British Columbia

We looked at every parking ticket issued in Vancouver last year — here's what we found

392,636 tickets were issued by the City of Vancouver in 2015, but look into the data and some interesting trends emerge.

Where, when and why 392,636 tickets were issued in 2015

There are 11 fewer parking meter readers in Vancouver on weekends; from 40 mid-week down to 29 on Saturdays and Sundays. (Rafferty Baker, CBC)

In 2015, between 6 a.m. PT and midnight, an average of six parking tickets were handed out in the City of Vancouver every minute. 

It seems like a lot — and in many ways, it is — but after analyzing the 392,636 tickets issued in Vancouver last year, certain patterns emerge. 

Here's the highlights of what CBC Marketplace and CBC Vancouver have uncovered.   

1. Not surprisingly, downtown Vancouver is the epicentre of traffic ticket terror. 

Of the 50 most ticketed blocks in Vancouver last year, 41 were in the downtown core, led by the 800-block of Homer with 2,942 tickets handed out.

But what if you consider not just one block, but stretches of five blocks in a row?

Then, the list still skews heavily towards downtown, but three other areas — West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano, and West 8th Avenue and West Broadway directly north of Vancouver General Hospital — crack the top 12. 

2. The most likely place in the city to get a ticket has changed. 

It used to be that the most ticketed region in the city was where the West End met the downtown core. In 2010, the top four ticketed places in the city were the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Robson and Alberni Streets. 

But that's shifted to Yaletown and the area immediately north of it: seven of the 11 most ticketed blocks in the city were in a small zone between Mainland, Davie, Seymour and Dunsmuir Streets. 

For just one example, in 2010 the 1000-1199 stretch of Robson Street received 5,886 tickets, compared to 4,112 for 1000-1199 Homer Street.

By 2015, the tickets for Robson Street had dropped to 3,860, while Homer climbed to 5,132. 

3. The most ticketed block outside downtown is the same for the sixth straight year.

The 500-block of West 8th Avenue is one block from the Cambie/Broadway intersection and just north of city hall.

Perhaps just as importantly, it's right in between a Whole Foods and a BC Liquor Store.

The 500-block of West 8th Avenue is the most ticketed block outside of the city's downtown. (Google Maps)

4. The city has eliminated some of the loopholes that drivers could take advantage of. 

The Vancouver Sun reported in 2009 that the first shift for parking officers didn't begin until 11:30 a.m. PT on Sundays, which led to a drop-off in tickets issued on Sundays, but that's no longer the case: data shows that tickets are now given out Sunday mornings.

On the flip side, Wednesday used to see a 20 per cent bump in tickets issued because all parking officers worked that day, but now it's no worse than any other weekday.

5. Be extra careful stopping your car on busy streets between 3 and 4 p.m.

The number of tickets issued rises and falls with the time of day, as you would expect: virtually nothing until 7:05 a.m. PT, a giant spike at 9 a.m., a small dip around lunchtime, a larger dip between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., and then quickly falling off after 10 p.m.

But there is a massive spike between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. PT. Why is that?

Looking at the data, the spike comes almost exclusively from an increase in "No Stopping" tickets issued on streets that jam up during rush hour, particularly on Broadway: the stretch from Fir Street to Main Street saw 3,270 issued during that daily hour alone last year.

6. Beware the slightly-hidden fire hydrant in the 400-block of Keefer Street. 

Approximately 60 per cent of all tickets issued are for unpaid meters. But the rest are for a wide variety of bylaw subsections, like parking in a commercial lane, parking in an area labeled "No Parking",  parking in someone's driveway or garage and many more. 

One of them, though, is bylaw 2849, section 17.2 (C) — a lengthy code for "don't park within five metres of a fire hydrant."

And yet, 2,887 tickets were issued for that infraction in 2015, and the most popular place for them was the 400-block of Keefer. 

A slightly-hidden fire hydrant in the 400-block of Keefer Street led to a number of parking tickets. (Google Maps)

Why? Well, there's only one hydrant on the block — but as the picture shows, it's far from the curb and doesn't exactly stand out. 

7. Double-check your position if you park next to Winston Churchill Secondary School.

143 tickets were issued in 2015 near Winston Churchill Secondary School, in the 7000-block of Heather Street, for not parking within 30 centimetres of the curb. (Google Maps)

The school is on the 7000-block of Heather Street, where 143 tickets were issued for not parking within 30 centimetres of the curb. All but five came during the school year between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. PT. 

To put that in perspective, the next highest ticketed block for curb infractions is 800 Richards Street, with just 38.

8. If you're downtown, don't park in places you clearly shouldn't park. 

The area known as 1000 Eveleigh in downtown Vancouver is not a secret parking spot. (Google Maps)

See this "street" known as 1000 Eveleigh? It's a dead-end that is clearly not a secret parking spot. And yet, 152 tickets were issued here for parking in a commercial loading zone. 

9. And always check that you're not in a temporary bus zone.

Another major infraction is parking in a bus zone, for which 4,115 tickets were given out in 2015. Over 20 per cent of them — 877 to be exact — were given out in 800 Seymour Street, and virtually always between 8 and 11 p.m. 

Why? Our best guess is a temporary change made to bus routes that created a new, nighttime bus stop on the northeast end of the block.

Warning signs were put up, but hundreds of drivers appeared to have missed them.

A 2015 screenshot from Google Maps of a temporary bus stop put in the 800-block of Seymour Street.

10. You're almost guaranteed to get away with parking anywhere between midnight at 4:30 a.m ...

The city doesn't appear to have any ticket officers out during that time. 

However, on ​four — and only four — days in 2015, dozens and dozens of tickets were given out all over the city at this time of day: Feb. 22, Feb. 23, May 3 and July 11.

Punishment for a junior ticket inspector? An employee who felt the need to scan the city in the middle of the night?

11. But you can't go wrong with parking on Christmas Day and New Years Day. 

No tickets were issued on either day in 2015, as is the case most years.

You could consider it a present ... but remember, after Jan. 1, 2017, rates across the city are rising