 Avenue and 152 Street every few weeks, sounded alarms after she noticed the ramp was gone.

“Ramps are for everybody, it’s not just for someone who uses a wheelchair. So it’s a bit disappointing that they don’t see that as an issue,”Yu said.

“I find it kind of frustrating and it just seems a bit backward from the social norm these days to try to make it inclusive and accommodating for everybody.”

She is now forced to enter at the far end of the parking lot behind dozens of cars, leaving her feeling unsafe.

“Generally when you are using a wheelchair, you’re pretty short and as a result, often you’re not eye level to the driver of any kind of vehicle, even the small sedans, so it’s a bit sketchy.”

Guilford Towngate Investment, the strip mall’s property manager, didn’t respond to requests for comments but has been talking with the city.

A city employee sent Yu an email explaining the property manager’s primary concern is “getting more parking spots in the facility.”

In a statement to CTV News, Nadia Chan, acting building division manager of planning and development, explained any removal of an accessibility ramp must be submitted to the division.

Chan did not say whether an application was submitted for the case but did say, “The ramp will not be allowed to be removed if accessibility requests have not been met.”

The city will now review the property to determine if it is in compliance with its permits and the B.C. building code.

With files from CTV Vancouver’s Breanna Karstens-Smith


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