The City of Calgary apologized and removed parking signs deterring non-residents from parking in front of homes in the northeast community of Thorncliffe / Greenview.
Calgarian Daryl Pamplin was caught off-guard when he noticed the “ridiculous” signs after a picnic with his wife and their grandchildren at the public park on Taylor Crescent NE.
According to Community Mobility Reports as of May 23, 2021, park use in Calgary has seen a 21 per cent spike in use compared to the median usage to the same time last year.
Calgary Parks produced the signs in an attempt to address local residents’ rising concerns about parking in the area and educate park users on different parking options, the City of Calgary said in a statement.
However, some people found the signs to be offensive.
“I’ve watched a lot of people get very self righteous about the parking in front of their house, and it kind of annoys me because Calgary’s always had the attitude that the front of your house is not yours – it’s public parking,” Pamplin said.
At the bottom of the sign it said, “be a welcome visitor”, which is flat out rude, he said.
Sidewalk Bob, an avid Calgary Twitter-user, also had some comments on the signs.
“[I] just think it is weird for the City of Calgary to put up a sign that de facto supports homeowners’ free private parking spots on public streets,” Sidewalk Bob said.
“Shows a bias on a somewhat controversial topic.”
Pamplin contacted 311 and posted to Twitter with a photo of the signs.
On Tuesday, 10 days after Pamplin’s response to the signs, the action was taken by the City to remove the signs along the road on Taylor Crescent NE.
“While the signs were well-intentioned, they missed the mark … We apologize for the mistake and are currently looking at alternate approaches to educate park users on ways to ensure their visit to the area is safe and enjoyable for everyone,” the City’s statement said.
Pamplin was impressed with the actions taken by the City of Calgary to address the issue.
“I think they did a really good job … and at the very least, trying to stop that precedent that they almost set – of people being [able] to police their [own] street,” he said.
“I’m sure a lot of those people are not going to be happy that the signs are gone but … I just don’t want to see somebody not go there because they get yelled at for parking.”
Possible parking confusion
The signs had suggested for non-residents to park the other side of the street. Or opt for the Thorncliffe Greenview Community Association parking lot.
However, a private property sign on the fence leading into the Community Association parking lot could send park users mixed messages.
“It certainly does send that message – like, ‘well, where the hell should I park’,” Pamplin said.
“If you see something that has a sign that says no parking, you drive around the block and park in front of somebody’s house where it doesn’t say no parking.”
In response, the City of Calgary said:
“The Community Association has confirmed that park users are able to utilize their parking lot as an alternative to street parking,” they wrote.
“We will work with the Community Association to share information, and are looking into other available options such as staff on-site, social media and other channels to educate users on responsible park usage, and sharing the parking options that are available.”