Did you know that Calgary has some of the most expensive parking rates in the world, next to New York City? There's no way you want to be saddled with a parking ticket in this city.
Folks have been fined hundreds of dollars and relentlessly towed because they made a rash decision about parking downtown. It's one of those situations where you really have to pay your way to play.
Never fear though. If you've been dinged with one of these tickets, there are a couple of options for you moving forward in Calgary. Read on to find out what you can do.
Parking Ticket - How to Deal with It?
If you have received a parking ticket in Calgary, you're just one of the 6,000 daily recipients of parking tickets. The Calgary Parking Enforcement Unit never sleeps. Their goal is to maintain streets where circulation is unhindered and safe and parking regulations are important components of this objective.
You should be aware that most parking infractions are based on city parking bylaws, and are unsigned. It's a good idea to be fully aware of Calgary's city parking bylaws if you're visiting for the first time or you are a new driver. You can get a ticket at any time of day or night and in any type of weather.
Common Violations of Getting A Parking Ticket
Below are a few ways you may have been found guilty of a parking infraction:
Parking position: You may not park your vehicle more than 30 cm away from a sidewalk. Parking with your left wheels to the curb is also not permitted.
Parking location: You can get ticketed for parking in the following locations:
- Parking within 3 meters of a fire hydrant
- Parking within 9 meters of an intersection
- Parking on a boulevard
- Parking on a sidewalk or footpath
- Stopping within an intersection
- Parking within 9 meters of a crosswalk
- Parking in a fire route
- Parking in a bicycle route
- Parking in a bus stop area
- Parking in a no standing or no stopping zone
- Obstructing a driveway or a lane-way
- Stopping on a bridge
- Stopping on a center strip of a boulevard
Other parking violations: Did you know that in Toronto, you may not park for more than three hours on any street where parking is permitted? To exceed the three hours, you need a permit. This limitation includes overnight parking. If you are in your own front yard, you also need a permit to park there or you can get a ticket.
Some people try to use a street parking permit at the wrong location. This can also earn a parking ticket if someone complains about it.
Other common reasons that are true everywhere for getting a ticket:
- Parking at an expired parking meter
- Not displaying your Pay & Display ticket in your front windshield or an expired Pay & Display ticket
The parking violation that carries the biggest parking fine of $450 is unauthorized parking in an accessible parking area (formerly 'handicapped parking').
Parking Ticket in Calgary - Your Options
The City of Calgary lists pretty clearly different ways you can absolve your parking ticket. Of course, the easiest way by far is by paying. Maybe that's not the option you want though, since you'll definitely be paying through the nose.
Different Ways to Pay Parking Ticket
This is how you might go about paying for your parking ticket in Calgary. There are online and offline methods, but these days most people prefer to do it online. Thankfully, we've got you covered for all possibilities.
Calgary actually has a portal that allows you to pay for their tickets online. You can access it here. You will need to enter a valid license plate, the parking ticket number, and a valid credit card number.
If you do end up using the online portal, please note that you will be charged a service fee to pay. The time frame to pay for your ticket is one to two days after issuance. This fee may be suspended to encourage online payments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
IN PERSON or BY MAIL
Remember that you also have the option to pay at any city hall cashier or to mail in payments by cheque or money order (no cash) at "The City of Calgary, PO Box 2580 Station M, Calgary, AB T2P 2W9".
If you have misplaced your ticket, you will need to read until the end of this guide where we tell you what to do if you have lost a parking ticket in Calgary.
Be aware that municipal agencies also issue tickets. You can tell if the ticket was not issued by the Calgary Parking Authority if the number starts with 4 or 5, or the ticket is handwritten. If you get one of these you will not be able to pay online. Either pay for the ticket by mailing a check to "City of Calgary, Box 100, 400 - 39 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 5P8" or by paying in person at the City Hall.
Canadians can contact us for more advice about paying for tickets.
How to Dispute A Ticket
The other main option is to dispute a parking ticket. This may not be successful and could cost you in terms of time and money, but if you are able to do this, and win, then you can save a good dime.
One tip for success is to gather evidence toward your dispute. Say you parked for 5 minutes at a stall and the parking machine was broken, however, you were ticketed for parking there. This may make your blood boil because you were only parked a couple of minutes and technically it's not your fault that the meter was faulty.
What you'll want to do in this scenario is to snap a bunch of pictures ahead of time. Take pictures of the faulty machine, the error that is shown when you try to pay for your parking, and your license plate and stall.
If you're using the parking app to pay for parking, then you can also screenshot the app if it is throwing an error and you are unable to pay for your ticket.
Otherwise, you can check the CPA's website for detailed instructions about how to appeal a parking ticket. Remember your best bet is always to gather evidence and have a persuasive argument as to why the ticket is unfair.
Note that the CPA is unable to withdraw tickets based on compassionate reasons. For example, if you are rushing your ailing grandmother to the hospital and got a ticket, you'll have to take up your case with the Provincial Court.
A paid parking ticket is an admission of guilt. If you intend to dispute it, definitely do not pay the fine or else the appeal will be inadmissible.
You can easily submit an appeal online.
Consequences of Getting Multiple Parking Tickets
It's a common misconception that getting too many parking tickets can impact your car insurance rates. That's simply not true. Insurers are more concerned with moving violations, not parking violations. Another thing that cannot happen is having your driving license suspended if you've received too many tickets. However, it's best to pay them off in the 15-day time frame you are given, because if put on the back burner, you won't be able to renew your driver's license without having done so. And with those hefty late fees, those charges can add up.
The biggest reason why you should pay your tickets on time, at least in the City of Calgary, is that if Parking Enforcement issues you three or more tickets, which remain unpaid, you could be towed. And it's no surprise that towing charges and daily impound fees could rack up several hundred dollars.
How to Get Out of Parking Ticket?
In order to not join the unhappy club of people with too many parking tickets, you need to be aware of some ways to avoid getting one.
When you park, be sure to scan the area for any reason why you may not be allowed to park there.
- Check for fire hydrants.
- Watch for street corners.
- If you park for more than three hours on the street and you don't have a permit for that area, you're doing that at your own risk.
- If there is a 'no standing' or 'no stopping' sign, don't park. Even if you are in the vehicle, you can still get a parking ticket.
- Watch out for signage and take care not to park in a fire route or a bicycle lane.
- Do not ever park in an accessible zone. These are clearly marked with both signs and indicators on the pavement.
- Be aware that all these regulations are in effect even on statutory holidays.
Calgary Parking Enforcement
If you think your ticket was issued incorrectly, you will want to request a review from the Parking Enforcement Division. This system only addresses administrative or officer errors. If you are trying to get a review for compassionate reasons, you will have to take it up with the Provincial Court as mentioned above.
You can also contact the Parking Enforcement Division to report illegally parked vehicles. See an annoying truck obscuring pedestrian traffic? Call 403-537-7100 Option 2 for the dispatch officers to come to take care of it.
Lost Parking Ticket Calgary
Finally, if you think you've lost your parking ticket, you can go to in-person support at the Impound Lot. The address is 400-39 Ave SE Calgary, AB T2G 5P8. You will need to supply your license plate and they should be able to look up your ticket number for you.
Please take note of their reduced hours and holiday hours here.
Good Luck with Your Parking Ticket
Good luck with your parking ticket in Calgary! Hopefully, you are now well-equipped with the information needed to deal with a parking ticket, from payment to dispute to dealing with lost tickets.
For more personalized financial advice, contact us today! We offer products like free credit scores and quotes on multiple types of insurance.