Category Archives: DataJournalism2_2016

Bytown: Ottawa’s capital of parking tickets


Over the past five years, more than 200,000 parking tickets with fines totalling $7.3 million have been handed out along the streets of Ottawa’s Byward Market, according to documents obtained through an access to information request.

In fact, drivers parked alongside York and George streets alone, the city’s two most ticketed streets, and a popular parking destination for many bar and restaurant goers, shoppers and tourists alike, received more than 100,000 tickets during this period.

“There are quite a few people who complain about parking tickets,” said David Phillips, an Ottawa area farmer and the operator of a family owned fruit stand at the Byward outdoor market. “They’re here for just a minute, and, surprise, they got a ticket.”

The type of violations handed out along these two streets, which run side-by-side for four blocks between Sussex Drive and King Edward Avenue, range from the benign, 57,000 tickets were issued for parking in a “paid parking zone,” presumably without paying, to the unusual, 60 drivers were ticketed for parking with their vehicles facing in the wrong direction.

Another 105 drivers received tickets for parking on the sidewalk, while 10 drivers were ticketed for stopping on the “roadway side” of a parked vehicle, meaning they were double parked.

Then there were the fines unique to Ottawa, or to a nation’s capital at least.

For example, 177 drivers were ticketed for parking on City of Ottawa property, while four drivers received $50 fines for parking in a diplomatic zone, no doubt parked out front of the American embassy on Sussex Drive.

But Ottawa city councillor for Rideau-Vanier, Mathieu Fleury, says the market’s parking woes are not as simple as a lack of capacity or the strict enforcement of regulations.

“We recognized that parking was an issue, particularly with so many 15-minute or 1-hour parking zones,” said Fleury. “So we took action and extended these times by creating more two-hour parking zones.”

Source: City of Ottawa parking data.

Fleury says these changes permit lunch-time visitors and tourists to enjoy the market, while still allowing for the high turnover in parking availability the market needs.

“What we wanted to avoid was making all day parking on the street favourable for government workers, the Chateau Laurier or people working on the Hill,” said Fleury. “And I think a lot of businesses support us in this.”

Big ticket fines

There are also the big ticket items, the violations with fines that go well beyond the $30 to $40 average.

For instance, unauthorized parking in a space reserved for persons with physical disabilities carries a fine of up to $350, though five of six violations of this type along York and George streets in the past five years resulted in fines of $175 or less.

Meanwhile, being caught parked in a designated fire route cost 23 drivers $100 each over the past five years, while stopping in a bus zone or interfering with highway sweeping – an offence that occurred twice at the same address on York Street since 2011, a location with no highway in sight – cost ticketed drivers $85 a piece.

A full list of all City of Ottawa parking violations and the associated fines.

In total, Ottawa parking attendants handed out more than $92 million in fines over the past five years. The year with the highest amount in total violations, 2015, saw roughly $20.5 million in fines distributed among more than 390,000 tickets – an average of about $52 a ticket.

The overall increase in total fines between 2014 and 2015 was a little less than $3 million – a jump of roughly 16.2 per cent in a single year.

Sandy Hill noise complaints up again for 2016


Sandy Hill, the neighbourhood within Rideau-Vanier that’s notorious for a high volume of noise complaints may be improving, according to recent data.

But a lower number of complaints could be fleeting. The final tally for noise complaint calls in 2016 may be higher than 2015, based on average monthly calls this year.

Police policy surrounding noise calls changed in April, officially making those complaints of lower priority than before.

The last few years have seen improvements in the area, with calls decreasing by nearly 23 per cent between 2013 and 2015, from 2638 to 2034.

But these marked decreases in noise complaints called via 311 to Ottawa Bylaw services may not continue based on the number of complaints received by the end of 2016. In the first nine months of this year, 1,675 noise complaints were received. The same period in 2015 saw only 1,472 complaints, 12 per cent less than this year.

Any noise complaint will first bring 311 bylaw officers to assess the situation. Those officers can issue a warning or ticket. If they find a crowd is out of control, or that violence is occurring, police are called.

A St. Patrick’s Day party in Sandy Hill in March 2016. (YouTube)

The concern that calls are not being taken seriously by police is one the community is constantly grappling with, said Mathieu Fleury, councillor for Rideau-Vanier.

“They never took noise calls seriously to be honest, which was unfortunate. Or they would never get to the calls,” he said.

Fleury, at age 31, has spent six years in office. He has long dealt with his ward’s issues with noise, which majority of the time are related to music or shouting.


