One of the constants in the Canadian winter is snow, and the need to plow it. That’s one of the reasons that St. John’s, Newfoundland has enacted a late night parking ban on some downtown streets. But according to CBC News, at least one resident is not sure that’s a good idea: less overnight parking means more drunk drivers with no choice but to chance a trip home.
The St. John’s parking ban is meant to facilitate snow clearing, which happens in the wee hours. Any vehicle found parked on the wrong street gets impounded.
The case against such bans is clear: downtown drinkers who drove to a bar don’t have the option of leaving their cars overnight and taking a taxi home – they’ll end up having to pay a stiff fee to ransom their own vehicles back later on.
The link between overnight parking and sober driving has been noticed – and exploited – before in Canada. A B.C. pub was rewarding overnight parkers with gift certificates, and a while before that Hotspot Parking was giving drivers in Fredericton, New Brunswick extra hours of free parking so they could retrieve their cars after a night of drinking.
Apparently for St. John’s snow clearing is the priority, not parking for drinkers. It’s hard to say whether the ban will lead directly to more DUI arrests or collisions. But perhaps some other institutions could take up the slack and reward those who choose to leave their cars. Meanwhile, anyone drinking in downtown St. John’s should keep a taxi number – or a designated driver – close at hand.