Not all parking cops are mean and nasty
Who says parking bylaw enforcement officers are predators, waiting to ambush your car and ticket it as soon as the time expires?
Not me, at least not after meeting a parking cop who exercised a little discretion in my favour.
I drove up University Ave. after 3 p.m. on Tuesday, looking for a fire hydrant north of Queen St. that a reader described as a ticket trap that’s hard to see from the curb, where drivers are allowed to park, except during rush hour.
I wasn’t paying attention to the time, but I am well aware that University is a tow-away zone after 3.30 p.m.
I saw the hydrant I was looking for and pulled over in an area where several other vehicles were parked, including a couple with parking tickets on their windshields.
The hydrant I wanted to check out was only a short distance from my car. I’ll just hurry over there, shoot a couple pictures, scoot back and be gone in a jiffy, I thought.
As I scuttled up the street towards the hydrant I saw a guy on a bicycle pass me. It dawned on me that he looked like one of those guys who issue parking tickets.
A tow truck had pulled over to the curb and was backing up towards my car, where he and the parking cop were about to converge.
I turned around and rushed back, catching up to him just as he stopped at my car. I told him who I was, why I was there, and that I just wanted to shoot a couple photos of the hydrant.
He sighed and said okay, but make it snappy. “We have a zero-tolerance policy during rush hour.”
The tow truck driver weaved around my car in reverse and came to a stop in front of the vehicle behind mine, where he put it on the hook, at the direction of the parking cop.
If there hadn’t been other vehicles in the curb lane that were eligible for towing, I doubt he would have cut me any slack. But he knew the lane would be blocked for a few more minutes anyway, so he let me do my job, while he did his.
I met up with him again a few minutes later, where I had moved my car to a legal parking spot. We talked about the hydrant (which I concluded was not a ticket trap), and the behaviour he sees from drivers.
His observations were delivered in a world-weary, wise tone. It was apparent that he is a decent man who understands the fine line between the letter of the law and practical applications of it.
I'd like to bump into him again and buy him a beer.