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Drivers — including police — keep parking on bike lanes

Katy Chancey tweeted this picture of an Ottawa Police cruiser parked on a bike lane Tuesday evening.

Lots of complaints recently about drivers going into bike lanes and staying put.

Earlier this month, cyclist Lukasz Lukaszek tweeted about this car blocking the lane on O’Connor Street.

On Tuesday evening, Katy Chancey tweeted a photo of an Ottawa Police cruiser parking on a separated bike lane on Garland Street, at Wellington Street West. She pinged Jeff Leiper, councillor for the area, who replied: “Good grief.”

In an emailed statement, Supt. Mark Ford of the Ottawa Police frontline directorate, said sometimes it is necessary for police officers to park in bike lanes.

“Although it can be inconvenient to go around a police vehicle, the reality is that our officers are serving the community doing a specific task. Police do not intentionally try to impede pedestrian, cyclist or motorist traffic,” Ford said. “The Ottawa Police Service asks for the public’s patience and understanding of how police vehicles maneuver, park and situate themselves throughout the city. There are many different scenarios for why a police vehicle is occupying a less than ideal location.” (We included his full response at the end of this story.)

Leiper, no doubt headed to city council, tweeted a photo the next day of two police cruisers, plus a Bell technical vehicle, parked on the bike lane on the south side of Laurier Avenue West, in front of City Hall. He expressed frustration, given this is the area where a cyclist was killed a few weeks ago. He noted police did not move the Bell workers along.

Coun. Catherine McKenney stopped and asked the Bell workers to move their vehicle. The workers — their identity is unknown to OttawaStart.com — reportedly yelled at McKenney. She tweeted that she had heard them yell obscenities at other people. Bell did not respond to a request for comment emailed Wednesday morning to a spokesperson based in Ottawa, noting a 5 p.m. deadline.

Leiper told OttawaStart.com he will be raising both incidents to Ottawa Police. “Details TBD,” he said in an email.

The City of Ottawa did not respond to a specific question, regarding the Laurier Avenue incident involving Bell, about whether it’s ever permissible to park in a bike lane. However, Roger Chapman, director of by-law and regulatory services, said by-law officers acted to have the Bell vehicle removed from the bike lane within seven minutes of finding out about it, arriving on the scene at 8:45 a.m.

Full response from Ottawa Police Supt. Mark Ford:

Frontline officers may have to park in lanes of traffic, in bike/bus lanes and on sidewalks in the course of their duties. Although it can be inconvenient to go around a police vehicle, the reality is that our officers are serving the community doing a specific task. Police do not intentionally try to impede pedestrian, cyclist or motorist traffic.

First responders use their vehicle to block or redirect people and traffic, as well as have their tools readily available to them at all times. Some of the tools in a police vehicle include defibrillators, CPR/First Aid kits, equipment to process/document the scene of a crime, as well as their safety equipment (additional reflective gear, body armour, etc).

It is also important for officers to remain in or near their vehicle in order to respond to a higher priority (9-1-1) call for service - while conducting proactive enforcement or parked to finish a report from a previous call.

Similar to road maintenance vehicles, all road users should exercise caution and maneuver around emergency vehicles when they are temporarily parked in a location not designated as a parking space.

The Ottawa Police Service asks for the public’s patience and understanding of how police vehicles maneuver, park and situate themselves throughout the city. There are many different scenarios for why a police vehicle is occupying a less than ideal location.

The reasons vary widely, but can always be explained. We encourage anyone with concerns about a particular situation to contact us at

info@ottawapolice.ca

. It is important that members of the community understand the purpose of a police/emergency vehicle and how critical it is for our officers.

Author

Devyn Barrie

Devyn Barrie is the executive editor and owner of OttawaStart.com. He has a journalism diploma from Algonquin College and has lived in Ottawa most of his life. His blogs on writing and editing can be found on devyn.ca.