That sweet parking spot in front of your house? You don't own it, so chill out
Parking spot poachers are doing nothing illegal but timeless street fight rages on
Dan Onischuk has been in a 20-year battle to stake claim over the street parking in front of his home.
The Rossdale resident has a sense of ownership over the piece of pavement, but says his neighbours have no respect.
He wants the city to revamp its bylaws to give Edmontonians first dibs on spots in front of their home.
'Golden rule should apply'
"It's a level of stress that shouldn't be there. These people have just as much space to park," Onischuk said in an interview with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.
"In fact, they have far more space because of their garages, driveways and their frontage but they continue to abuse us, and that's the problem."
"The golden rule should apply — do unto others as you would like them to do unto you — but that doesn't seem to sink in."
Onischuk is not alone in his territorial frustration.
Edmonton residents don't own the road space in front of their house but every year, the city fields dozens of complaints from property owners looking to stake a permanent claim over the street.
"We get a lot of residential complaints about the person next door, or the person across the street parking in front of their property, and we tell them the same message — it's a public road right-of-way and for use for everybody," said Brian Murphy, manager of parking assets for the city.
"That's the way it is when you live in a big city and you have public roads all over the place.
"You can park anywhere you want to on the public roads, unless it's signed."
'That's the way it is'
Edmonton bylaws stipulate that unless the vehicle is abandoned or there are parking restrictions identified by a sign or other traffic control device, everyone has a right to park on city-owned streets. A vehicle is only considered abandoned after 72 hours.
There are some residential parking permit zones but they are limited to designated, high-demand areas.
While there is nothing illegal about parking in front of a neighbour's home, the battle for prime parking real estate often creates conflict between neighbours.
There are many ways to lay claim to the paved paradise in front of your home.
In Calgary, a man gained infamy after he bought three old beat-up trucks, parked them permanently in front of his house to block off his neighbours' access, and called the local CBC morning show to brag about it.
During Chicago winters, people are known to put lawn chairs, traffic cones and even mannequins to claim the spots they've shovelled out.
Frustrated homeowners will go to great lengths to scare off parking poachers.
In Edmonton, Murphy said, the most commonly used parking-protection deterrents are unsanctioned, profanity-laden signs intended to keep unwanted vehicles away.
"Some of them will put up a no-parking sign. They have a big 'P' with a big cross through it," Murphy said with a chuckle.
"I've also seen ones where they have it in two different languages, one which is more explicit than the other.
I just wish the City was consistent. They own the sidewalk in front of my house, but deem that I am responsible to kept it clear. But they insist I have no claim to the parking spot adjacent.—@PABsurvivor
I once had a note left on my car in front of MY house from someone who told me to park in my driveway so ppl across street could park there. They had back garages and felt it more convenient to demand parking in front of my house instead of behind their's. Ppl and parking. Yeesh.—@marnipanas
It’s courtesy and respect. In the winter I shovel in front of my house so I can park there. I dislike when people park in front of my house and block my driveway.—@milmedicPA
I’ve noticed owners have more passion for parking in front of their own homes if there is a spot for each home. In neighbourhood streets where many homes do not have on street parking it’s not an issue.—@fatTireBikeBoy
Onischuk said he often sticks notes on the windshields of unwelcome vehicles — but they keep coming back.
The dispute with his neighbours has turned nasty, he said, and police have been called to his door more than once.
"The City of Edmonton bears a large burden of this responsibility because it's not just happening to me," Onischuk said.
"There's a large group of citizens that are obviously vulnerable to these kind of people that are disrespectful and don't have any consideration for others.
"I think that's fundamentally wrong. Bylaws should be there to protect us."
With files from Madeleine Cummings