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How To Avoid Getting A Parking Ticket in Vancouver

If you’re a frequent driver in or around Vancouver, you know exactly how ugly parking can get.

The Vancouver Sun recently published an article on the top tricks and secrets to avoid getting a parking ticket in Vancouver. It offered a insight to a lot of loopholes many aren’t aware of and includes a lot of the danger spots around the city. We’ve taken the list and added onto it to bring you complete guide of avoiding parking tickets in Vancouver.

  • Find a Garage. If you’ll be leaving the car for an extended period of time, it may be a better deal to park the car in a nearby garage at the hourly or daily rate. If nothing else it will certainly cost less than having to pay the cost of a parking ticket in case you don’t make it back to feed the meter in time.
  • Heed the signs. Always check for “no parking” signs and/or curb markings before leaving your car. In some areas parking may be prohibited at certain hours or on specific days, and signs to that effect may only be posted every few hundred feet. Also ensure the car isn’t blocking or is within a ticket-worthy distance from a fire hydrant. Likewise, check to see if it’s illegally occupying a handicapped zone or is blocking or has been parked too close to a crosswalk.
  • Remove your license plate… This is something we definitely discourage, however it’s something that has been done in different cities including Toronto. Drivers remove their license plate right after they park and the enforcement officers are left with little to no options..
  • If there’s one place you should make sure to plug the meter, it’s in the 800-block of Hornby, right in front of the Law Courts. That’s because parking officers are testifying in traffic court and often write a few tickets on their way in or out. The Starbucks at Helmcken and Howe is also a danger zone: it’s right across the street from parking headquarters and where many parking officers go for coffee.
  • If you’re running into Future Shop at Broadway and Pine and figure you’re safe in a permit spot for a minute or two, think again. More people receive permit-related tickets in the 2500-block of Pine than anywhere else. That’s because a resident calls parking enforcement about three times a day to complain about illegal parkers. Other blocks under the constant watch of irate residents include the 2400 blocks of Bayswater and Trutch and the residential streets around Langara College.
  • For parking-meter tickets only, every driver in the city is entitled to one “courtesy cancellation.” If you call 604-257-8732, and ask nicely, the city will usually waive your fine. Each licence plate gets only one free pass over the life of the vehicle.
  • Don’t park in assigned spots! A lot of popular parking lots in Vancouver have a couple assigned parking spots for business owners or VIP’s around the lot. Don’t assume the assignee only uses the parking spot from 9am-5pm.
  • The worst day of the week to park illegally is Wednesday. Parking officers work a nine-day fortnight and the one day virtually all of them are on shift is Wednesday. Not surprisingly, it’s also the day the most tickets are issued: 20 per cent more tickets, in fact, than on a typical Monday.
  •  The riskiest time of day to park illegally is in the afternoon, between noon and 4:30 p.m., since that’s when the various parking shifts overlap. However, there is a slight dip in ticket-writing between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m., when many parking officers are on their lunch breaks.
  • As long as you’re not blocking a rush-hour route, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. is “Happy Hour” for illegal parkers. Starting at 3:05 p.m. every weekday, parking officers from all over the city converge on routes such as Robson, Davie and Broadway to hand out no-stopping tickets and order vehicles towed away. As a result, enforcement of all other offences — such as expired meters and permit zones — drops off considerably for about an hour.
  • Enjoy your Sunday brunch without fear of a parking ticket. The first shift of parking officers doesn’t start on Sundays until 11:30 a.m., much later than on other days. There’s a proposal before city council to move the start time to 8:30 a.m. but, for now, your chances of getting a ticket before noon on Sunday are slim.
  •  Night owls can rest easy. The first shift of parking officers starts at 6:15 a.m. and the last clocks off at 10:30 p.m. There are some exceptions for special events, but for the most part there is little to no parking enforcement overnight. However, this could change: a report has gone to city council proposing a new shift that would run until 2 a.m.
  •  A five-minute grace period exists in most no-parking areas, such as permit zones and commercial loading areas, so you’re allowed to stop briefly to pick someone up or drop them off. That also means a parking officer has to observe you sitting in such a spot for at least five minutes before writing you a ticket. Be warned, though: no such grace period exists for areas where you’re not allowed to stop at all — like rush-hour routes or bus zones — or for spots with a meter.
  •  All parking meters are not created equal. Downtown, where there are dedicated meter-checking foot patrols, the typical meter is usually checked by a parking officer at least once every two hours. In contrast, the meters along Commercial Drive and in Kerrisdale don’t have dedicated foot patrols and so may be checked as little as once a day.
  • If you’re going to park illegally, don’t put on your four-way flashers. It provides no legal protection and just draws attention to your offence. “What it says to me is: I know it’s illegal, but I’m only doing it for awhile,”
  •  Just because there’s no chalk on your tires doesn’t mean you’re necessarily safe in a two-hour parking spot. Instead of chalking, some parking officers log the position of each car’s tire air valve in their hand-held computers. If the position hasn’t changed by the time they come back around, they know your car hasn’t moved. Other officers put a small stone on top of each tire or check tailpipes for signs of condensation.
  •  When the time runs out on your parking meter, you always get a two-minute “grace period”, regardless of whether you paid for four minutes or an hour. During that grace period, the meter will display a solid “000” instead of a flashing “0000” and you will not receive a ticket. However, the grace period also means if you tell an officer the meter just ran out, they know if you’re lying.
  •  You can get a ticket even if your meter is fully paid. Along several rush-hour routes, such as Robson, a meter will accept your change even though you’re not allowed to park there between 3 and 6 p.m. Stickers on each meter warn parkers of this fact, but dozens of paid-up parkers are still ticketed and towed every weekday.
  • There are no parking enforcement officers working on either Christmas or New Year’s Day. Vancouver police will respond to complaints about serious safety violations, but your chances of getting a ticket for anything else on those two days are virtually zero.
  • YVR offers a grace period of one minute for vehicles left unattended on the pick-up and drop-off ramp. They have someone on duty watching from 6:00am to 10:00pm seven days a week and the second your one minute is up, they call for a tow-truck!
  • Students studying late night at universities after 10:30 and parking in the universities parking lot are safe until 8:00am (the earliest scheduled class across all universities in BC)

SEE ALSO: Vancouver Parking Meters Revenue Up $42 Million

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