A City of Langley flower box obscures a no-stopping sign on Fraser Highway near 204 Street this summer.

Unseen signs, unfair tickets

City of Langley's flower baskets blocking ‘no stopping’ signs, driver complains

Bruce Jamieson says he’s been ticketed three times in the last year-and-a-half for violating hard-to-spot no-stopping signs hidden by the summer flower baskets hung by the City of Langley.

In every case, Jamieson, a Cloverdale resident, was able to convince the City bylaw enforcement department to tear up the “annoying” ticket by taking photos of the obscured signs, filling out a dispute form and going to city hall.

He estimates the appeal process took “two to three hours” each time.

Jamieson suspects some people are simply paying the fines rather than spend that much time  fighting them.

“I don’t flatter myself that I’m the only person this has happened to,” he says.

Jamieson says he likes the flower baskets that hang from lamp standards, but thinks they should be trimmed more often to keep them from covering up the signs attached to the same poles.

“I think they’re [the flowers] a real asset,” Jamieson says.

“But if they’re going to put them in front of a street sign, they have to maintain them.”

In July, Jamieson was able to find an example two blocks from The Times offices where flowers were covering up a no-stopping sign bolted just above a still-visible three-hour parking time limit warning.

As summer progresses and flowers grow even longer, he has noticed instances where both signs have been obscured.

Langley City CAO Francis Cheung said the issue will be investigated.

“We’ll definitely have a look at it,” Cheung told The Times.

Cheung said before crews start trimming the bottom of the flowers off, the effect on the “esthetics” would have to be considered and so would the impact on the health of the plants.

One possibility, Cheung suggested, could be substituting warning notices for fines.

Jamieson has his doubts.

He said the reason he came forward is that he was told a year-and-a-half ago by the city bylaw enforcement department following his first ticket that the matter would be looked into, but tickets are still being issued.

“Nothing was done,” Jamieson said.

He said the people handing out the tickets can see if a sign is obstructed  and when one is, they should call someone at the city to trim the flowers rather than writing a ticket.

The City of Langley Highway and Traffic Regulation bylaw 2871 sets a fine of $50 for parking “contrary to traffic sign” but offers a reduction to $25 if paid within seven business days from the time issued.

Surrey North Delta Leader

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