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When is it ever okay to park in a ‘no parking’ zone?

Published February 19, 2013
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Eric Lai answers readers’ auto questions every week for Wheels.

Q: I took a picture of a Toronto Parking Enforcement vehicle parked next to a “no parking” sign as I think it’s incredibly unfair to be out issuing tickets to others while the officer is also committing the same violation in the process. This happens quite a lot.

Any chance you can get an official explanation for this?

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A: Toronto Parking Enforcement referred our inquiry to a supervisor, but no reply was received as of press time.

The unofficial reason, of course, is they have to park somewhere. And they’re not really parking. They’re just passing through while doing their job. It just looks bad.

Keep in mind, however, that parking in a “no parking” zone is not an absolute violation as several other designated groups, including delivery persons, are permitted to temporarily park in such zones while doing their jobs. Accessible Parking Permits (with the “wheelchair” logo) also allow persons with disabilities to park in these areas.

A complaint would be justified, in my opinion, when someone parks in a no standing or no stopping zone, in a live traffic lane, a fire lane, or blocks a pedestrian entrance or wheelchair ramp, or a loading zone, driveway, laneway, intersection, crosswalk, pedestrian crossover or anywhere drivers should rightly know never to park.

This applies equally to delivery persons, APP holders, and parking enforcement as none of these groups have absolute free reign to park willy-nilly without regard to how it adversely affects others.

Police, fire and ambulance vehicles may park anywhere as reasonably necessary when attending an actual emergency. If, however, they choose to act unprofessionally and abuse the privilege by blocking traffic to run into a coffee shop, for example, then a public complaint and/or an unflattering YouTube video are more than likely to follow in this digital recording age.

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