The councillor also sits on the Sandy Hill Town and Gown Committee, launched in 2012, to ensure that there are better relations between all parties-Students, residents and landlords.

He said relations between these different groups have improved, with the help of student union involvement and constant communication with residents.

“In September we do a walk about. We knock on all the doors to give everyone a warning about what the rules are so that everyone’s on the same page,” he said.

Calls that come after 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays may be ignored as officers are only on duty for noise until 4 a.m., said Fleury.

“I would like Ottawa police services to have longer hours. There’s a wave of calls often when the bars close, and they don’t get to every call,” he said.

Fleury said more police involvement would be ideal — as police can use the criminal code to shut down noisy parties.

“Police have right of access in the building. Bylaw just doesn’t have the authority,” he said.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Coun. Mathieu Fleury. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Last year the town and gown committee launched a noise complain registry allow residents to file their 311 complaints in an accessible website, for landlords to view.

Landlords are now able to bring tenants to the board if they are frequently disturbing neighbours. Before this, landlords were never made aware of complaints, he added.

“We know that people are using it. Beyond that we want to see in the next few months how landlords are using it,” he said.

In the last three months the number of complaints filed on the website has increased significantly, said John Dickie, chairman of the Eastern Ontario Landlord Organization.

“We’re getting I’d say a dozen complaints a week,” said Dickie.

At a town and gown meeting this summer, Dickie mentioned the website again to a crowded room, mentioning that not many were using it. This gave the website some uptake, he said.

There’s still a lot to be done, but many are happy the overall complaints have gone down over the last few years, he added.

“You’d still like it down to the city average. But, that’s progress.”

The graph above indicates Rideau-Vanier’s noise complaints are higher than any other ward. 

Street-art sometimes harmed by public’s complaints about graffiti



The painting by Alejandro Hugo Dorda Mev was removed by the city services after complaints by inhabitants (screenshot of Deborah Landry's blog)
The painting by Alejandro Hugo Dorda Mev was removed by the city services after complaints by inhabitants (screenshot of Deborah Landry’s blog)

Each year, about one thousand people call the Ottawa city by-law services to denounce the presence of graffiti. These are then removed : sometimes at the cost of beautiful artwork.

A 15-meter tall gun, but to promote peace. The weapon, painted on a wall of the french-speaking centre Patro d’Ottawa who commissioned the work, is not what it seems: looking closer, you notice it actually being made of toys.

Through this original piece, the artist Alejandro Hugo Dorda Mev sends a clear message: the innocence of children is stronger than automated weapons. But the community didn’t had a long time to appreciate his work. Some Ottawa citizens, offended by the depiction of a weapon, called the 311 city services. 48 hours later, the painting was hidden by a big piece of cloth, before being painted over.

The incident, which occurred in 2011, is still a clear example of the previous municipal government’s policy inciting people to signal graffiti to public services, according to criminologist Deborah Landry.

“The consequence is that you have people calling in to check on things that aren’t graffiti at all !”, she says, noting that chalk drawings by children were reported as graffiti by some inhabitants.

The educational campaign of the previous city government under mayor Larry O’Brien seems to have long term effects. Open data of Ottawa city services show that in 2015, 1,049 people called the 311 line to report illegal graffiti. Every year, the Rideau-Vanier has the highest number of incidents reported.

311 Graffiti complaints  : The map shows the calls made to Ottawa city services to report graffiti in 2015, broken down by ward.

source : City of Ottawa open data site

But the strategy didn’t help to reduce graffiti, according to Landry.

“What we have now in the city is a whole bunch of patches of different color of paint over graffiti”, she said. “This makes a lovely base for another graffiti take!”

The researcher adds that the city is trying to stop something that has been done since Pompei. “We’ve always written on walls and this is nothing new. We live in a culture that tags everything with logos.”

Graffiti related 311 calls on the decrease

But the incoming 311 calls actually cost money. Landry said, “each report ranges between 90$ and 300$, for every time somebody responds to a 311 call and deals with it.”

“I think that the mayor Jim Watson knows that, and that he is not trying to encourage people to respond to something as benign as graffiti.”

The number of 311 calls related to graffiti has been decreasing since the election of Jim Watson in 2010, dropping by 33%, an analysis of city of Ottawa open data shows.

source : City of Ottawa open data site

Patrick McCormack, general manager at House of Paint, agrees that the general attitude changed about graffiti in municipal services and that Jim Watson puts a bit more value on art. “But we are still looking for the city to fulfill its commitment to the artists.”

