Ticketed residents riled over reconfiguration

CLAYTON HEIGHTS – Residents living in East Clayton say they’ve noticed a spike in parking infraction tickets recently, and that’s just for parking in front of their own home.

The tickets appeared after the city provided additional on-street parking by reconfiguring some streets in the neighbourhood to "queuing streets" – meaning cars would be parked in a line in front of homes between the driving lane and a bike line.

The project, headed by the city’s transportation division, was intended to provide extra parking spaces for residents of the compact neighbourhood, but some people living in the area feel that it’s been more of a nuisance than a help.

Tyler Jackson, who bought his East Clayton home in May of 2013, said he’s had about eight parking tickets since the reconfiguration of his street.

"Everybody has no front driveway. In our case, we have a one-car garage and a small parking space beside it, and I drive a full-size truck so I can’t park in the garage or beside it. I have to park out front," he told the Now.

When he bought his home, he said there was a gravel strip in front of the house that he could "nose" his truck into or provide to visitors. Though it wasn’t a regulation parking spot, it allowed more room for additional cars.

"Because it’s an area that parking is desperately needed, they took a lot of parking that was there and eliminated it for the bike lane. Also they put big huge sidewalks and big huge boulevards and big strips of grass that’s on city property but we’re supposed to maintain it," Jackson said, adding that extra space could be better utilized for more parking spots.

Dave Harkness, manager of parking services for Surrey, said that some residents requested the change in the street configuration to allow for more parking, and that many buyers in the area knew their gravel strips would eventually be eliminated.

"There have been instances where the residents have requested and we’ve gone through a petition process and provided that there’s 67 per cent approval of the residents," he said.

Another resident new to the neighbourhood, Rory Ling, said he’s been in the area since Oct. 15 and so far he’s already received a parking ticket.

"Basically, in the bicycle lane, I guess (my tire) was touching just on the outside line there and they wrote us a ticket. I think it was $35," he said.

"I was parking my car on the next block over one time, and I saw one car whose back tire was just barely touching the line and they had a ticket on there," he revealed.

Ling said he’s going to dispute the ticket because "there’s not even anything here saying that you’ll be ticketed. We’re always within the lines in the front and the back, but there’s nothing here saying you can’t park here."

Jas Rehal, Surrey’s manager of bylaw enforcement, said that the area has been a priority for bylaw enforcement as of late, but that the enforcement is complaint-based.

"Based on that and based on calls that we were getting, we made it a bit of a priority for us. Because of the calls, we have seen more tickets being issued there," Rehal said.

"I think the problem was that it’s a highdensity area and the community came to us concerned. We didn’t just start ticketing overnight, there were a lot of mail-outs."

Rehal also echoed Harkness’ sentiments, saying that the reconfiguration to queuing streets was meant to bring more parking spaces to the residents of East Clayton. He also said this was the first time he has heard any concerns about the program.

What could solve the issue? Jackson has one idea.

"They could switch the bike lanes to the outside and that would gain a couple of parking spaces on each side and it would eliminate the need for the bike lines on the inside," he said.

Changes to other areas in East Clayton, including 194B Street, 68B Avenue, 68A Avenue, 192A Street, 193A Street and 193B Street, are pending feedback from residents. Once response cards have been mailed out, residents have until Dec. 19 to put in their two cents.

kalexandra@thenownewspaper.com

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