Mulct and the City


Bad. This is really, really bad. Consumersj needs to understand what the City of Saint John Parking Commission has against us. Do they only want uptown residents and business folk shopping uptown? An attempt at status quo for urban development? I think maybe there’s a case of Bud Light for the officer who has issued the most fines at the end of the month. Perhaps their (ahem-arrogant-looking) red and white documents we find on our windshields are simply a Hallmark alternative for saying: go to the East Side to spend your money where you can park anywhere, for free. …or maybe it’s just plain sadism and machoism, rent-a-cop style.

But wait a minute, speaking of S & M, I can even be incarcerated for my unpaid uptown Saint John parking tickets! From the website:

“Unpaid Parking Meter Tickets that have gone to warrant must be paid at the Provincial Court Office, 3rd Floor, City Hall. Police have the authority to place any person under arrest who has not paid their outstanding parking meter ticket warrants. The person who is picked up by the police officer for an outstanding warrant will be taken to the Saint John Regional Correctional Centre to either make a payment or payments or to serve jail time.”

The more money (slash jail-time) I am obliged to give to the Saint John Parking Commission, the less I have to invest in uptown businesses.

There are other Canadian Cities with designated parking areas within their inner city where you can park for free (with 15, 30 minute to two-hour time limits). Courtesy parking let’s call it. Something like a, “Thank-you-for-choosing-to-leave-your-money-with-us” type of thank-you. For courtesy parking, I really only want the five minutes that it takes to grab a coffee, or to pick something up quickly from somewhere without getting nailed for $15-$35 or a JAIL SENTENCE each time my ticket runs out, or I (heaven forbid) run into Java Moose to buy a coffee without doubling my time to go to the meter and complete the absolute rigmarole of having my visa card ‘not recognized’, scrounging up some change (who still carries this?), inserting my nickles and dimes, killing the tree, running back to the car to place said dead tree, so I can buy a coffee.

Did you know that there are actual ‘Pay and Display’ parking jurisdictions? It’s true. If you pay for 2 hours of parking, you cannot move your car an hour later to the next street or you will get a Parking Commission Hallmark greeting. On another circumstance, I was ticketed en route to buy my parking pass. I was able to omit this, but not without investing 30 minutes of my time (that I will never get back) to fill out an application, go to city hall, and submit a series of documents: Parking Commission Hallmark and other useless tree particles.

Seriously people, this is a problem.

As this continues, expect me to be recommending you spend your money in some place where you feel like a customer, not someone’s target practice.

I won’t get started on the recent snow-ban debate…

City of Saint John Parking Commissionpay_display_solar

11th Floor, City Hall
Weekdays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Tel: (506) 658-2970
Fax: (506) 649-7938

8 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Jeff Roach said,

    I understand there needs to be a fee for parking in a mixed use neighbourhood such as uptown where spaces are at a premium, otherwise residents and monthly parkers would just grab the street parking spaces and there would be none left.

    But the aggressive nature of the parking commission (they just hired 4 more thugs to the posse!) is unwarranted, mean-spirited, and a major deterrent for uptown activity.

    Better ideas:
    – Uptown businesses could be provided vouchers they can give to their customers for parking
    – allow 5-15 minutes of free parking so we don’t feel watched and poached when we need to park briefly to run errands

    Fantastic ideas:
    – apply whatever motivational regimen is utilised for the parking posse with the snow removal staff
    – AT LEAST allow us to pay these over-the-top fines ONLINE!

  2. 2

    Chris London said,

    The parking situation in the uptown core is a major issue. If it isn’t massive enforcement for all the ‘free money’ it brings into the coffers, it is the stupid alternate side parking. I think council is simply punch-drunk with the revenue stream.

    I have lived in the core, and I would love to move back there with my family. We are even actively looking for a new home, preferably an investment property. But… the major reason my wife and I recently decided against buying an apartment building in the core and moving the entire family and my in-laws with us was parking. We wanted to live there, but the parking situation was too much hassle.

