Bike Lane Parking Enforcement

Annette St.: All plugged upAnnette St.: All plugged up
A few days ago, the Toronto Star's fixer got excited about getting the Annette St. "No Stopping" signs added next to the new bike lanes. Cyclists everywhere rejoiced, and all was good.

However, upon further inspection, not all of Annette Street's signs have been updated, so in many sections motorists still feel they have the right to park in the bike lanes. And although other sections of Annette St. have the proper signage installed, motorists continue to park wherever they darn well feel like it.

Ah, but we have parking enforcement officers! They will help!

To be honest, I lost my faith in the police and parking enforcement when it comes to enforcing bike lane parking violations a long time ago. I have seen PEOs and police officers cruise right past bike lane parkers without blinking. I have even spoken directly to officers and pointed out illegal bike lane parkers, but they usually come up with excuses for the motorist.

So, as a final nail in the coffin, I present you with these photos of a City of Toronto Parking Enforcement vehicle parked guessed it....the bike lane. The officer was not in the vehicle, nor anywhere that I could see on the street. It looks like the officer was probably popping in to one of the local businesses for a quick breakfast or coffee, while blocking a lane of traffic.

Parking Enforcement: Parked in the Annette St. bike laneParking Enforcement: Parked in the Annette St. bike lane

So, with that bit of cynicism out of the way, get out there and enjoy the long weekend. On yer bike!


I wrote to Giambrone, and Saundercook about this. Asked now that the strike is over, will signage issue be dealt with? Giambrone's constituency assistant, Samuel Leite replied "Once Transportation Services staff get back on their feet there will be a review of Dupont Street to ensure that all signage, on this route, is reviewed and corrected. I ask for your patience in this matter as it will be corrected soon. "

Nice catch! I enjoyed that.

That last picture is rich.

All city employees (excepting emergency services during emergencies) should park in valid spots. This applies especially to parking enforcement.

Since mail trucks, couriers, and taxis will always stop in bike lanes as part of their jobs, and parking enforcement against them is correspondingly weak, maybe the city should introduce a very expensive ($,000s/month) "bike lane stopping pass". Cars without a pass could be ticketed more aggressively, and the revenue from passes could fund cycling infrastructure.

Parking enforcement is just revenue generation for the city, once you put aside the notion that this dept is out there to help the common good everything related to them makes more sense.

Why else would hundreds of officers scour hundreds of parking lots for thousands of tickets that are 5 minutes past expiration? Easy revenue. Toronto parking "services" is not going to spent hours driving around just to issue one or two tickets to people who are actually blocking traffic. Sorry but, it just isn't a profitable business model for them todo that.

And make no mistake Toronto parking services is extremely profitable - one of the more profitable in North America.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Toronto Parking Authority’s profit increased substantially over the previous year establishing new record highs. Net income rose to $38.5 million an increase of $3.9 million over 2001 results and the City of Toronto share of income increased to $28.7 million; $2.8 million greater than last year. This represents a savings of 3 to 4% on taxpayers’ City of Toronto property taxes.

and that was 2003.... does it escape these people that parking is essentially a tax?

With that profit now we can put in more Green P parking lots, and bring more cars into the downtown core and generate even more profit which just disappears into thin air because the community doesn't benefit from giant green P lots.

And yes, people will park where they want - they always do - but it's a particularly onerous problem for we cyclists due to dooring and being forced out into fast moving traffic when we're moving dangerously slow.

Maybe the city of Toronto's strategy is, drive your cars and pay us lots of taxes/money while we dither about with bike lanes and alternatives - after all, they wouldn't want to kill the golden goose/car now would they?

In spite of the City of Toronto website recommending cyclists contact parking enforcement regarding parking in bike lanes, it is not parking enforcement's job. Why? Because technically there is no such thing as 'no parking' in bike lanes. That's right. You read that correctly. I reported as much several months ago after discussions with Dan Egan, Manager of Traffic Services at City Hall and a Sergeant (forgot his name) with Traffic Services, Toronto Police Services. I even notified city hall to correct their web page and they have not done so, at least since I last viewed it.

With bike lanes that are adjacent to parking, there is nowhere for signs to be posted stating 'no parking.' Therefore, there can be no parking prohibition without signage. Motorists may cross bike lanes to get in and out of parking, but the HTA states vehicles cannot be more than 1 meter from the curb and any lanes (including bike lanes) next to a parking space are 'no stopping.' There does not need to be signage for that as it is an HTA regulation that all motorists are supposed to know. No stopping is a moving offence, not a parking offence and only the police have jurisdiction, not parking enforcement.

For bike lanes against the curb, they are 'no standing' zones and, as such, no motorized vehicle may stop, park or operate in a no standing zone.

The fines for no standing and, subsequently, operating a motor vehicle in a no standing zone are signficantly more than parking in a no parking zone. They are more serious offences. Enforcement is another matter altogether.

The reason most cops drive right past offending vehicles is because the police officer(s) are not likely on traffic duty and will not attend to traffic-related issues. Only traffic cops will.

A little known fact about how the police are deployed is this---as told to me recently by a friend who is a sergeant at 52 Division: They only have 4 cruisers in their entire division that covers Yonge-Spadina and the lake to Bloor. Yup, just 4 cruisers. They respond to any and all calls in that area and are busy responding to those calls for their entire shifts. Bike cops are on patrol and do not respond to calls, unless it is that an officer needs assistance. Certain sergeants are assigned to serious calls including any and all deaths, shootings, suicide attempts (and there is 1 suicide attempt on the subway every 10 days) and other serious matters. Traffic cops tend to serious traffic issues and bike lane infractions are far down on their list of priorities considering how thinly stretched they are. Those are the facts. We can't expect any better response no matter how much we might want it or complain about it because they simply don't have the manpower and the cops that you see driving by are responding to a criminal call (domestic assault, assault, etc. etc.) that may have been called in hours and hours before.

From Ontario's "Highway Traffic Act," Section 134. Source:

Removal of vehicle, debris blocking traffic

134.1 (1) Where a police officer considers it reasonably necessary,

(a) to ensure orderly movement of traffic; or

(b) to prevent injury or damage to persons or property,

he or she may remove and store or order the removal and storage of a vehicle, cargo or debris that are directly or indirectly impeding or blocking the normal and reasonable movement of traffic on a highway and shall notify the owner of the vehicle of the location to which the vehicle was removed. 2005, c. 26, Sched. A, s. 20.

Costs of removal

(2) The costs and charges for the removal and storage of the vehicle, cargo or debris removed are a debt due by the owner, operator and driver of the vehicle, for which they are jointly and severally liable, and the debt may be recovered in any court of competent jurisdiction and are a lien upon the vehicle, which may be enforced in the manner provided by the Repair and Storage Liens Act. 2005, c. 26, Sched. A, s. 20.

Truck drivers, couriers and cabbies should be expected to tolerate vehemence for their actions. Retaliation should be considered a criminal offense.

and I can't find the citing to the 14% reduction in bicycling injury incidents following the passing of the "Idaho Stop" legislation in Idaho.