Is it time to ban the ban?


If it is possible—and it seems it is—for the Halifax Traffic Authority to lift the overnight parking ban a month before its official best-before date because the weatherman isn’t expecting snow for… well, a week, but who’s counting… then why is it not possible to hold off on imposing the ban until the first snow hits the ground instead of, arbitrarily, on Dec. 15?

If it is also true—and it is—that, under Section 139 of the Motor Vehicle Act, cars can be towed if they get in the way of snow removal, whether the municipal parking ban exists or not… then why exactly is it that we need said ban in the first place?

Just asking.

On Friday, Ken Reashor, the man behind the arbitrary Authority that pronounces on all things parking-ban, issued his third-year-in-a-row, ban-ending-early news release.

In it, he thanked us for being better children. This winter, only 7,637 of us—count me among them—were ticketed for violating the ban, a drop of more than 3,000—count me as one the naughty ones then too—from the year before.

Reashor also said he felt our pain—“there are frustrations with the ban,” he allowed, making it clear he occasionally reads newspapers or listens to talk radio—“but the rules always come down to ensuring our streets are well cleared and safe.”

But is the one-size-fits-all ban really the best way to ensure that?

The ban kicked in each night at 1 a.m.—more than an hour before some downtown night spots closed—and didn’t lift again until 7 a.m., an hour after many shift workers arrived for work.

While I have no excuse—just dumber-than-a-dustball carelessness—for my own tickets (I live on the peninsula and have a driveway), many who live in older sections don’t have easy options.

Halifax Coun. Dawn Sloane has been pressing—so far unsuccessfully—for changes to the ban: no snow, no ticketing; alternate side-of-street parking in the downtown core; distinct rules for different sections of the regional municipality; etc..

Before the next snow falls—hopefully in 2012—city council needs to have that discussion. Dec. 15 is just around the corner.


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