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This Ontario parent has paid nearly $700 in parking tickets to drop his child off at school

A parent at an Old South elementary school in London, Ont., says he's paying hundreds of dollars in parking tickets just to bring his child to school because there are no pickup and drop-off zones.

Lack of parking pushes parents into no-parking zone at Old South elementary school

Red brick building with "no parking" written in yellow paint on grey tarmac and on the wall.

A London, Ont., parent who has racked up hundreds of dollars in parking tickets dropping off his son at an Old South elementary school wants a safe drop-off zone put in place in front of the school.

"There's officers standing [outside the school] ticketing people just for stopping — not for getting out of the vehicle and parking — just for stopping," said Nicklaus Easter, who takes his son to senior kindergarten studies every morning at Tecumseh Public School on Tecumseh Avenue East.

There's a no-stopping zone in front of the school, and on any given morning, it's full of parents dropping off kids, Easter said.

Easter has paid $670 in parking tickets this past year because there's no drop-off and pickup area, he said. The tickets were mailed to him a week or two later, which is how they accumulated.

"You don't even know that you've been getting them," he said. "That's basically how it added up, because I was just doing it constantly."

Although the school has a small parking lot, it's often full throughout the day.

Easter said he has spotted bylaw officers wearing unidentifiable clothing outside the school taking pictures of licence plates. It was only when Easter complained to the officers and the city that the officials began wearing identifiable clothing, he said.

According to the City of London, parking regulations are put in place around schools to keep children safe.

"No-stopping and no-parking regulations are in place at most schools in the city," said a statement provided to CBC News. "Those that need to park and assist their children to and/or from school are reminded to leave their vehicle parked in designed areas that is not in contravention of the posted regulations."

Due to lack of parking on school property, parents park down surrounding streets, but many don't allow parking, either.

Nichol Li is a mother of two boys who attend Tecumseh Public School and has received a total of $135 in tickets for parking around the school.

She said most students walk to school, but because she lives on its outer boundary near Wellington Street, she prefers to drive her sons to and from their classes.

"Especially when the weather is really crummy, you don't want to trek the kids … they're going to be soaking wet by the time they get to school."

The Thames Valley District School Board confirmed in an email statement that Tecumseh Public School has received complaints from parents about the lack of front-area parking.

"There has never been parking allowed in front of the school," the board said. It's "safer to have no vehicles in front of the school when students are coming and going."

But that's not stopping parents from pulling up in front to either park or stop momentarily.

Alex Sholdice, who walks her son to and from the school, said the cars that drive into the no-parking zone put children in dangerous situations.

"I have seen a lot of parents trying to pull into this parking lot and not care [that] kids are walking by," said Sholdice, adding she has witnessed children almost getting hit.

Easter said he has complained to the city about the lack of parking and has been told it's the school's responsibility to zone the front as a stopping zone.

For now, Easter parks on Gerrard Street, which takes time to walk to the school, but he wants someone to step up and monitor a safe drop-off zone, he said.

"It's not like I'm breaking the law. I'm simply just trying to find a safe drop-off for my kid."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Arfa Rana

Journalist

Arfa Rana is a reporter for CBC London. She grew up in southern Ontario and is a graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University. Have a news tip? Email arfa.rana@cbc.ca

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