J & J's Gibberish J & J's Gibberish: A Rant on The Sting of the Green Hornet

J & J's Gibberish: A Rant on The Sting of the Green Hornet

J & J's Gibberish: A Rant on The Sting of the Green Hornet

One mother's weekly journey in raising her special needs children. 

City parking in Ottawa remains a nightmare.  Whether you overstay your hour-long welcome on a downtown street, are at a hospital or maybe leave your car overnight on a city street because you have had one too many to drive, you are vulnerable and the Hornet will sting.

I am going rant for a minute here… the worst is at the hospital.  A friend’s mother is in ICU at the moment.  If you are at the Heart Institute, cancer care unit or at another unit on the Civic Campus keeping a vigil for a loved one (or awaiting the arrival of new life), you likely haven’t slept for days.  You suddenly realize that you haven’t filled your parking meter in what seems like ager.  You race outside to put an exorbitant amount of change in the meter or use the Pay by Phone option to try and buy more time only to discover that it is not disease and possibly a broken heart that you are fighting.  It is the City of Ottawa’s parking meter attendants (aka the Green Hornets).

The City of Ottawa says there are no quotas for the Hornets.  If that really is the case, then it is time to show a bit more sympathy for people parking in and around hospitals for starters.  Some hospital staff--- those guardian angels ---sometimes fill empty meters to the chagrin of meter attendants (some of whom have in the past scolded staff for doing so).  As one nurse said:  “You never know why people are late putting money in.  They could be by the bedside of a dying loved one.”  Exactly.

Anyone who knows me knows I am a parking offender, which I freely admit.  I do manage to get my share of tickets, sometimes because of my own behaviour but many times not, which leads me to my next point:  why is it most downtown meters only allow for one-hour parking with no chance of extensions on Pay by Phone until an hour later?

For example, the other day I was at Lisgar Collegiate battling the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board to get Jacob into an autism program when my battle (which I talk about in an upcoming Jibberish post… it is getting interesting) went into overtime.  I tried to extend my parking by phone to no avail and voila $40 parking ticket. (By the way, City of Ottawa, why are our fines so expensive?  In Toronto, parking tickets are $30.)

One hour barely gets you enough time to do anything.  I was told by someone in the know that it is the local businesses who are at fault for the one-hour limit because want turnover.  Really?  On Cartier Street?  It is residential.

Ok, let me rant a bit more because there is also the hypocrisy of handing out tickets while parked illegally themselves, which I never noticed before until my clever daughter pointed it out.   Unprovoked, she fired off the below email to Mayor Jim Watson back in the winter.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: >
Date: Sunday, February 5, 2017
Subject: parking
To: Mayor Jim Watson

My name is ____ and I am 11 years old ... I would like to ask you a question. Why is it that parking ticket people can park illegally when giving a parking ticket, to someone else who is parking illegally?

Just a question that I would like to get my head around because I would like to be a lawyer.
thank you

Good question right?  The response came from a bureaucrat who basically tried telling her it was because of the Hornets’ safety and effectiveness of doing their job.  Right.  Basically it is so they can give out more tickets freely. 

But there are no quotas so we’re told.

Rant over but the questions that remain are:  why is there only one-hour parking downtown but 90 minutes or two hours in other parts of the city?  Why are Hornets allowed to break their own by-laws?  Why can’t the City increase the parking limits at the hospitals for more flexibility for hospital visitors?  Oh and when the Hornets do sting there, why not give the money from fines to hospitals so at least some good can come of it?  I asked by nobody has gotten back to me yet.

I will let you know what the City says.  And btw, if you have any Hornet stories, share them with me. 

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