City councillor pushes for changes to parking rules during street sweeping

A city councillor says he's concerned that compliance isn't great when it comes to the rules around the annual spring street sweeping program.

Shane Keating says he'd like to see better communication and signs out for longer

Some Calgarians say they're not happy about the prospect of cleaning up road debris missed by street sweepers because of people who didn't obey parking bans. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

A city councillor says he's concerned that compliance isn't great when it comes to the rules around the annual spring street sweeping program.

More than 35,000 tickets were handed out to vehicle owners for not moving their wheels as the street sweepers went through residential areas this year. That's nearly three times as many tickets as last year.

The city said the increase in tickets is partially due to greater use of photo enforcement. But there have also been complaints that tickets were handed out after sweepers had cleaned some streets.

Councillor Shane Keating says there were also issues when adverse weather forced the city to postpone sweeping in some areas, and that created confusion for some vehicle owners.

"I think that's where we have to become more compliant, the city and the sweepers," he said.

"Or Calgary Parking Authority have to be more compliant with the original schedule and if that schedule changes, then there has to be extra caution put in before tickets are written."

Money from the fines goes into the city's general revenues.

Keating said he'll be putting forward a motion before council soon, calling for changes in how the public education works around the spring clean-up, especially when the sweeping schedule changes due to adverse weather. 

"X number of dollars from CPA's transfer of revenue to the City of Calgary should go to increase — not just to maintain — but to increase the transparency and communication of signage when you're looking for compliance. So that's necessary," he said.

The city has already begun to make improvements to how they communicate with Calgarians, according to Keating. 

On Monday he told the Calgary Eyeopener that people can sign up online for e-mail and text alerts that will notify them when their street will be swept, when they can return their vehicle and if any schedule changes occur.

The Ward 12 councillor said in addition to improving internal city communication and increasing how long signs are placed in neighbourhoods prior to being swept, he's got a few ideas for how to improve the program in the future.

One idea is to mount parking enforcement cameras right on to the sweeping vehicles, as opposed to sending the CPA vehicles through each neighbourhood.

"They would get a ticket only when the sweeper went by," he said. 

As for the 35,000 tickets issued this year, Keating said hundreds of those have already been cancelled because they were issued despite schedule changes.

"There wasn't sufficient communication between CPA and roads," he said. "It was planned for the 2nd and 3rd and it was bumped to the fourth and fifth and CPA went out on the 3rd and gave out tickets."

But, just because a sweeper has gone down your street doesn't mean it's safe to park there yet either. 

"I'll give you an example of where I saw a individual watch the sweeper go by on the south side of the road and they were parked on the north," he said. "And when the sweeper went by they went out, got in their vehicles, turned around a U-turn and parked on the south side of the road."

The difficulty with that, according to Keating, is that the job likely isn't done after one trip down your street. 

"They may have two or three passes planned during that day. So compliance is crucial," he said. 

The City says about 800 vehicles were towed out of the way of sweepers on residential streets this year.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.

With files from Scott Dippel


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