A snow route parking ban took effect on Monday, February 18.
Darren Makowichuk / Postmedia
The first snow route route parking ban of 2019 is poised to become the most lucrative one yet for the city.With more than $150,000 in tickets issued, the latest enforcement blitz potentially pushes the program’s total take above $1 million over the last eight years.The city declared a snow route parking ban last Monday following a particularly heavy dump of snow over the weekend; by Wednesday evening, more than 1,900 motorists had been ticketed for leaving their vehicles parked along restricted routes. The Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) estimates total revenues from the 53-hour ban could net the city between $152,320 and $228,480 in fines, depending upon how quickly people pay their tickets.The recent ban could usurp last February’s record for fines collected and help push the program’s total revenue above $1 million for the first time; not counting the vehicles tagged in the most recent ban, snow route parking fines have totalled nearly $777,000 since 2011.Last week’s ban was also the first since council voted to hike fines for vehicle owners from $75 to $120. The 60 per cent bump in fees was aimed at increasing compliance with the policy. The fine can be reduced to $90 if paid within 30 days, or $80 if paid within 10 days.Coun. Jeff Davison, one of council’s representatives on the CPA board, said it’s a balancing act for the city when when it comes to fines.“First and foremost, people expect their routes to be cleared. We’ve put an increased amount of budget over the last little while into snow clearing because it continues to be a top priority and we can’t get the job effectively done if the roads are full of cars,” he said.“While it’s a delicate balance — you’re not trying to create this cash-cow system — the reality is you have to provide some incentive to have people take the snow ban seriously.”Coun. Sean Chu says the majority of complaints he hears about the ban aren’t about the fines, they’re from residents frustrated with their neighbours:“That’s the number one complaint: the street is all clear, there’s just a few spots left because there is a neighbour who couldn’t care less to move the vehicle,” Chu said.“It’s a growing pain in a way. But 100 per cent we should not only give tickets, we should actually tow the vehicle even if it’s just around the corner.”Still, it’s unclear whether the increased fine will improve compliance with the policy.A spokeswoman for CPA said the compliance rate for last week’s parking ban was “about the same” as it has been for the last couple of parking bans. “Unfortunately we haven’t seen a significant change, up or down,” said Adrian Mrdeza.Calgary has implemented 10 snow route parking bans, resulting in more than 16,000 tickets being issued, since the policy came into effect in October 2011.Record snowfalls helped make 2018 the busiest year for the program yet, with three parking bans called in the space of two months; a fourth ban was called when the city was slammed by an early-season snowstorm in the first week of October.The parking ban called on Feb. 5-7, 2018, resulted in a record number of tickets: 2,945 motorists were ticketed over a 46-hour period. While fewer tickets were issued during last week’s parking ban, the hike in fines in 2019 means that it could generate significantly higher revenues for the city compared to previous firstname.lastname@example.orgOn Twitter: @mpotkins