It is Horsefeathers


It is Horsefeathers

Peter Guest, PT’s expert on all thing parking and not in North America, has taken me to task in his January Column on my comment that giving tickets to delivery vans in the active process of off loading is rediculous.
The article I referenced noted that people were being given citations on their windscreen while their trunk was open and they were putting goods into the back. Here’s what Peter wrote:

In a recent blog entry JVH criticized UK authorities
for ticketing vehicles that were loading and unloading “This is patently
absurd” says our leader and issuing a citation because the law says you can’t
park there is “horsefeathers”. Well no John it’s not.  Most of our towns
and cities pre-date the car, buildings don’t have loading bays and our street
pattern was old when the Romans got here.

Result: in many places a narrow
street has to be shared by pedestrians, buses, cyclists moving traffic and
people making deliveries. It doesn’t all fit in and so we to share the space,
usually by time-based restrictions. Parking may be banned all day (use the car
park) and loading is banned in the peak to maximize traffic flow. Loading is
allowed in the middle of the day but the length of time is limited so that a
van isn’t left all day by a shopkeeper is too lazy to walk a few yards.
Believe it or not this happens.


Parking enforcement need to get a life.  Here’s what I wrote that created Peters reaction:

It seems that they are giving tickets to folks who are loading and
unloading cars and merchants going about their daily business. This is
patently absurd.

Of course the most hated folks in the UK are parking enforcement,
and for good reason. They use no common sense whatsoever.  The answer
"The law says you can’t park there, so you get a citation."

Horsefeathers. The enforcement folks need some leeway. This ranks
right up there with giving tickets to priests administering last rights
and ambulances picking up the sick.

If the parking community wants to build a consensus with the parking
public, we need to be consistent, but fair. We need to be able to know
when to cite, when to warn, and when to smile and walk away.

If not, we will truly earn the moniker, "Parking Nazis"

I stand by my comments. If you have special circumstances like ancient towns and cities designed for a buggy trade, then you need to be flexible.  The merchants AND enforcement need to work together to solve these issues. If not, the merchants will be forced to move out of the central towns and there will be plenty of room for bicycles, those on foot, and the odd horse. Of course there will be no reason for them to be there because all the shops will be in the big mall on the edge of town.

If a merchant isn’t in the active process of loading or unloading, then give them a "quiet word" to move on and if they don’t, cite them. The repair trucks illegally parked at a coffee shop should be cited. In New York City UPS paid over a million dollars a year in fines. It was a cost of doing business. However finally the city and the delivery people got together and set up a program where they could purchase permits to deliver on a daily basis. They still double parked, but were motivated to move quickly, since if the permit ran out, they would be cited.  Probably about the same money changed hands, but the citation process was greatly reduced. All were happy.

Sorry Peter, but often these issues must be decided by smart people on the spot, not by inflexible rules and regulations which drive automatons to provide citations on vehicles obviously going about their business of doing business.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. No John, your missing the point. We do use common sense, perhaps not always well, to decide when loading is and is not allowed, hence the peak hour bans and off-peak loading. However once that decision has been made and the rules are in place they should be enforced, it can never right be for the local shopkeeper to decide whether or not he is a special case. In most cases the warden will have a quiet word before writing a ticket but the problem there is that when he has had a quiet word five days in a row where does he go next?
    When I was much younger I used to commute to work in central London by motor bike. The route was narrow and a bus route and every day one junction was effectively blocked by a morning delivery truck outside the corner shop despite the loading ban We (the council) put in a bus lane to speed up the buses but the effect was totally negated by this thoughtless act. all the guy had to do was park round the corner but no that was too hard.
    I and I suspect a lot of parking managers in the real world groaned when they saw your comment above about decisions being made by “smart people on the spot”. Think about it, how can that ever be fair?
    We do have a system of exemptions and permits but this is for special cases not routine convenience. If the system isn’t workingit should be changed, but not by ignoring the rules.

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