The Difference Between Parking and Stopping

Letter to the Editor:

St. John police are wrong with parking fines.

Your article about $1000 at the ferry boat pier shows that our police are wrong about parking. They do not recognize the basic difference between parking and stopping. Stopping is short standing when the driver is present and ready to move the vehicle if the car with proper sticker comes in. This frequently happens at the fire hydrants and other reserved parking spots. If the police controller sees that you want to park in the prohibited space he should advise you that this parking is not for you and you should not park there. Parking regulations are intended to facilitate parking and flow of traffic, not to collect large fines which you then have to fight in court where you, the judge and the policeman all lose lot of time.

Policemen who control parking in Cruz Bay are often reasoning in a dogmatic way and do not accept any reasoning of the driver. It happened to us several times that we had to stop (not park) in front of the post office unloading a heavy parcel. We were forced to move and carry this heavy parcel from much farther away. The same thing happened while unloading passengers for Tortola ferry. Such stopping does not take more than half minute.

The signs should distinguish between parking and stopping. There is substantial difference between these marking. If the truck unloading restaurant supplies stops, it blocks traffic for a long time. If you unload a person or parcel your stopping time is minimal. The driver who unloaded the luggage at the ferry dock should not have been fined — it took probably very short time. Unfortunately he will have to go to the court for a hearing to get the fine back. These fines should not be always maximal, they should be adjusted  to different situations.

Police control should act on cars that are parked on the parking lot and leave the cars parked overnight or several days. Best solution would be parking meters which can be controlled much more easily than the way it is now — mark a tire and see after 30 minutes if the car moved. I have never seen any controller doing this.

Z. Hruza
St. John