House of Paint organizes a festival that celebrates hip-hop culture each year and collaborates with the city on the Paint It Up program, which enables young people to legally paint murals. But McCormack thinks Ottawa could do more for graffiti artists:

“Some artists want more legal space to practice their art”, he said. “They don’t want to go over a piece that someone else did two weeks ago.”

Ottawa has three walls where artists can freely paint without breaking the law. Gatineau, on the other hand, offers 28.

McCormack agrees that he wouldn’t want someone to paint on his garage without his authorization. For him, each case is different and should be resolved through collaboration. A point of view Landry shares.

“The focus should be: ‘how do we live together a bit more peacefully, with a bit more understanding amongst the communities?’”, she said. “We don’t get that through law, we get that through talking.”

Tickets for illegally parking in accessible spaces up again in 2015


The number of tickets issued in Ottawa for illegally parking in a space reserved for the physically disabled hit a six-year high in 2015.

According to City of Ottawa parking data obtained through an access to information request, a total of 2,506 tickets were issued last year for the infraction, up 13 per cent from 2,208 tickets in 2014.

Troy Leeson leads the City of Ottawa’s parking enforcement program. He said the increase is the result of improved enforcement, thanks in large part to the city’s deputization program. The program trains property owners to enforce parking by-laws on their property, without having to resort to city officials.

“One of the biggest challenges with a person who parks (illegally) in disabled parking is time. They know it’s a big ticket, and they’re going to try to be in and out of their location as quickly as they can,” said Leeson. “But as more places take control of their own property, they have somebody on site and they’re able to address their parking issues much quicker.”

Source: City of Ottawa.
Most of the top 10 hotspots in 2015 were shopping centres with large parking lots, routinely patrolled by deputized officers. The most ticketed location was the Walmart Supercentre at the Ottawa Train Yards, where 133 tickets were issued. Close behind was the College Square Loblaws, with 130 tickets.

More tickets? More money in city coffers

Only people with certain health conditions can apply for an accessible parking permit. Accessible parking spaces are wider than conventional spaces, allowing easier access to and from the vehicle. They are also normally located as close as possible to building entrances.

An accessible parking permit sits on the dashboard of a car parked at the Walmart Train Yards Supercentre in Ottawa.

An accessible parking permit sits on the dashboard of a car parked at the Walmart Supercentre at the Ottawa Train Yards on Oct. 22, 2016. In 2015, 133 people received tickets there for illegally parking in a space reserved for the physically disabled — more than anywhere else in Ottawa that year. CARLETON UNIVERSITY/Marc-André Cossette

Anyone parked illegally in those spaces runs the risk of a $450 fine: the highest of all parking-related fines regulated by the city. If paid voluntarily within 15 days, the fine can be reduced to $350.

(Click the note above to read the entire City of Ottawa parking by-law.)

Either way, more tickets means more money in city coffers. Last year alone, parking officers issued $816,938 in fines for this infraction, but Leeson insists the focus is on compliance.

“Don’t get me wrong: the dollars are certainly a by-product of the program and the city will happily accept those dollars, but at the end of the day,” he said, “it’s about making people aware of the by-law and ensuring they leave the spaces available for those who need them.”

Enforcement only part of the solution

James Hicks lives in Ottawa, walks with a cane, and knows first-hand the frustration of finding someone parked illegally in an accessible parking space.

“It drives me crazy,” he said. “I’ll knock on their window and say, ‘You know, you do realize that if you’re here, someone else can’t park here who needs to, right? Think about it.’ ”

Hicks is the national co-ordinator of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, an organization working to ensure equal access for people with a disability across Canada. He welcomes the city’s efforts to crack down on illegal parking, but says ticketing alone won’t solve the issue.

“Most of the people that I know who get tickets tend to be repeat offenders,” he said, adding that more must be done to raise awareness about the importance of accessible parking.

“I do think that a campaign around what those spots are, indicating what the implications are for people if you park (illegally) in those spots — that that maybe will help give more awareness,” he said.

In the meantime, Troy Leeson has a simple message for anyone thinking about parking illegally: “Leave the spots to those who need them.”

Osgoode sees highest increase in noise complaints


Osgoode residents may have had a noisier past two years than other Ottawans.

Ward 20 saw a 54 per cent increase in noise complaints between 2013 and 2015, according to an analysis of City of Ottawa 311 data.

Fred Fenn, who lives in Osgoode, said he’s noticed. This summer he called 311 to complain about a neighbour playing loud music outside past midnight.

