Persnickety parking enforcer wins Dick Clod Award

Parking ticket issued at 4:05 p.m. on New Year's Eve when there was little traffic on Lower Water Street in Halifax.

Parking ticket issued at 4:05 p.m. on New Year’s Eve when there was little traffic on Lower Water Street in Halifax.

It’s New Year’s Eve in Halifax. Across the street from the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, a four-door sedan is parked illegally for five whole minutes.

Miraculously, it has not impeded traffic on Lower Water Street, but it’s only a matter of time before it chokes off this major artery and prevents the city’s workforce from getting home to ring in the New Year.

Josh Richter, Badge #50085, is walking the beat for Parking Enforcement Division H and he’s fighting the bitter December cold as he takes out his pen to issue a parking ticket. Not content with merely giving this scofflaw a $25 fine, he calls for tow-truck support. This parked car is a serious problem that must be dealt with quickly because there are a lot of people trying to get home from work at 4:05 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

A mother and two small children emerge from the museum just in time to stop their car from being towed away. Our diligent parking enforcer briefly regains his wits and halts the towing process so the trio is not stranded downtown — but the $25 parking ticket stands.

Thank goodness for parking enforcers like Josh Richter, who are so well-endowed with common sense that they assiduously enforce parking bylaws even when it’s not necessary and keep our fair city safe from the scourge of parked cars.

For sticking to the letter of the law and enforcing parking regulations even when it does no civic good, Josh Richter earns the 2013 Dick Clod Award – a dubious honour given to those who are persnickety without peer.

Nominations for the 2014 award are open. Please send them in.

My Christmas gift to the Navy

An open letter to Capt. Angus Topshee, Commander of CFB Halifax:

Capt. Topshee,

I heard on the radio this morning that you have a parking problem at CFB Halifax with 7,000 employees looking to park on the base and only 3,500 spots. (See link for CBC story.)

As a public service to you, and as a concerned taxpayer and citizen of this country, I would like to help you. I also pride myself in providing common sense solutions to problems and, since it is the Christmas season, I am providing this advice to you free of charge so that you won’t have to spend any money on consultants. They can be quite costly and consultants usually just end up using a bunch of buzzwords in a report that gathers dust on a shelf.

So, without further ado, here are some suggestions to solve the parking problem at CFB Halifax. I realize that not all employees work the same shift, but there are enough of them that work similar hours that some, or all, of the following suggestions will work.

  1. Buy some lots at three locations in the city (Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford/Sackville) or use existing DND property to create park-and-ride lots. Provide buses from these lots to CFB Halifax. Commissionaires could supervise these lots to ensure that vehicles and their contents would be safe during the work day. A survey of employees and getting their postal codes would help identify the best places to build these lots.
  2. Explore the possibility of similar lots in waterfront areas and consider using water taxis or ferries to bring navy personnel to work.
  3. Set up a system whereby employees who live near each other can carpool. Create a bulletin board or message board — online or offline — to help people find a ride.

Doing this would alleviate the parking problem and reduce traffic congestion on the peninsula and on the bridges.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful and wish you all the best in finding a fair, economical, and sensible solution to your parking problem.

Kind regards,

Ryan Van Horne

Department of Common Sense