Calgary

Calgarians rack up $1.9M in parking fines in first 3 weeks of street sweeping

Calgary drivers who failed to move their cars for scheduled street sweeping have now amassed 23,672 parking tickets in the first three weeks of April. At $80 a pop, that's nearly $1.9 million in fines.

And there's still 10 more weeks of scheduled sweeping to go

A street sweeper is seen in action in this file photo. (CBC)

Calgary drivers who failed to move their cars for scheduled street sweeping have now amassed 23,672 parking tickets in the first three weeks of April.

At $80 a pop, that's nearly $1.9 million in fines.

And that's assuming everyone pays their tickets within 10 days of receiving them. (After that, the fine goes up to $90. And after 30 days, it rises to $120.)

Oh, and did we mention street sweeping runs until June 30?

So there's still another 10 weeks to go.

And already, the total number of tickets handed out this year is nearly double last year's total, something the Calgary Parking Authority says is due to an increase in photo enforcement.

The parking authority's mobile enforcement vehicles now typically roam through an area that is due to be swept before the sweepers come by, photographing licence plates of vehicles that are left on the street. Registered owners then receive their tickets through the mail.

A photo-enforcement vehicle used by the Calgary Parking Authority. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

That means the offenders may not learn of their violations until after the sweepers have gone through, but the parking authority says part of the goal is to increase compliance in the future.

"Spring cleaning is an annual program in Calgary," Joan Hay, the parking authority's manager of enforcement, told CBC News earlier this month.

"So, more efficient enforcement during street-sweeping bans will help promote — we're hoping — the goal of increasing compliance in the long term."

The parking authority is reminding drivers to watch for temporary signs that are put in a community before the area is swept.

"Vehicles are subject to be ticketed and towed if the small, three-feet high 'No Parking' signs are placed along the road," it says on its website.

"They will be placed at least 12 hours prior to street sweeping."

Signs like this are placed on streets at least 12 hours before sweepers come through. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Some Calgarians have complained that the signs are easy to miss, however, and the period of notice is too short.

Parkdale resident Roger Dunkley recently told CBC News he didn't see the signs and had no idea the sweepers were due to come through until after the fact.

In past years, he said, more signs were put up in the community, making them easier to spot, but this year he didn't notice one until it was too late.

"I work out of my home," he said. "I don't leave the neighbourhood every day."

Last year, between April 1 and July 1, a total of 12,119 vehicles were ticketed for ignoring street-sweeping signs.

You can see which streets have been swept already and which are due for sweeping on the city's interactive online map.

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