“My daughter was saying she could hear the music like it was being played in her bedroom clear as day,” he said.

Fenn said he thinks Osgoode is noisier than other parts of the city.

“We’ve been out here in Osgoode since 1994. Before that I grew up in Orleans. My wife grew up in Kanata, so they were pretty quiet areas. It was never as noisy as out here.”

Fred Fenn said motorized toys are common in Osgoode, making it noisier than other wards

Photo provided by Fred Fenn

Kanata North and Rideau-Goulbourn noise complaints increased by around 40 per cent during the same time period. Most other wards saw a decrease in the number of complaints received.

The Community and Protective Services Committee oversees bylaw enforcement.

Rick Chiarelli, a councillor for the City of Ottawa’s college ward and a member of the committee said residents should talk to their neighbours before contacting bylaw.

“The happiest outcomes, come from neighbours talking to each other. And Osgoode used to always do that,” he said.

Noise complaints are one of the top three most common service requests, according to the City of Ottawa website.

“I think that’s bad for community development but it’s also expensive because it costs us hundreds of dollars to deal with each noise complaint,” Chiarelli said.

Fenn said he didn’t want to approach his neighbors because they were drinking.

“They were all drinking so I didn’t bother going over there and saying anything to them because usually that doesn’t end well,” he said.

Noise bylaw prohibits loud music after 11 p.m.

Bylaw officers only respond to calls until 2 a.m. during the week and 4 a.m. on weekends.

Chiarelli said the City should look at providing 24/7 bylaw services on weekends.

“There are parties that go until four or five in the morning and if you close up at four, basically complaints after three are not dealt with,” he said.

Fenn said partiers are not the only problem. ATVs, dirt bikes and other loud vehicles are more common in Osgoode than in others areas of Ottawa, he said.

“It’s traditional out in the country people have more motorized toys than in the city, because there’s no place really to run them,” he said.

“This year there seems to be a lot more, I’m not sure if people are getting more money and buying more dirt bikes or what it is this year but it seems to be a little bit noisier this year.”


Residents turn away from city to express grief over road conditions

Damage-causing potholes located along Innes Road in Ottawa. Source: CBC/Alex Liculescu
Damage-causing potholes located along Innes Road in Ottawa. Source: CBC/Alex Liculescu

Having been featured in the Canadian Automobile Association’s Worst Roads in Ontario 2016 list this past summer, the City of Ottawa has not escaped the criticism of its road maintenance. The list, as voted on by residents of Ontario, identifies five roads in Ottawa that are lacking in investment and infrastructure. One reason for this can be identified in the city’s Adopted Budget 2016 which shows an approximately $7, 000 decrease in investment from 2015.

Dale Harley, executive advisor for the National Capital Heavy Construction Association, says he will continue to attend and be vocal at city budget meetings until councillors “gets it right”.

Throughout this criticism of road conditions, Service Ottawa has released data that suggests calls or complaints regarding the matter has steadily declined since 2013. CBC traffic reporter Doug Hempstead emphasized that instead of calling Service Ottawa, residents are finding more responsive outlets as they slowly become aware of the commitments and decisions made by the city that result in poor road conditions.

The following audio report highlights this issue.

Ottawa 311 complaints to contest parking fines leap to more than a thousand

Residents sometimes contest parking fines they have received from the city. (Photo credits:
A parking fine from the city of Ottawa can range from $40 to $450, depending on the violation. (Photo credits:

The City of Ottawa, in 2015, received more than a thousand call complaints from people contesting parking fines, according to data collected from the City.

Ciaran Browne got fined on Mar. 18, in a parking lot between Metcalfe and Somerset West Street.

(Play the soundcloud file to hear Browne’s story)

Of the 1,077 calls the city received in 2015, 32 per cent were made from the Somerset ward, according to an analysis of the City’s 311 calls. The highest number of complaints have been made from Somerset since 2013.

“Somerset being in the heart of downtown Ottawa is one of the busiest areas that we have,” said Troy Leeson, the deputy chief of by-law services in the parking division. “So naturally if you’re writing more tickets in that area than others, there’ll be higher reports.”

The chart below shows the number of call complaints, by ward, from 2013 to 2015 to contest parking fines.


Source: The City of Ottawa’s 311 dataset

Between 2014 and 2015, there was a 13 per cent increase in the total number of calls made to contest parking penalties. The difference in the prior years, 2013 and 2014, are almost negligible.


Source: The City of Ottawa’s 311 dataset

Leeson says there are no clear reasons for the increase in 2015 complaints. Parking penalties “can be a very broad category and very difficult to speak to without having specific scenarios that we’re looking at,” he said.

