Parked in a designated fire route, but not a real fire route

volvoguy
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Parked in a designated fire route, but not a real fire route

Unread post by volvoguy on

I live on a private street in an Ottawa suburb (a narrower street with no sidewalks), and ran home before lunch to get my laptop. The whole street is marked as a fire route, but I figured since I had never gotten a ticket for running in and back out, I'd be fine.

I was inside for less than 5 minutes (we have security cameras so I can confirm the time) to pack up my laptop when my neighbour rang our doorbell to tell me that I was getting a ticket. By the time I ran outside, the vulture had already placed a ticket on my car. The time on the ticket matches the time on the security camera when I got outside.

I'm okay with paying a ticket if I actually broke the law, but there are a few things I'd like to run by you guys before I officially request a trial.

1) According to the by-law, parking is defined as:

“park” or “parking” when prohibited means the standing of a vehicle, whether
occupied or not, except when standing temporarily for the purpose of and while
actually engaged in loading or unloading merchandise or passengers;

Does this mean I wasn't actually parked since I was actually engaged in loading my laptop into the vehicle?

2) I'm not sure the street is actually a fire route - I can't find anything that backs up the claim the signs make
a) The street isn't identified in Schedule A of the by-law (all other streets over 6m wide are, but not this one)
b) The street is about 6.7m wide, so it's not automatically a fire route
c) Since it's a private street, it's not technically city property (does this matter?)
d) There are only townhouses on the street (no tall buildings)

Is there any other way this could be a fire route?

3) The signs don't follow the design outlined in the by-law:
a) The red "no" symbol is missing over the "P" (looks like it faded off over the years and is now completely gone)
b) The letters aren't at least 4cm tall (they're more like 3cm tall)
c) The French wording is incorrect (although more proper) - they say "Itineraire des pompiers" instead of "Route des pompiers" as per the by-law.

Does it even matter if the signs don't follow the design?

I'm going to call the condo corporation that manages our street to see if I can find out when/why the signs were installed, and if/how they got city approval to do so, but until I know more, can anyone please help answer these few questions?

If it turns out the street isn't a fire zone, I'm going to ask the condo corp to remove the signs, and might even look into the other tickets our neighbours have paid over the years (if that's even possible).

Thanks in advance!


argyll
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Unread post by argyll on

If you are inside for 5 minutes then you are parked. Basically if you aren't around your vehicle then you are not actively engaged in loading.

PS. Vulture ? You mean the person who helps to keep traffic flowing and routes open for emergency vehicles. They came across your car unattended and did their job. If you did not see them then how can they have known that you were loading the car ? Everyone gets annoyed when someone parks illegally unless it is their car.
Former Ontario Police Officer. Advice will become less relevant as the time goes by !


volvoguy
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Unread post by volvoguy on

Okay, I'd need to be faster to consider going inside to get something "loading". One down, two to go! If this turns out to be a legitimate fire rote, I'll pay the ticket.

Any help on the other points?

P.S.: In this case, yes! Some neighbours saw me measuring the street and came over to chat, and it turns out she monitors the mailboxes (also on the private street), and has threatened to give people tickets while they were getting their mail.


jsherk
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Unread post by jsherk on

Can you scan the ticket (black out personal info) and post?

I am interested to see if it is private ticket from condo or from city bylaw.
+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++


volvoguy
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Unread post by volvoguy on

@jsherk, it's a city by-law ticket, and it's specifically referring to by-law 2003-499 5 (1) (Park in a designated fire route).

Update on our street being a fire route: I contacted the city this morning, and it turns out that their online documentation hasn't been updated for 13 years, so the by-law that's readily available to the public is extremely out of date. Our street is an official fire route, but the only way to find that out is to request the original by-law and all of the amendments through the city archives. She was putting a request through to the supervisors to update this (and many other) outdated by-laws on the website.

The city official also said "we won't go onto private property to ticket a parked car unless someone called", but I was only there for a few minutes, so nobody had the time to call for me, but I suppose someone could've called about another car, and I just happened to be there at the right (wrong) time.

Update on signage: The city official said that the signs are definitely not designed according to the law, and that could be enough for them to drop the ticket and force the condo corp to make proper signs.

Update on "parking" vs "loading": The city official said that stopping for a few minutes can be considered loading even if you're not at the vehicle. Delivery drivers, for example, can take 5 minutes or more to deliver a package.

She "highly recommends" that I contest the ticket, so I'm going to stop by and do that today.


argyll
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Unread post by argyll on

volvoguy wrote: P.S.: In this case, yes! Some neighbours saw me measuring the street and came over to chat, and it turns out she monitors the mailboxes (also on the private street), and has threatened to give people tickets while they were getting their mail.
Then they should be filing a complaint against her.

A fire route needs to be clear in case of an emergency. If you are not in sight of your vehicle and therefore able to see the person writing the ticket then I would contend that you are parked.

I had this discussion with someone who parked in a fire lane for hours while he packed his house and put it into the vehicle. Note packed, not just loading already packed boxes. I gave him 10 minutes to move and he got a ticket and another 10 minutes to move before I towed him. He moved.

As I say, people like the rules when it prevents others from impeding their day but cry victim when it goes against them.

This is a general comment and not against the OP.

It sounds like you might be successful due to the sign being improper. I think the parking v loading issue could go either way.
Former Ontario Police Officer. Advice will become less relevant as the time goes by !


bend
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Unread post by bend on

Fire routes aren't put up on a whim. It's not something the property owner does alone on their own accord. It's a requirement put forth by the municipality to the owner of the property. If they are required, they have to fall into certain specs set out by the municipality and then approved by the head of fire and safety (i'm not positive of the official title, could be fire marshal). Because of this, the municipality should have a list of all approved fire routes. Usually, there will be a list somewhere in the bylaw. But as you mentioned, an online list is only as good as the frequency in which it's uploaded. They are common on private property, especially plaza's and malls. The fact that it's private property is not going to help your case. Municipalities are allowed to require and enforce fire routes whether it's private property or not.

As for loading and unloading, i'd probably have to disagree with the city official. Delivery trucks are ticketed all the time. Most delivery companies factor tickets as a cost of doing business. If you're not at your vehicle, i'd have to disagree that the loading and unloading exemption applies. I'd image a scenario with a cab driver or a mother picking up their kid from the front of the movie theatre is more applicable (as long as they don't sit there waiting). Even someone quickly loading a TV from the front of an electronic store (as long as they pull up, load, and immediately leave), but not someone who completely disappears and happens to be alerted by a neighbor. Had that neighbor not been there, 5 minutes may have been 20, and 20 minutes may have been lets heat up some hot pockets and take a quick shower. If you're unaware of the ticket being issued, you probably wouldn't have been aware you were blocking an emergency and would have cost someone precious seconds.

As for the signage, I couldn't give you an answer. All the requirements should be listed in the bylaw, but it seems you are already familiar with the one in your area. It differs from city to city.

Good luck


jimm
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Unread post by jimm on

How did a ticket officer enter a private street? Did you buy the street explicit? Some people with hugh mansion bought the surrounding streets from the government.






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