    Whether it is aggressive enforcement, alternate side parking, snow bans, or who knows what else, the parking commission seems more eager to find solutions that solve their logistical issues and fill the coffers rather than identifying solutions that address the daily issues of uptown residents.

  3. 3

    Chris London said,

    I didn’t know about the multi-zone system with the Pay and Display machines… That is simply a form of robbery. You paid for the ‘right’ to park on city streets.

    And now that I think more on this, having to pay in person is even more of a scam than those cheesy mail-in rebates on electronics equipment, you could end up getting a ticket while running in to pay the last one…

    Of course, complaining without providing solutions is not productive, so here I go:

    One idea might be a monthly fee for uptown parking. Maybe $50? I don’t know, they could pay a consultant to do that analysis. In any case, they could fit it in with the current uptown parking system for residents and set up an auto-debit system like they do for water and sewerage.

    At least that way you could avoid the hassle of always running for the meter if the coffee lineup takes too long.Might even drive more consumers uptown. I know plenty of people who avoid shopping uptown because of the worry about change for the machines and commissionaires lurking behind trees waiting for meters to expire. Monthly passes could allow them to make their money with far fewer collectors. Seems like a win-win…

  4. 4

    consumersj said,

    Word on the street: Saint John Parking Commission will be launching an ONLINE PAYMENT system for parking tickets next week. Bravo!

    Now, to deal with the stinkin’ ugly malfunctioning Pay and Display hunks of junk…

  5. 5

    Sara said,

    Add to the rant the fact that although a nickel will buy you 2.5 minutes of time the machine can’t calculate the 0.5 minute so it just chops it off. SO BEWARE – even though the meter says it accepts nickels you won’t get your money’s worth when you put it in the meter. E.G. 10 cents should buy you 5 minutes but if you pay in nickels it only buys you 4 minutes…

    And I feel your pain: I too have been the victim of ticketed while waiting for the parking meter to print my receipt. There is obviously a lack of meters if you have to walk so far away that you get a ticket while paying for your parking!!!

  6. 6

    susan said,

    today i parked on king st around 2pm. i went to get a ticket from the machine and it would not take my money. the commisiner was there and i told him and he tried and said the machines are solar powered and that he knew the one across the street was working, i asked why i should have to cross a busy street, his reply was a shrug. i then got back in my car and went to the mall. bring the meters back or make it free……

  7. 7

    Troy Parfitt said,

    The police are just as agressive. I recently got a $172 parking violation as did 3 other vehicles within the span of five minutes. Our cars were parked the wrong way, but in this particular neighbourhood, it harldy matters. There’s virtually zero traffic. It’s practically a cul-de-sac. When I went to complain the officer in question told me – in a very enthusiastic manner – that he always fines people in that neighbourhood. I said he must be bored. Something has to be done. It’s just a sleazy money grab. The city isn’t dynamic or foreword thinking enough to attract investment, so they just nail the little guy. It’s pathetic. Maybe a petition or a facebook page would have some effect.

  8. 8

    kevinproulx said,

    As a tourist stopping in Saint John for a bite to eat, I was unimpressed that in an area with no parking meters, no signage with regards to parking regulations whatsoever (King Street, near the Subway sandwich shop, etc.), no indication of any kind that a permit or payment is required to park on the street in the available spaces, I got nailed for a $15 ticket within a minute or two of leaving my vehicle. To add insult, not one other vehicle in the row (some had been there before I had parked, some arriving after, period of about a half-hour) displayed any kind of permit nor payment slip … yet none of them had parking tickets slapped on their windshields. Could it be, gasp, that my vehicle was targeted because it had an Ontario plate and others were almost entirely New Brunswick plated (one was Nova Scotia)? Nice cash grab. Good way to discourage tourism. Sadly, this kind of behaviour by the city adds to NB being increasingly referred to by the rest of Canada as “the drive through Province”. I’ll make sure to just drive through next time and not bother stopping to support the Saint John economy.

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