Violation of a parking regulation can attract fines that range from $40 to $450. These fines can accumulate when people do not pay up on time.

Browne puts this note on his dashboard when he leaves his car at the parking lot close to his girlfriend's new house. Photo credits: Alex Mazur
Browne leaves this note that says, “I have paid online” on his dashboard when he parks at a lot close to his girlfriend’s new house. However, Leeson says notes like these don’t guarantee that payment for parking has been made. (Photo credits: Alex Mazur)

(To read the entire traffic and parking by-law for the City of Ottawa, click on the annotated image)


Hate graffiti accounts for highest percentage of hate crimes in Ottawa


In January 2016, Rev. Anthony Bailey and the Parkdale United Church community were preparing to celebrate the church’s 85th anniversary. A few days after advertising the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. service, the community was shaken by an attack of hate-motivated graffiti.

“On the side of our church…scrawled in big red letters was ‘n–gers’, there was also another recognizable tag sign, on huge letters they had sprayed ‘Tupac’,” Bailey said.

“There was outrage and shock initially because this is an obvious attempt to intimidate our congregation and what we stand for.”

Graffiti is one of the most common forms of hate crimes in the city. In 2015, hate graffiti accounted for just over 60 percent of reported hate crimes in the city. According to Constable Stephane Quesnel with the Ottawa Police Service, “hate crimes in general could be threats or assaults, but are almost always graffiti.”

Hate graffiti can seriously affect a community or individual. “Whatever the intention was it doesn’t really matter, it’s the impact of using language like that, against people who have been victimized over the years, with such racial epithets.” Bailey has reached out with support for local Imams and Rabbis in Ottawa who have been victims of hate graffiti.

311 data from the City of Ottawa in 2015 shows that 1 in 5 calls regarding graffiti were reports of hate graffiti, that doubled from the previous year. However, that number may not be reflective of the actual number of hate graffiti incidents. Sometimes victims avoid reporting them out of fear.

“Not as reported as much by marginalized groups because they fear the backlash from publicity,” said Bailey.

“Every incident of racist graffiti is not reported in the media because of a fear of a copycat.”

Results from the 2009 General Social Survey on Victimization support this. Two-thirds of people who said they had been victims of hate-motivated incidents did not report them to police.

Quesnel offers other reasons why victims of hate graffiti might not be reporting it to police, “…because some people may not think that it is a hate crime and also because they don’t want to draw attention to themselves, if it was on a private residence for example,” he said. “Reasons for reporting are so that police are aware of it because it affects the whole community, and also, by doing so, we can hopefully catch the person doing it.”

Even if the hate graffiti incidents are reported they are often difficult to investigate. The OPS is currently investigating several reported incidents of swastikas appearing on OC Transpo buses. It can often be difficult to pinpoint when the hate graffiti first occurred and even harder to find the suspect(s). In the Parkdale United Church incident, the case remains open.

Hate graffiti is considered a serious offence under the Criminal Code of Canada and carries an increased penalty for assault or mischief motivated by bias, prejudice or hatred toward a particular group.

Although it’s rare to hear of someone being convicted of hate graffiti, a Calgary man was sentenced to eight months in jail and issued a $5,000 fine after he spray painted hateful graffiti targeted towards Syrian refugees on a light rail transit station.

According to Quesnel the number of hate graffiti incidents often fluctuates. “It can go in spikes based on world events. For example, if there was a religious group that was a victim of an attack, the whole community becomes victimized, so there could be a local surge of hate graffiti towards them.”

Although the year isn’t over, 2016 is one of the lowest reported years for hate graffiti incidents in the City with only 26 reported incidents.

Animal complaints among most common 311 calls in Ottawa


By: Brenna Mackay

311 calls from the City of Ottawa Open data site shows that animal-related complaints are among the most common call category received in 2015. The Rideau-Vanier ward tops the list with the most number of calls, with 852 animal related complaints.

A further breakdown of the call types, provided by Roger Chapman, Chief of Bylaw and Regulatory Services, shows the dog barking is the most frequent type of complaint.

Dog related issues are among the most common animal related 311 calls in the city.
Dog related issues are among the most common animal related 311 calls in the city. Source: National Capital Commission

Erin Rivers, a Vanier resident, says she is frustrated with the number of animal disturbances in her community, and has had to call 311 on her neighbours several times in the last year for excessive dog barking.

“I love dogs, but my opinion quickly changes after being woken up in the middle of the night by non-stop barking,” she explains.

