Every day, twice a day, parking chaos explodes on a particular stretch of Franklin Street in East Vancouver.
Cars are parked on the sidewalk, triple parked on the street, blocking intersections and hampering the many delivery trucks trying to get through the industrial area.
“It’s actually dangerous some days. You can’t walk on the sidewalk and you’re forced into the middle of the road and there’s cars going in both directions,” said Carmen Buchmann, a local resident who walks by the area on her way to the gym.
Locals in the area say that, during peak times, fights routinely break out, cars are often damaged and traffic is at a standstill in one of the busiest industrial areas of the city.
The primary cause of the problem sits in the middle of the block: a large blue building, home of the B.C. Maritime Employers Association dispatch centre.
There, twice a day, hundreds of longshoremen show up to swipe their cards and get on the list for work on the next 12-hour shift. It’s a first come, first served system and not everyone gets assigned a job.
But the parking lot in front of the building only holds space for about 100 cars.
The parking problem occasionally leads to skirmishes, leaving many in the area feeling intimidated by the longshoremen.
And though residents and businesses have complained to the city several times, they say their concerns have gone nowhere and there’s no solution in sight.
Locals say this is a decades-old issue recently made worse by new developments popping up nearby — the building sits in one of the city’s most up-and-coming neighbourhoods
It’s also a problem sustained by a reluctance to digitize and upend years of tradition.
After a particularly close call nearly getting hit by a car last summer, Buchmann phoned the city to complain.
“I don’t feel like the longshoremen parking in the street should be cause for me to lose my life, or anyone else’s for that matter,” she said.
But Buchmann discovered the city only sends bylaw officers to the area in pairs or with a police officer for…