SURREY — They say the good things don’t last.
Ruth Reiter has been parking in front of her sister Sherry Barker’s house in Whalley for seven years now, driving up from Bridgeview to visit her almost every day.
On March 22, she got her first ticket ever, tucked under the wiper blades of her Honda.
“Seven years, I’ve been parked in this same spot for seven years. First ticket ever,” Reiter said.
Last year, the City of Surrey collected $1.8 million in parking fine revenue. Of 59,467 tickets issued, 26,468 were paid and 2,764 were disputed. There were 20,564 outstanding tickets, 1,715 were cancelled and 7,956 warnings were issued.
Reiter’s sister lives in the 13000-block of 103 Avenue. “I visit her every day,” Reiter said. “I thought it was some kind of coupon. There’s no notice up saying there’s no parking on the boulevard. I’m off the road; I’m on the grass right next to the fence.”
So what did she do? Well, she took her fight to city hall, straight to the payment kiosk. And ended up paying $35.
“I went to City Hall, and she said ‘You just haven’t got caught yet,’” Reiter said. “She said it could take a month to dispute and if you go over 14 days, then you have a set penalty of 50 bucks, and then the early payment was $35, which I paid today. And then she said if it’s a late payment, if it goes over the 14 days, you’ve got a $75 payment. And a surcharge.
“She said you’re better off to pay the $35,” Reiter said. “Like, I can’t even afford this ticket, I’m broke. Like, I’m broke.
“I’m on disability. I really can’t afford it, that’s why I took the $35 ticket,” Reiter said. “I want people to be aware.”
The “alleged contravention” cited on her parking fine ticket is “Park on or boulevard.” Reiter’s ticket states the “set penalty” is $50 but the “early payment discount” — if paid within 14 calendar days — is $35 and the “late payment” — if paid after 35 calendar days — is $75.
“There’s no signs anywhere saying you can no longer park, there’s nothing,” Reiter said. “And I’ve been parking in the same spot for seven years without an issue, and I’m not the only one that parks there. There’s so many other people that park in that spot.”
As for her sister, she said, “She has grandkids, and she had a lot of people who come over for their birthdays — where are they going to park?”
Barker is not happy that city hall is ticketing her parking visitors.
“I mean, it’s stupid. It’s ridiculous — can’t even park in frickin’ in front of your own house,” Barker lamented. “It’s funny seven years and nobody’s gotten a ticket. Why seven years later, all of a sudden they’re ticketing us? “The thing is, you really can’t dispute it, you got to pay it, otherwise they penalize you. To me, if you get the ticket you shouldn’t be penalized until it goes through, whether you have to pay it or not. Like, that’s just stupid.”
According to the city’s website, just because there’s not a “no parking” sign in sight, it doesn’t mean you’re free to park there.
“You don’t have to have the signs,” said Jas Rehal, Surrey’s manager of bylaw enforcement.
Again, according to the website, “Too many signs create unnecessary clutter along City streets.”
Those situations that fall under the city’s Parking Without Signs Regulations include parking adjacent to crosswalks, driveways, walkways, intersections, fire hydrants, one-lane-travel streets, cul-de-sacs, back lanes and sidewalks and boulevards.