British Columbia

Yaletown now top spot to get a parking ticket in Vancouver

Yaletown has surpassed other Vancouver areas like Robson Street, Broadway and Kitsilano as the place where the most parking tickets are issued.

The area around the 1000 block of Robson Street used to yield the most parking violations, but that's changed

A City of Vancouver parking enforcement officer checks a vehicle in the 800 block of Homer Street in Yaletown on Thursday. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Dylan Jones returns to his big, white work van in the 800 block of Homer Street in Vancouver. He glances at the parking ticket under the windshield wiper, but otherwise ignores it, as he begins rummaging through his electrician's equipment in the back of the vehicle.

"I don't really care, myself. If it was my personal car though, I'd be pretty pissed off," he said of the ticket.

"I got the commercial plate and everything on this thing too, so I shouldn't be getting the ticket. So I'll give it to my boss, he'll get rid of it. That's that."

Jones was parked on the block that has crept to number one in the city when it comes to parking infractions, as per the 2015 numbers obtained by CBC.

Vancouver's 10 most ticketed parking spots in 2015

The 800 block of Homer was hit with 2,942 of the city's 392,637 tickets, which, in total, ran up $32.3 million in fines in 2015.

"There's enforcement right there, yeah," said Jones, nodding across the street toward a parking enforcement officer. "It almost seems they don't really pay attention to what they're doing, they're just writing tickets for the hell of it."

Electrician Dylan Jones all but ignores the parking ticket on his windshield as he pulls equipment out of the back of his work van. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Wesley Bain, general manager at the Noodle Box restaurant on the block, wasn't surprised to hear the street was such a popular place to get ticketed.

"I see lots of tickets being handed out, like daily," he said. "Not like I'm looking out the window all the time, but when I am, there's bylaw enforcement guys around the neighbourhood all the time."

Noodle Box general manager Wesley Bain rides his bike to work each day on Homer Street, but he sees enforcement officers outside the restaurant all the time. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

In addition to Homer Street's 800 block, nearby stretches of streets in Yaletown make up six more of the city's 11 most-ticketed blocks.

Incidentally, the city's parking enforcement offices are located in the area — at 814 Richards St.

Vancouver city staff is quick to stress that enforcement officers don't have daily quotas that they're expected to meet. 

Decline in Robson Street tickets

For a few years in a row, the 1000 block of Robson Street was ranked either first or second in terms of tickets issued. That ended in 2014, when the block slid to fifth spot. In 2015 it fell to the 13th block in the city, with 2,080 tickets.

But that didn't make much difference to Anna McMillan, who returned from about 40 minutes of shopping on the block midday on Thursday to find a $35 ticket on her vehicle.

"It sucks," she said. "It sucks because I paid for parking."

"I renewed my parking with the app, so I think it may have been ticketed in between, so I just have to check," McMillan said, adding that she figured she would be able to dispute the ticket.

Anna McMillan laughs after realizing she's been ticketed on Robson Street in Vancouver, but adds that 'it sucks,' because she claims she paid with the app. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

A couple of stores are currently vacant on the block, and business has slowed along Robson recently. City staff said in an emailed statement that — anecdotally, at least — Yaletown is becoming more popular as an entertainment district, perhaps contributing to the ticketing trend in that area.

People walk past an empty shop in at 1018 Robson Street in Vancouver. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

But the statement from staff also adds that Robson Street used to have a rush hour no-parking zone, which was diligently enforced to keep traffic moving. That was removed in August 2013, perhaps accounting for some of the reduction in tickets.

Jason Gertner was plugging his meter in the 1000 block of Robson on Thursday, as his wife went to do some quick shopping. He wasn't complaining about the parking enforcement on the street — just the cost at the meter.

"The meter's like, a quarter is three minutes," he said, ignoring the extra 45 seconds his 25 cents actually buys.

Jason Gertner complains about the price of his parking (25 cents gets you 3 minutes and 45 seconds in the 1000 block on Robson Street), but he doesn't complain about the enforcement. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

"If you're late and they ticket you, it is what it is. It's not cheap, so you have to be careful," said Gertner. 

"If I came back 20 minutes late and I saw a ticket, I should deserve to get it, but if I'm actually seeing her writing a ticket and I'm two minutes off, I think that's a bit of a grey area. There should be a bit of compassion."

With files from Justin McElroy

Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker