Wednesday, May 24, 2006

You can fight City Hall

I have a new focus for my wrath. A new mission, if you will. And I do accept it. I need to get the "No parking here to corner" sign moved from one side of my driveway to the other.

I live at a T-intersection that has an elementary school across from it. A couple of years ago, signs were put up on each side of the street prohibiting parking within 6 metres of the crosswalk. Unfortunately, the 6 metre line falls just short of my driveway and the one across the street, so people who park right up to the sign block access to our driveways.

Which wouldn't be so much of a problem if people were reasonable and moved with good grace when we residents need to exit or enter our driveways. But people are rarely either reasonable or graceful.

People have gone from merely shooting me dirty looks, to muttering obscenities because I had the audacity to want to use my driveway when they were waiting to pick up their child who can't be expected to walk 4 or 5 car lengths, I mean really lady, as if! Then there are the truly inconsiderate souls who leave their vehicle parked across my driveway and go into the school, leaving me wondering when, or even if, they are coming back. For all I know, they could be merely crossing to accompany a younger child back to their vehicle, or they could be going in to volunteer for the entire afternoon.

Yesterday, a huge 4x4 cab-and-a-half monstrosity of a truck was sitting right across my driveway, completely blocking it, just as I was leaving to go back to work. I came out of my house, climbed into my car, started it up, thinking surely the driver would have the good sense and grace to pull ahead temporarily and allow me to exit. Did he? As our good friends on Coronation St. would say, "Did 'e 'eck as like!" He watched me (we're talking eye contact, here, he saw me, oh yes, he did!) get in my car and chose that moment, that exact moment, to get out of his truck and walk to the back of it.

Why did he think I was getting in my car? More comfortable seating than my living room? Better heating? Better stereo? Surely not that I might want to drive... like now???

So, I laid on the horn, so as to gently dissuade him of any misconceptions regarding my intentions. To his credit, he caught on immediately, interrupted whatever vital functions to which he was attending and moved his truck.

And so it entered my head that I had had enough and perhaps asking that the sign be moved to the other side of my driveway might be reasonable. And that's when I noticed that the sign on the other side of the street had already been moved! The new location is directly opposite where I want the sign on my side of the street to be... how convenient.

City hall doesn't stand a chance.*

*Yes, yes, I realize that on the scale of trials and tribulations in this life, this is really small potatoes. But I gotta blog about something and folks, this is all I got. For which I am appropriately grateful. But the signs, they are a-changin'... or else.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a sign, I tell you: A sign!

May 25, 2006 at 8:20 a.m.  
Blogger MuppetLord said...

*delurks* Hi there. A sign? A portent perhaps?

May 25, 2006 at 9:02 a.m.  
Blogger mmat said...

last i checked (in this province at least) it was illegal to park across someone's driveway. what you should do is call the police/bylaw enforcement and mention that a wonderful opportunity for tickets sits directly in front of your driveway every day.

i used to have that problem at my old house so i would sit on the hood of their car with my cell phone and start calling the police. that gets people to move pretty quick-like.

May 25, 2006 at 10:25 a.m.  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

All hail MuppetLord! I do love it when people delurk...

This is a potent portent, I should think.

mmat - It's illegal here, too. I'm thinking taking pics of the car with the licence plate in view with the digital camera would work, too. But I'd really like to get the sign moved. They actually seem to respect that and, it being a school, every year there's a new crop of parents to train.

May 25, 2006 at 10:38 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GoodTwin here... (now I've delurked there's probably no stopping me...)
Blocking driveways is illegal over here as well but it doesn't stop people doing it.
We have an awkward one; our drive leads onto a private square (8 properties*) so technically we can't call the police unless it's the exit to the road which is blocked.
Snag number two is that the next-door neighbour, whose visitors it is who always block our drive, is a police officer.
*not as expensive or exclusive as it sounds, I hasten to add...

May 25, 2006 at 10:40 a.m.  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

Yay! There will be no stopping allowed... feel free to park your comments, however.

That is a conundrum. I suppose if you ram the offending vehicle, the only comfort is that you won't have to wait long for the Old Bill to show up...

May 25, 2006 at 10:45 a.m.  
Anonymous Kat said...

Like goodtwin and mmat, it's illegal (or at least a traffic violation / bylaw) to park accross driveways here, too. I'd vouch for needing the sign moved, but I'd go one further. Try and get them to add one of those signs to the post that says something like "No parking, stopping or standing in front of driveways. Violators will be subject to a $XXX fine." That will help somewhat... And then let the traffic people know about all of the regular violations on your street. Also, it might help to propose a video or still camera like they have at traffic lights... Then they don't have to pay someone to come down and ticket the cars every day, and you can add a video surveillance caveat to the warning sign. It wouldn't be perfect, 'cause some people are just jerks, but a couple of $100 fines and most of the regulars will think twice.

May 25, 2006 at 10:50 a.m.  
Blogger Gary J. Wood said...

I share your pain. This was a regular scene in front of mommie coolest's house last Fall.

The Bruce Cockburn song comes to mind -- *singing* "If I had a rocket launcher, ..."

