A St. John’s councillor maintains more downtown residents are getting ticketed during street-cleaning operations, but numbers released by the city say the number of tickets citywide is down from last year.
Ward 2 Coun. Jonathan Galgay told The Telegram last week that the elimination of the street-cleaning schedule mailout — with the information available online — has resulted in many more tickets to downtown residents who didn’t know they needed to move their cars to make way for city crews.
But data requested by The Telegram say fewer street-cleaning tickets have been issued this year versus last year.
According to the city’s numbers, 3,087 tickets had been issued as of Aug. 21. Last year, the city had issued 3,558 tickets by the end of August.
A St. John’s spokeswoman told The Telegram the city can’t determine how many tickets were issued as of Aug. 21 last year, just how many had been issued by the end of the month.
But it would require a lot of scribbling for parking enforcement officers to make up the gap by the end of August this year. And last year’s figure represented a 19 per cent increase over the 2,993 tickets handed out by the end of August 2012.
“So, overall, numbers are down over last year and on par with the year previous,” Susan Bonnell, the city’s communications manager, wrote in an email to The Telegram.
Focus on downtown
But Galgay insists there’s been a greater focus on ticketing downtown, and St. John’s is able to provide only citywide numbers and can’t break them down by street.
“There are portions of the city that don’t necessarily have regular scheduled street-cleaning, such as the downtown,” he said. “The calls I did receive were from homeowners that perhaps were sometimes the first time they’ve ever placed a complaint with the city for parking tickets. It all stemmed from the lack of seeing a tangible document in the mail.”
Galgay maintains there are streets in the downtown that have seen an increase.
“There are certain streets — for example, I had a call from an individual on Campbell Avenue. I think there was 14 or 15 on that street alone. And then last week again, they’re doing roadwork, and vehicles had no other place to go but the side street off Blackmarsh Road, and Blackmarsh Road had street-cleaning last night, and they got tickets, because they had no means to identify which streets were in street-cleaning. It’d be the last thing they’d think of, really.”
The street-cleaning schedule is available online, but Galgay says the city has received more than 500 requests from residents for a printed schedule.
The city’s public works committee — chaired by Galgay — is recommending reimplementing the schedule mailout, which council will vote on at its next meeting.
“When you drive around in the downtown late at night and you see 35 parking tickets on Gower Street, and you make the calls — something on Campbell Avenue and Patrick Street — there’s something that’s a little off.”