Cyclists alarmed over proposed bylaw to restrict bike parking on the street

There's been a flurry of alarm among cyclists after this last week's Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting, that a vote on harmonizing of street by-laws seems to be banning cyclists from parking their bikes to anything in the public realm, unless authorized by the General Manager. If something is locked for more than 24 hours then it may be removed (it's not clear from the the text if the 24 hours applies to post and rings as well as "illegal" parking.

It's not clear if the alarm is justified or not, though understandable given the anti-bike bent of those in control of city committees. Councillor Mike Layton was frustrated by the vote:

As part of the streets bylaw, PWIC voted to make it illegal to park a bike anywhere but a bike post. How much bike parking will this lose?

Though city staff have said that in practice things won't be as bad as cyclists fear. Christine Bouchard of of Transportation Services said on Facebook:

This by-law harmonization will consolidate existing by-laws which are still in effect from the seven pre-amalgamation municipalities. Its purpose is to allow for the removal of "things or articles" locked to City property which create a problem for pedestrians, like A-frame signs, shopping carts, and abandoned articles. Abandoned articles may include derelict bicycles. The interpretation that the purpose of the bylaw harmonization is to remove locked bicycles which are in good working order from City streets is an incorrect interpretation of the harmonized bylaw. The level of actual service by bylaw enforcement is not changing. Transportation staff will develop wording to clarify this for when it goes to Council.

Perhaps it's not as bad as we thought, or at the least no worse than things are currently for finding places to park our bicycles. In practice, bylaw officers only go about removing derelict bicycles once a year, tagging such bikes and returning a week later to remove those that still remain with the tag. This practice is currently not backed up by law, so this proposal will give the City a better defence against claims made by people who've lost their bikes to the City.

As another City staff person noted, post and rings being used as "bike storage" instead of parking takes away an opportunity from other cyclists. The larger problem of fairness, he notes, "involves the overall structural deficit of bike parking on private property - renters/condos with no room to store inside turn to the post-and-ring as their only convenient solution - one that appears totally legal to them: locking a bike to a bike locking ring paid for by their tax dollars." This by-law may put a bit more squeeze on cyclists, but the solution cannot be found in allowing cyclists to park anywhere, but in vastly improving parking on private and public property. Incredibly, Toronto is actually a leader in providing on-street parking, or at least we were.

As a side note Bouchard also mentioned that it is now the "public realm group" who is handling post and ring stands, since they're considered "street furniture". The application process is the same (you can use this online form), but now requests go to the public realm group.

Comments

Here in Los Angeles it is illegal to lock a bike to a parking meter, but I have never heard of its being enforced. (That doesn't mean it couldn't be if the PD decided to get heavy.) I'd say most cyclists lock to parking meters, as there are definitely insufficient sidewalk racks here, though a recent ordinance should improve the situation on both private and public property.

Perhaps you should use this new bylaw as a lever to require more parking equity for cyclists. Certainly there should be public bike parking on all commercial blocks throughout the city, just as there is free or highly subsidized car parking there.

However, seeing that your bike would have to be locked up for 24 hours before being subject to the provision, you're probably pretty safe. (From the city, that is; in LA it would be stolen by then, in most neighborhoods.)

well now that puts a kink in my ability or wanteness to shop on Yonge Street, as there are no post and rings there and we have to make do with utility poles etc. Also if you scoot over to Parliament Street near Jet Fuel you will find someone has parked their For Sale bikes on all the ring posts near \Winchester street.

You will still be able to shop on Yonge St. by locking to a utility pole. Just not for 24 consecutive hours.

But we do need to request more post and rings on Yonge St.

Here is what will happen, already sparse ring and post will be further taken over by the long-term parking types.

Total BS by the city, of course, but then again if you lock your bike anywhere in this shite city, it's gone!

I like how we pay taxes to maintain parking spaces for car drivers downtown, yet we don't get lanes to travel in.

Perhaps they could build some additional bike parking. I don't see where there would be a problem either way with locking the bike to a street post or not. I guess it all depends upon where it is.

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