May 25, 2006 at 11:47 a.m.  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

kat - I'll be doing well to get them to relocated the existing sign. Replacing it with a whole new sign? That would require an act of God.

The traffic police are actually there quite a bit and may well have ticketed people, but they can't be there all the time.

Oddly, people seem to respect these signs, even without the threat of fines, so I figure getting it moved will take care of most of the problem.

Gary - That mentality has something to do with my situation as well, (lots of yuppy kids from richer neighbourhoods at this school) although I've yet to see quite that level of idiocy. Some people's sense of entitlement knows now bounds, however.

May 25, 2006 at 12:00 p.m.  
Anonymous TC said...

Dammit it's chainsaw time again Dawn!

Time to rid the world of a few more assholes.

Trouble is, it may become very depopulated very quickly.

Still - all the more space for us, hey Dawn?

(Especially in front of your drive. Heh heh!)

May 25, 2006 at 1:01 p.m.  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

Yes, nothing says spring like the sound of a chainsaw...

Perhaps posting a "Beware of badgers" sign might help. They don't have to know the only badger in residence is me, now do they?

Space in front of my drive. Music to my ears...

May 25, 2006 at 1:04 p.m.  
Blogger Gary J. Wood said...

That level of idiocy is from status-conscious "New Canadians" of Eastern European origin dragging their brats to a heritage language class.

All I'll say about that (as an immigrant myself) is if you want to live in our country, then you have to play by our rules. Otherwise go home; we don't need ya.

May 25, 2006 at 1:48 p.m.  
Anonymous Ricardipus, vindictive said...

A few thoughts:

1. Spraypaint

2. Keys

3. Buy a 1972 Gremlin and threaten to ram it into the $50,000 Lexus SUV parked at the end of your driveway. Say "I don't care about dents in *my* car!"

4. Buy a fake fire hydrant and put it at the end of your driveway.

5. Hire all the neighbours with dogs to have them piddle all over the wheels of offending cars whenever necessary.

6. Lawn sprinkler. Placed right at the end of the lawn, on full, covering whole offending vehicle.

7. Hire neighbourhood kids to ride old crappy bikes and skateboards, and play ball right next to offending vehicles.

8. Pour a large pool of paint at the end of your driveway so their cars get covered when driving through it (NB you must not care about your own car, and you must have a large paint budget).

9. Water balloons.

10. Hire neighbourhood kid/thug with pellet gun to put dents in offending vehicles from hidden location at safe distance.

I am not mad.

May 25, 2006 at 2:36 p.m.  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

Not in the slightest. But you are devilishly clever... the sprinkler is exceptionally possible, followed by an oh-so-innocent, "Oh my! I didn't realize the sprinkler was so close to the lawn... " with mock horrified facial expression.

May 25, 2006 at 2:59 p.m.  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

Gary - In my neighbourhood, it's more likely 5th generation Newfs, old merchant family, hasn't realized yet that they're no longer poncy fish merchants who control the masses.

Where I grew up, to whom much was given, much was expected. Here, much wants more.

Funny the difference 1,000 miles can make...

or 100 inches... when it's your driveway!

May 25, 2006 at 3:02 p.m.  
Anonymous kat said...

Okay, the cameras may be overkill and hard to get passed, but if you start big and bargain it down to moving the sign and maybe adding a little addendum sign underneath, it may just work.

I do like what ridicarpus said about the sprinkler. Another option would be to paint a big "no parking" symbol with a rectangle around it delineating the edges of your driveway on the pavement in front of your driveway. You may have to get permission to do this, though, as it's city property. Conversely, you could stencil that at the bottom of your driveway...

May 25, 2006 at 4:17 p.m.  
Anonymous wet Ricardipus said...

Hee hee hee. I suggest changing your line to:

"Oh my! I didn't realize the sprinkler was so close to the END OF MY DRIVEWAY".

Just a microthought.

May 25, 2006 at 4:19 p.m.  
Anonymous Ricardipus, medieval said...

Ooo ooo ooo...

11. Caltrops.

Look it up in t'dictionary.

May 25, 2006 at 4:20 p.m.  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

Yes, and I could say that whilst the water drips down their chins (sic) and the air whistles out of their tires having been pierced by the cruel points on my strategically place caltrops.

Have I told you lately that I love you?

May 25, 2006 at 4:24 p.m.  
Blogger Misty said...

I've had similar troubles with cars blocking me in, and have found that taking up residence on top of the army ambulance that is parked in the garden, whilst hiding under a camouflage net, and talking into a mobile usually sends them packing pretty sharpish.
Of course, you'd have to invest in an army ambulance and camo-net for that to work.

Ho-hum, what Ricardipus (wet & medieval) said then...

May 25, 2006 at 5:10 p.m.  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

I like that plan, though...

May 25, 2006 at 8:55 p.m.  
Anonymous Ricardipus, chuffed again said...

Not often enough, m'dear, not often enough... ;)

May 26, 2006 at 11:04 a.m.  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

We'll have to remedy that. The badgers get so jealous, though...

May 26, 2006 at 11:08 a.m.  

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