Back in November, Ward 5 Councillor Arnold Huffman asked staff to prepare a report on the current parking bylaw to see if it would be valid to change it from the current 3hr maximum parking and change it to 5hr along with adding no overnight parking.
I don’t have a vote on the committee but I mentioned last night that if we are to change this bylaw there should be a compelling business case to do so. And in my opinion, there wasn’t such a case made.
The staff report concluded that it would be beneficial to keep the current law and if it was changed to 5 hours there would have to be significant changes made to the shift of our bylaw officers. The parking bylaw services are contracted out, meaning they are not Town of Milton employees. Here is the text of the report.
Report to: Chair and Members of Community Services Standing Committee
From: M. Paul Cripps, P.Eng., Director, Engineering Services Date: March 5, 2012
Report No. ENG-003-12
Subject: Parking Enforcement – Three Hour Limitation, Parking Considerations, First Attendance
RECOMMENDATION: THAT Staff Report ENG-003-12 regarding Councillor Huffman’s request to review raising the three hour parking limit to five hours, while not permitting parking from 2:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m., along with reviewing the parking consideration program be received;
AND THAT the existing three hour parking by-law remains in effect and that the parking consideration and first attendance programs continue to operate as noted in Report ENG-003-12.
Currently, the parking by-law within the Town of Milton is three hours unless otherwise posted. The three hour parking by-law is fairly standard throughout many municipalities in the surrounding area, with the exception of the Town of Halton Hills, which recently changed their on street parking by-law from three hours to five hours.
The three hour parking limit has been developed to provide short term parking for guests and to encourage clear, uncluttered residential streets. The three hour parking limit also:
• encourages residents to provide off street parking for the number of vehicles they own;
• allows for road maintenance activities including road repairs, snow removal, sanding/salting, street cleaning;
• helps to facilitate the weekly collection of residential garbage;
• helps to minimize the difficulty of backing out of, or accessing a private driveway;
• controls the problem of derelict vehicles;
• improves the traffic flow on residential streets
Three Hour Parking By-law
Staff surveyed a number of area municipalities with respect to their parking by-law and their exemption program. The following Cities/Towns have been surveyed: Towns of Halton Hills, Oakville and the Cities of Burlington, Vaughan, Cambridge, Brampton and Mississauga. All of the surveyed municipalities have a three hour parking by-law with many of them prohibiting parking from 2:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. (yearly or seasonally) with the exception of Halton Hills, which has a five hour by-law and No Parking 2:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. November 15 – April 15. It should be noted that with the new five hour parking by-law in Halton Hills, when a complaint is received for on street parking, the officers will issue a warning tag first, prior to issuing a tag. All surveyed municipalities have parking consideration programs similar to the program within the Town of Milton.
It should be noted that the Town of Milton also has a program that allows residents to apply for extended 15 hour parking on their street involving a petition and questionnaire process. This program has been available since 2003 and to date there are only eight locations within the Town of Milton where extended parking has been approved, while over 150 streets have been reviewed. The lack of positive response to the questionnaires issued by the Town related to extended parking would indicate that the majority of residents support the current three hour parking by-law.
Over 90% of the enforcement requests (approximately 1150 from 2011) that the Town has received are for enforcement of the three hour parking by-law, particularly overnight parking. Residents tend to use their garages for storage instead of parking of a vehicle.
The Engineering Services Department doesn’t support changing the on street parking by-law from three hours to five hours, as this would create enforcement issues for the Town and be operationally disruptive. It should be noted that the three hour parking bylaw is enforced on a complaint basis similar to surrounding municipalities. Currently, our parking enforcement officers work an eight hour shift. The first three hours of their shift is used for chalking vehicles and after the chalking has been completed, the officers can then return to the streets to issue parking infraction notices. Enforcement of the three hour limit takes up the majority of the night shift for the officer and it should be noted that the Town receives several new requests for enforcement each day. It is also important to note that the same officer that chalks the vehicle has to issue the parking infraction notice. If the parking by-law was changed to five hours, this would only allow our officers approximately one hour to chalk; therefore all of the complaints would not be attended to, resulting in a decrease in level of service.
