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We can’t issue parking tickets, says City

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Parking frustration: Unhappy motorist Donna Barnes

Heedless drivers and lax enforcement are leaving irate Hamilton motorists with nowhere to park — but the City has said it’s not standing idly by.

In the wake of Monday’s report on the flouting of parking rules, motorists contacted The Royal Gazette imploring the Corporation of Hamilton to crack down on blatantly wrongful parking.

For Donna Barnes, who has a three-year-old grandchild, the suggestion that she rely on the Bull’s Head car park for a space was not acceptable.

“I went to the No 1 Shed at 8.30am and it was already full,” she said. “There were cars parked in cycle bays, in the space where mini buses are supposed to park, and where there is no parking whatsoever. They’re only supposed to park there for three hours, but they’re there all day because they know they can get away with it.

“As I went out of there, I saw a car without any handicapped sticker parked in a handicapped space.” Making matters worse, she said a parking enforcement van “drove around in a loop and then left without doing anything”.

“The officer used to have clamping [powers], but I don’t know if they’re able to ticket now,” Ms Barnes said, referring to the Supreme Court ruling in November that overturned the City’s clamping enforcement.

“I don’t like the Corporation of Hamilton’s attitude. Surely to goodness they could work with Police or the parking wardens to do something about it.”

Edward Benevides, chief operating officer and secretary for the Corporation of Hamilton, said the City’s administration was engaged in sampling to check its patterns of car park usage. Mr Benevides confirmed that the City’s loss of clamping powers had taken the teeth out of its parking enforcement.

“The use of clamping to change behaviour works very well, and has proved successful since 2007,” he said.

“However the recent ruling determining that it is unlawful under current laws, which invalidated some resolutions and ordinances, has removed this consequence and deterrent to bad behaviour.”

The City’s own staff do not have the legal power to issue parking tickets, even in Corporation-owned car parks, Mr Benevides said.

Under the Island’s laws, only the Bermuda Police Service — which includes traffic wardens — has the power to write tickets.

“It is illegal to park without paying, and subject to enforcement,” Mr Benevides said, adding: “Remember enforcement is not used as a revenue generator; it is used to correct bad behaviour.

“Unfortunately, until we can have the ordinances passed by Parliament, only the Police can deal with the illegally parked vehicles.”

A car without a digital parking meter. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
A car without a digital parking meter. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
A car without a digital parking meter. (Photo by Akil Simmons)