At $100, it was the maximum possible fine in the list of violations.
My mom, Julie Johnson, received a parking ticket after she drove by the strike picket line back in October to park at the roundabout near South Village, the Durham College and UOIT residence building.
We parked for 15 minutes so Mom could help me carry luggage to my dorm room. When we got back, there was a parking ticket for parking in a fire route.
This is an unjustified ticket that should have been overturned.
Every ticket in Oshawa has a list of possible violations. You can be charged $30 for parking “in private property without consent”, or $45 for parking “on the sidewalk”, which is an understandable fine. “Stopped Where Prohibited in School Zone” is a fine of $60. That makes sense because stopping in a zone where other cars are trying to get by to pick up or drop off their kids could be dangerous. “Parking in a fire route” is worse. Preventing firetrucks from doing their job can endanger lives. However, the South Village roundabout is a different kind of fire route.
There are a total of eight small No Parking signs scattered around the roundabout. However, they aren’t noticeable, especially at night. The signs also say the area is a fire route but they are not clear on the fine for parking. Also, people still park in the roundabout, which can confuse drivers.
One sign says “Do Not Leave Vehicles Unattended”. As a result, drivers are still allowed to stop their car in the roundabout as long as they have someone still in the car. Leaving the car alone is a $100 fine.
Despite this, the rules are constantly ignored.
Most nights of the school year, especially Fridays and Sundays when the weekend either starts or ends, there are cars parked all across the roundabout for families to pick up or drop off students. Some of the cars are left attended, some aren’t.
One of the Residence Staff, Kieran Wilson’s family parked in the lane and left their vehicle unattended for two minutes to get a few things. A ticket for $100 was there when they arrived.
According to Nicole MacGregor, Residence Services Lead of South Village, “Unfortunately, parking in [the roundabout] is actually part of [the city’s] bylaws so it’s not [the residence’s or the campus’] security. It’s actually enforced by the city.” This means the college and campus have no authority over what constitutes a fire route and are following the city’s rules.
“It has nothing to do with the Residence. We as a residence are trying to figure out a better way [than the signs] because that is the most convenient spot, being closest to the door,” says MacGregor, who helps supervise her other residence staff.
There’s a difference between the fire routes that justify a $100 fine and the route at South Village. This fire route is constantly in use.
Unaware guardians and students will keep parking here and receiving tickets until something is done.
The roundabout ticket should be less than $100 and better signage is needed to make sure drivers know leaving their car unattended is not allowed.
Better yet, the rule could be dispensed with and this unjust game of tag could stop.