The City of Ottawa by-law outlines that people are not permitted to own an animal that disturbs other residents and anyone who fails to comply will be subjected to a fine. View by-law here:

Rivers adds that despite her complaints, she has seen no changes in noise level and the dog continues to howl into the night, disturbing her rest.

“More needs to be done to enforce by-laws,” says Rivers. “Yes, we have these rules, but they hold little weight when they are not enforced and nothing changes.”

2,173,707 people got parking tickets between 2010 and 2015… Here’s how they handled (or didn’t handle) them

Photo courtesy Charleston’s TheDigitel

So you got a parking ticket. Welcome to the club of 2,173,707 other Ottawans (or out-of-towners) who found a foreboding little piece of paper stuck under their windshield wipers between 2010 and 2015. The bed of your unjustly-parked truck was made by a City of Ottawa parking control officer (or by another agency), and now, if you pay the fine, you may have to sleep in it. Or do you? Instead of making an early payment or the set fine payment, you have the option of either requesting that a first attendant at a court office review your ticket, or requesting a trial by judge in court. But what are your chances of pulling a John Tremills? Is it worth it?

You could AskReddit, but “the front page of the internet” isn’t in agreement on this one. (Are redditors ever?) One Ottawa subreddit user, enrodude, commented in the “Fighting parking tickets” discussion that “Tickets are also designed for people to not to fight them because they get paid more working in a day.” In the “Fighting parking tickets – worth it? Any tips?” discussion, sflynn75 of New Edinburgh, however, argued that “first attendants… typically have the power to reduce the fine in half” if you request a review, and that if you request a trial and “go to court, there is a very high percentage probability the by-law officer will not be in court so the ticket is thrown away.” (To which enrodude, who is apparently a parking enthusiast and isn’t even in agreement with himself – or herself – says, “I have to agree.”) Better to ask the City of Ottawa parking data, which we obtained using the provincial Freedom of Information Act.

According to our analysis of the data for 2010 through 2015, no review was requested for most of the tickets (1,906,896, or a whopping 88 percent). That means that either enrodude was on to something in his first quote and the ticket holders paid their fines outright, or they failed to pay and were assigned a trial code. (Spoiler alert: as you’ll see in the second graph 883,256 tickets resulted in notices being sent). But 174,561 of the remaining 266,811 records (65 percent) did have a relatively hopeful review code of either “Review request accepted,” or “Review outcome upheld.” That’s better than the 92,052 (35 percent) that had a relatively ominous review code of “Review request denied,” “Review outcome denied,” or “Notice of impending conviction.” (We left “Review requested” out because it could swing either way.) See the graph below for a visual of all of the review code data. And if you’re interested, a legend for the codes and headings for the raw parking data is provided via DocumentCloud at the end of this post.

As sflynn75 wrote on reddit, reviews are successful and can result in a reduced fee when the ticket holder and the first attendant are able to to come to a compromise. But if you’re set on avoiding paying any money at all for the ticket, you have to request a trial and argue your innocence in court. (You could do nothing, but that would result in your license never being renewed again so…) Our analysis of the data shows that, of the 883,256 tickets that were not dealt with prior to notices being sent, at least 851,501 (96 percent) had dissuasive documentation. Forty-six percent had a “Notice of impending conviction,” 30 percent had a “Certificate requesting plate denial,” and 21 percent had a “Notice of fine and due date.” Ouch!

Interestingly enough, during our analysis we found that tickets with positive review codes of either “Review request accepted” or “Review outcome upheld” had some common factors. The most common issuing agency was Parking Services, the most common ticket description was “UNAUTHORIZED PARKING ON PRIVATE PROPERTY,” and the most common street cited on the ticket was George Street. But (disclaimer!) before you go running off to check if you have a winning ticket, remember to keep in mind that the most common issuing agency for ALL tickets – review or no review – was Parking Services and that, ultimately, each case is different. Just because 174,561 other people had relatively positive review experiences between 2010 and 2015, it doesn’t mean that yours will be, too.

Speaking on background, an employee of the satellite Provincial Offences Court Offices at 110 Laurier Ave. West advised that unless you have witnesses and hard evidence to support your innocence, it’s best to just make the early payment, which is typically $20 lower than the set fine, or at the most explain your case to a first attendant and hope for a reduced fee. Hey, at least you can take comfort in the thought that some of the money might go toward the Segregated Bike Lane Pilot Project. It’s free to park your bicycle at all city-owned parking lots and garages.