In 2003, the parking by-law in the Town of Milton was three hours unless otherwise posted and parking was prohibited from 2:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m., November 15 – April 15 for winter control. This was subsequently changed to allow three hour parking at anytime, because if a storm occurred at night, the plows would be concentrating on clearing the arterial and collector roads first. With the introduction of the “Allow the Plow” campaign the number of vehicles tagged for impeding snow removal has been reduced.
With respect to the parking consideration program, residents who are having driveway or home renovations completed are currently required to use their 18 parking considerations per plate per year. Parking Enforcement does approve extensions under extenuating circumstances, such as relatives living with family until a new home is built (with proof), university/college students home for the summer, etc. This process has been in place for a number of years with very few complaints from the residents.
Residents/guests are able to obtain a parking consideration by calling Parking Enforcement directly or on the Town’s web site. Some municipalities actually sell permits to residents/visitors once they have exhausted their permitted parking considerations. Implementing a process such as this would not be feasible due to limited human resources. It is therefore recommended that the parking consideration program remain as is and residents requiring extended parking considerations continue to contact Parking Enforcement and their request will be reviewed on an individual basis.
Effective immediately, should a resident be having home renovations or driveway work completed by a contractor, they will be required to use five (5) of their 18 parking considerations per plate per vehicle and then can apply for an extended permit if required. They would be required to send Parking Enforcement a request with all of the required information (name, phone #, address, license plate numbers of vehicles that require on street parking, and proof from the contractor that work is being done and when it will be completed).
Currently, the Town of Milton operates a First Attendance Facility, which allows the recipient of a parking infraction notice to come to Town Hall and fill out paperwork should they wish to dispute their parking infraction notice. This process must be done in person, which is consistent with all other municipalities and the same as someone disputing a Highway Traffic Act charge. First Attendance is not the type of program that can operate online. Presently, Parking Enforcement doesn’t fax or e-mail the First Attendance forms to recipients. Effective immediately, should a recipient of a parking infraction notice wish to have the First Attendance forms e-mailed or faxed to them this can be done, saving them some time when they appear at First Attendance.
There is no financial impact associated with Report ENG-003-12.
M. Paul Cripps, P. Eng.
Director, Engineering Services
Staff advised the committee last night that these changes will bring about potential increases in the cost of providing the service to Milton residents. He said the cost increases could be in the range of $32,000 to $64,000 per year given the changes to the contract we have. Mayor Gord Krantz asked staff last night if this is a money making venture, does it lose money or does it break even. He felt that this is something we shouldnt be making money on and Mr Cripps advised, not knowing the numbers he felt this service broke even.
Whats going to happen after this? If the costs go up, revenue must increase to make it a break even venture. More revenue means more tickets for Milton residents.
In my opinion, there wasnt a compelling case made to change the bylaw from 3 to 5 hour parking. In my time as councillor for the ward I have received a few emails and calls regarding parking issues in ward 6. Mainly these have been issues with commercial vehicles and neighbour “feuds”. The facts outlined in the report last night stated every surrounding municipality with the exception of Halton Hills has a 3 hour parking bylaw including Oakville, Burlington, Brampton & Mississauga. As Milton grows in size comparable to these areas, we should be looking at what works for them.
I along with Councillor Rick Malboeuf asked staff that a lot of the issues regarding parking tickets can be fixed by using common sense. Things like not ticketing at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Grey Cup and other special events where friends and families are visiting. The worst ticket being someone whos had a few drinks and they do the responsible thing by taking a cab home or staying over and for that getting a ticket.
There are measures in place for parking considerations as outlined in the report.
You can go online and get a parking consideration in a matter of seconds and in cases where you are having renovations made and cant use your driveway extra time will be considered.
I questioned staff on the number of considerations per plate (currently 18) and if they might think about increasing the number of considerations to encourage their use. He felt that the Town of Milton is quite generous compared to other municipalities in this matter but I honestly think that if we want people to use them regularly and not be inconvenienced by running out of them during the year, we can give more considerations.
I personally think the wrong decision was made by the Community Services Standing Committee as there will be more confusion with residents and will result in an increase in parking infractions, not to mention an increase in the cost of providing the service.
But as always, I DO want to hear from you.
This decision will now come before council on March 26th to be ratified. I encourage you if you dont want these changes made, to make your feelings known by emailing me firstname.lastname@example.org and other members of council and also by becoming a delegate at the meeting to speak your mind.