Dealing with a ‘merchant of woe’

I've not done well with resolutions in my life. For the past two years, I've tried to make it through an entire calendar without getting a parking ticket.

Failed both times.

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Last year, I made it to the start of August. But then, on the second day of the month, I got a ticket for parking in a permit zone outside my house. I forgot to renew my pass, which had expired two days earlier.

I saw the attendant from my apartment window writing me up, so I ran outside to plead my case.

Got nothing.

Pleaded some more.

Still, no mercy.

At that point, angry at myself for not renewing my permit and, well, angry at the attendant for doing her job, I looked at the bylaw officer and barked like a frothing dog: "I hope something really horrible happens to you too today."

She responded with one of the great rejoinders of all time: "It's happening right now," she said.

Touch.

It was 70 years ago this year that the city got its first parking meters.

At the time, police were responsible for enforcing the bylaws. It wasn't until 1976 that the dubious honour of ticketing went to a civilian force of public employees.

I ran into one of these public employees the other day when I was out, um, running. I think he was parking enforcer No. 332, which means he was the 332nd person employed to bring misery and dismay to the masses.

For a merchant of woe, I must say, he was a jolly fellow and, by all accounts, an exemplary civil servant - polite, personable, generous with information.

It was No. 332 who tipped me off about the city's parking anniversary.

Excuse me if I don't celebrate with cake and balloons.

Vancouver city council has approved changes to the parking meter program that will come into effect next year.

Rates will be jacked by $1 per hour at the busiest parking spots. The spots that get the least traffic will conversely cut rates by $1 an hour.

In 2015, the city collected about

$50 million from parking meters.

Vancouver engineering manager Jerry Dobrovolny told the CBC he wasn't sure whether the changes will increase or decrease revenues.

I'm not an accountant, but it seems to me if you bump the busiest spots by a loonie per hour and cut the slowest spots also by a loonie per hour, the likelihood of seeing a decline in revenue is, well, impossible.

A new year is almost upon us. I intend to have another go at my parking resolution. I will give it my full attention with the hope of pushing the inevitable failure to later in the year.

This will be progress. Baby steps.

Oh, and one final note, if I may.

To the bylaw officers who drive around in city cars ticketing lane infractions and the like: when you park illegally to give someone a ticket for illegal parking, well, that is an abuse of privilege and authority.

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