Parking fines set to jump if Edmonton proposal gets green light

The City of Edmonton is set to collect an extra $2.3 million in parking fines each year if a pitch to increase penalties goes ahead and parking scofflaws don't learn their lesson.

City staff hope stiffer fines will decrease the number of tickets handed out

City staff want to increase fines for parking tickets in 2017, five years after the last fine review took place. (CBC)

The City of Edmonton is set to collect an extra $2.3 million in parking fines each year if a pitch to increase penalties goes ahead, based on last year's ticket numbers.

The city hopes stiffer penalties will deter parking scofflaws, and decrease the number of tickets handed out by 30 per cent over the next three years, according to a report going to the community and public services committee next week.

The report estimates the proposed fines would increase revenues by $600,000.

"It's our goal to put ourselves out of business. We want 100 per cent compliance with all of our bylaws," said Ryan Pleckaitis, acting manager for community standards and neighbourhoods.

City administration is recommending the fine for illegally parking on private property be doubled from $50 to $100.

The city hands out an average of 13,000 tickets for this infraction every year, so it would be poised to collect an extra $640,000 from that change alone, if violators don't learn their lessons.

Other parking problems that could net a violator a bigger fine include:

  • The fine for parking too close to a fire hydrant is proposed to increase from $50 to $75
  • The fine for parking in a no-stopping zone is proposed to increase from $75 to $100
  • The fine for parking in an area affected by a seasonal parking ban is proposed to increase from $75 to $100
  • The fine for parking too long in a time-restricted zone would increase from $50 to $75. With almost 17,000 tickets handed out for this violation last year, the change could net the city an extra $423,000

The report notes that in several cases, the number of tickets handed out for particular infractions has been increasing steadily over several years — suggesting the current fine is "not acting as a successful deterrent."

The city last reviewed parking ticket costs in 2012.

For the current report, city staff considered factors such as fine amounts in other municipalities, the length of time since the last increase, and non-compliance levels, the report states.

'Just feels prohibitive'

Student Brittany Reynolds parks five days a week downtown. She said she just got a parking ticket a few days ago, and isn't keen on seeing the city increase the fines. 

"I pay for parking every single time I go to class," said Reynolds, who is studying business at MacEwan University downtown. "I parked somewhere where I normally wouldn't park and I ended up getting a $50 fine."

Others who were parking downtown on Thursday night said doubling a fine from $50 to $100 will certainly get their attention and might even be incentive enough to keep some people away.

"(It) just doesn't feel like the right approach for downtown for getting us here and in the neighbourhood and accessing everything that's going on just feels prohibitive and puts us off," said Ryan Bott, who paid for his parking at one of the many pay stations scattered throughout the downtown core.
Ryan Bott makes sure his meter is paid up to avoid any fines

"Yeah, I'd be thinking twice about it. I paid my 50 bucks just a couple of weeks ago."

But there are those drivers like Felipe Bachez, who said raising the parking fines will get people's attention and co-operation.

"It's really hard on everybody's pocket, " he said.

"In a way it kind of does make sense. It's your responsibility to remember ... It's not up to the city to remind you."