Clear the lanes
It’s a perpetual problem likely to never go away. Drive through the parking lot of the TC Square Mall in Carbonear and watch the cars parked along the front of the building. A driver will be waiting for a passenger who’s inside picking up a few items.
Instead of waiting in actual parking spaces, they idly bide their time in the fire lane. Signs indicate that no, this is not an acceptable place to park. But the drivers pay no heed to them.
The public likes to feel safe, and so it should. The occurrence of serious fires in large public building are scarce in this province, so who can be surprised that someone waiting for a mate to come out of the grocery store is comfortable assuming that this is not the moment all the veggies will go up in flames.
Thing is, it’s never a good thing to make assumptions about fires.
They’re unpredictable beasts, and once a fire starts, it can get out of control in mere moments.
Firefighters need immediate access to the scene of an emergency as quickly as possible. If a lazy car owner is taking up the rightful space of emergency crews, than that person is only making the situation for firefighters worse. It will take them longer to access the situation and increase the risk of danger.
It’s a matter of common sense, but why do some people ignore this problem? It makes no wonder that Newfoundland and Labrador has an obesity problem when you have people unwilling to walk a few extra metres to a parked car.
One solution, and possibly a tall order, would be for an increased police presence at businesses with fire lanes. No doubt the RCMP has enough matters to deal with, but it would not take much time to give a quick drive through the parking lot.
If anyone were caught in a compromising position, an officer could merely ask that they move their vehicle, but it’s debatable whether such a move would send a strong enough message. A ticket carrying a fine hits the pocketbook, and that will make a driver think twice about parking in a fire lane anytime soon.