Ask Pat: City Vehicles

Someone asked—

Hey Pat, recently heard that (according to the bylaw office) city vehicles are not required to obey parking regulations or bylaws and can ultimately park anywhere they want, at any time, for whatever reason with impunity. Is this really true?

The bylaw officer was right, but I think you may be reading too much into it.

The City’s Street Traffic Bylaw regulates who can park where. The Bylaw is a little long-in-tooth, and a new one is being drafted up right now (hopefully ready by the end of the summer), but for now, it is the best we have.

Section 400 of the Bylaw outlines the various parking regulations, and the following parts are relevant to your question:

413. Notwithstanding anything elsewhere contained in this bylaw, the provisions relating to stopping or parking of vehicles shall not apply to:
413.1 vehicles used in conjunction with the servicing of public utilities including telephone systems, electric systems, natural gas systems and cablevision systems;
413.2 municipal and other Government vehicles;
413.3 towing service vehicles; or
413.4 armored carriers;
while such vehicles are actually engaged in works of necessity on a street requiring them to be stopped or parked. This exemption does not relieve the drivers of such vehicles from taking due precautions to indicate the presence of such vehicles on the street while so parked or stopped.

So as long as the City Vehicle is being used for City business, and needs to be parked there to get that business done, then it is exempt from the laws. The driver is expected, however, to practice due diligence and take reasonable safety precautions while exercising that exemption. So I wouldn’t say it is total impunity, but it is pretty relaxed.

And really, do we want the City charging the City to park? Who needs the paperwork, and who is served by it?

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