Winnipeg man gets ticket tossed, wants misleading parking sign moved

A Winnipeg man wants a parking sign moved three meters after he received a ticket for parking within three metres of a crosswalk.

Jessie Scherbain says he was ticketed after parking near sign that said he could park there

Jessie Scherbain received a parking ticket for parking within three metres of a crosswalk. He decided to fight the $35 ticket because he felt the parking sign’s placement was misleading. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

A Winnipeg man wants a parking sign moved after he received a ticket for parking within three metres of a crosswalk.

The Highway Traffic Act states that parking within three metres of a crosswalk is prohibited. According to the act, a crosswalk can be defined as "any sidewalk that intersects or meets the highway on either side thereof."

"I knew of the three-metre rule, but there was a sign that said 'You can park behind this sign.' So, I parked behind the sign and thought that I was safe there," said Jessie Scherbain.
Scherbain says this sign should be moved three metres to avoid the confusion of parking too close to the crosswalk, which is marked by a dip in the curb. (Jessie Scherbain)

Scherbain was taking his son to a medical appointment on Aug. 2 near the Health Sciences Centre and parked on William Avenue near Tecumseh Street.

The crosswalk was not marked or controlled but there was a dip in the curb marking it as a walkway. The parking sign was placed right next to the dip in the curb and had an arrow indicating that parking was allowed on the east side of the sign, he said.

"Plugged the meter, put the ticket on the dash and when we came back found the ticket on the wiper and was kind of surprised to see it," said Scherbain.

Scherbain decided to fight the $35 ticket because he felt the placement of the sign was misleading.

"Why wouldn't they put the sign three metres back from the sidewalk if that was the rule?" he asked.

Scherbain says he went to the provincial Highway Traffic Matters building at 373 Broadway on Monday to fight the ticket. After waiting nearly three hours he was told by a clerk that if he pled not guilty and lost, the fine would increase to $70. Scherbain opted to fight the ticket because he didn't agree with it.

Scherbain brought pictures of where he was parked and the signage that was posted.

"Went and spoke to the Crown and they pretty much threw it out immediately," said Scherbain.
Scherbain's parking ticket was tossed out, but he still wants to see the sign moved to prevent others from being ticketed. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

He said he was cautioned not to park within three metres of a sidewalk crossing again in the future, but thinks the sign should be moved. He says he parked close to the sign as a courtesy to other drivers to allow more room for parking in an area where parking spots are hard to come by.

"Why would I park three metres behind the sign and leave half a spot in front of me?" he said.

Scherbain said he's satisfied that his ticket was thrown out but still wants to see the sign moved to prevent others from getting tickets like his.

"It seems like a whole waste of a lot of time for everybody involved, and I can't help but wonder in that area how many other people are getting that ticket every day or every week," said Scherbain.

"I think they should move the sign three metres back or stop ticketing people for parking there."

The Winnipeg Parking Authority says they are only responsible for enforcing the Highway Traffic Act and don't decide where to put the signs. Parking signage placement is determined by traffic engineers at the city's public works department.

Colin Stewart, a policy analyst with the parking authority, said in general terms, he would normally expect the officer to have either issued a warning ticket or not issued a ticket at all. But Stewart would not speak to the particulars of this exact case.

"As part of our quality assurance process, we regularly review situations where issuance of a ticket may not have been appropriate," he said.

Stewart also said that the new screening process, which came into effect on Monday, would have allowed the citizen to deal with the matter more quickly than attending provincial court with the same outcome.

'More incentive not to fight' tickets

With the new system now in place, drivers will no longer go directly to 373 Broadway to fight their tickets in front of a presiding judicial justice of the peace.

Instead, drivers now have to go through a city traffic screening officer at the parking authority building at 495 Portage Ave. One of those screening officers will decide whether there's any weight to the complaint and either reduce the penalty or quash it altogether.

If the city official decides the parking ticket was warranted after all, the driver can then appeal to a provincially appointed adjudicator for a fee of $25, which the city says will be waived if the adjudicator ends up siding with the driver.

"I sounds like it's going to be more incentive not to fight a ticket, because from what I understand there's a fee involved if you do want to fight it now," said Scherbain.

Scherbain fought his ticket under the old rules because it was issued before the new system came into effect. He's not sure he would have taken the risk of losing even more money to fight a $35 ticket under the new system.

"I might have been inclined to just pay it and grumble about it and go about my day," he said.