Free parking is not your right

One reader who supports the winter parking ban on Halifax streets.

I support the winter parking ban on Halifax streets. The streets are there for the efficient and safe movement of motor vehicles and bicycles. The streets are not there for the free and unrestricted use by Haligonians to park their motor vehicles. It is not a birthright that a Haligonian with a motor vehicle be assigned a free on-street parking place, 365 days of the year. If you want a parking place then go and pay for it. If one does not exist near your residence, then sell your car. What? No car! Notwithstanding the unfounded rants about Metro Transit, there are thousands of people who rely on public transit in Halifax for their movement about HRM.

I have lived in Halifax for 30 years. Every year I see the impact of cars left parked on the street during snow removal operations. The snowplow operator is forced to circumnavigate the parked car. When the car is removed, the remaining snow drift causes a hazard and in many cases results in that portion of the street being no longer available as a legitimate daytime parking place because of the buildup of snow and ice, which was not removed by the plow.

There is agreement that, during or after a snowstorm, all cars should be removed from the streets. There are sufficient spaces for people to park off the street, otherwise, as Cameron Harding suggested (Letters, December 23), they would be putting their cars "up their asses." The vast majority of the population finds a place to park the glass and steel cocoons, off the streets. These people could, and should, reserve and pay for these spaces for the months of November through April. The property owners who maintain these spaces should not be expected to hold these spots only for the 10 to 20 occasions during the winter when snow removal operations are underway.

I would go further and ban parking on streets 12 months of the year, in order to provide a safe lane for bicycles and other small vehicles, which are not equipped with engines to keep up with normal city traffic. A ban on street parking will result in safer streets because of improved vision at entrances to streets from driveways and side streets. In some cases we might consider the return of some of the thousands of square kilometers of paved streets to more ecologically sustainable functions, such as growing flowers, bushes and trees.

The footprint of the driving public must be reduced. This "wonderfully backward city" (as per Neal Durling's letter) might just keep its "young, vibrant people" (as per Cameron Harding's letter) with more learned policies to wean the population from the resource-wasting practice of free and easy parking. —Peter Allen, Halifax

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