Halifax's winter ban on overnight street parking should be ignored when there's no snow, Mayor Peter Kelly says.
Kelly said he's getting a lot of calls from residents cranky about the annual ban, which is in effect from Dec. 15 to March 31 during the hours of 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. and is intended to prevent vehicles from obstructing snow removal operations.
The Halifax Regional Municipality ban applies to motorists parking in Halifax, Timberlea, Bedford, Sackville, Fall River, Beaverbank, Dartmouth, Cole Harbour, Westphal and Eastern Passage.
Residents are complaining that they get parking tickets even when there's no snow, Kelly said, and he doesn't understand it either.
"I think we need to have a better, harder look at what we're doing and why we're doing it to make sure it's not just perceived to be a cash grab, because that's not what it's all about," Kelly said. "It's supposed to be a matter of safety, not a matter of cash flow."
Kelly says neither he nor council have the ability to change the winter parking rules, because they are overseen by the arm's-length traffic authority.
But Kelly would like to see the ban enforced only when there's a need for it.
Alan Taylor of the city's traffic services division wouldn't respond to Kelly's comments, but earlier this week, he said one reason the ban is in place even when there isn't snow is that while road conditions might start out clear on any given winter day, snow can fall overnight.
Taylor said people need to be encouraged to find off-street parking for the entire winter, and when there's snow on the ground but no bad weather, crews need time to push snowbanks back.
About 1,000 tickets, of $50 each, have been issued since the ban came into effect a week ago, Kelly said.