Clear the lanes

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

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.

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