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Banff taking steps to stop illegal parking

BANFF – The municipality is testing new ways to stop people from parking illegally in front of fire hydrants or too close to intersections.

BANFF – The municipality is testing new ways to stop people from parking illegally in front of fire hydrants or too close to intersections.

As a trial, discs will be placed on a handful of fire hydrants indicating there is no parking within five metres, while painted yellow curbs and signs may also be explored to keep people from parking in front of the critical water source for fighting structural fires.

In addition, white triangle road markings are being painted in more than 30 intersections showing the outermost limit of where a vehicle can legally park because of safety concerns with sight lines.

Town of Banff officials say the most common complaint from people issued parking tickets is there was no sign or painted road markings indicating no parking.

Tony Clark, bylaw services supervisor, said infractions tend to happen when parking is near capacity.
“If someone drove downtown at 10 in the morning when there’s lots of parking, we would rarely see someone pull in front of a fire hydrant or too close to a corner,” he said.

“It’s a result of parking being full.”

Councillor Chip Olver said she supported the painted road markings and discs, but also said people should know the rules of the road when it comes to fire hydrants and intersections.

“I think it’s interesting that all of us who passed a driver’s test had to know that you couldn’t park within five metres of a corner and a fire hydrant,” she said. “So many have forgotten that or choose to claim that they’ve forgotten that.”

In 2017, 267 tickets were issued for parking within five metres of stop signs, yield signs, intersections and crosswalks. In addition, 952 tickets were issued for parking within five metres of a fire hydrant.
Coun. Ted Christensen wanted administration to look into options for a reduced fine for first-time offenders, noting there is a reduced fine for first offenders on time limit parking.

“I think we need to give our visitors every option to avoid that because they’re looking at the mountains, not fire hydrants,” he said. "We should give every visitor the option to have the best experience in Banff.”
Most other councillors believe the onus is on drivers, noting rules on hydrants and intersections are generally universal.

“If I go to Vail, Colorado, or Whistler, British Columbia, I’m going to get a ticket and they’re not going to give me a pass, so it shouldn’t happen here,” said Coun. Brian Standish.

Coun. Grant Canning took a harder line, saying there shouldn’t be a need for additional signage.

“You can’t legislate to stop stupid. If people are parking in front of a fire hydrant, they deserve to get a ticket,” he said. “At some point in time people should accept responsibility for what they do, and if they get a ticket for parking in front of a fire hydrant, well, so be it.”

Olver said parking in front of fire hydrants, or too close to an intersection, is a safety issue, noting she also wants further discussion on increasing the $55 fine for parking in front of a hydrant.

“When you’re overstaying in a parking lot you’re not causing a safety concern,” she said.

If someone is parked in front of a fire hydrant, the vehicle can be towed.

“If that’s the fire hydrant we would have to access for a structure fire, we would take whatever actions we needed to get water supply to our trucks,” said Silvio Adamo, Banff’s fire chief. “That may include damaging the vehicle, but we would be responsible for the damage.”

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