Toronto Committee to give cyclists late Christmas gift

Everyone loves to park in the bike lane

City Hall is back in business after the holiday season, but the gifts keep on coming. Parking on busy streets during rush hour, or blocking a bike lane any time has been increased by $150 fine if passed by city hall.

Public works and infrastructure voted 3-2 Wednesday to hike the fine from the current $60 for parking in a no stopping or standing zone and $40 for parking in a no parking zone.

The two dissenting votes were cast by councillors Shiner and Parker, who worried the hike is a “feel good” motion when the real problem is enforcement.

Tickets are issued by parking enforcement officers who work for Toronto police.

Shiner said their quota system — called “targets” by police — that sees parking officers expected to issue a certain number of tickets per day means they hit lots of cars at expired meters or on side-streets, rather than one car blocking busy traffic and causing a huge headache.

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, the committee's chair, agreed with the dissenters and said city staff will talk to police about better enforcement.

“We are moving forward in trying to address congestion,” said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong chair of the public works committee. “This is a positive step forward.”

The increased fine is one part of attacking the problem, he said, and proper enforcement is another.

The fine hike would need to go to council for approval before coming into effect.

Watchers of how things are done at City Hall have already placed bets on Doug Ford and his puppet mayor brother putting up stiff opposition to the intended by-law change.

The committee is also debating a system that would see courier and delivery companies able to buy annual permits, at a cost of $600 per vehicle or $5,000 for a 10-vehicle fleet, allowing them to park in no-parking zones for up to 30 minutes outside of the morning and afternoon rush hours.

Perhaps they will consider offering this deal to all car drivers, though with the amount of enforcement in bike lanes, car drivers in Toronto are already getting this for free.

Toronto drivers can expect to pay more for stopping illegally on main streets during rush hour under a plan endorsed Wednesday by the city’s public works committee.

Councillor Gord Perks, who voted for the measure, said he was skeptical about the effects.

“This is more about the appearance of action than real action,” he said.

Councillor John Parker, one of two committee members to vote against the increased fines, said hiking fines is unlikely to solve gridlock. “If we are really serious about clearing the street the issue is not the fine, it is what policy we put in place to clear the path,” he said.

The new fines will be debated by council at its next regular meeting.

Comments

I wonder if the new fine is high enough that the city would be able to use increased parking ticket revenue to hire more parking enforcement (and by "more", I mean "enough to keep the bike lanes clear").

My only fear is that this will create a backlash making bikelanes undesirable to the business community and where city planners don't build any more after being lobbied by BIAs .

Isn't that city trying to REDUCE the city staff, which would make enforcement worse?

A good step forward, now contingent on council support and then actual enforcement, which is rather lax in this city.

Issuing tickets at the meter instead of to those who: stop in no stopping zones, drive in restricted lanes (Bay St.), and generally occupy a lane because they can't be bothered to find a spot are all good examples of that. The strategy needs to change from a numbers game to a remedy for traffic congestion.

On a separate note, I think the proposed $600 permit issued to Courier Companies is a joke - the law either applies or it doesn't; it's not subject to a pay-off. Let Bike Couriers deliver the small packages, and use loading docks or proper parking for the rest.

It's all about enforcement, which has long been lacking in Ontario. Not only enforcement, but penalties, both for traffic infractions and injury or death. Penalties are far more strict in Japan, and... per capita traffic fatalities for pedestrians and cyclists are 1/4 of Toronto in Tokyo, despite about double the walking and quadruple the riding. Check out 'Good's' 'infographic': http://awesome.good.is/transparency/web/1008/dead-walking/flat.html

Nice parking job Sergeant Frank Drebin, Detective Lieutenant Toronto Police Squad.... I think I see OJ under that thing!

Enforce the shit outta illegal parking, don't sanction it for delivery trucks(monkey see monkey do) and put those meter maids on bikes.

Toronto is the automobiles doormat.

BTW I think that is over 30cm from the curb... Don't make me get my ruler out! He doesn't like being raised from the dead.

Absolutely LOVE the picture!!!

Physically separate bicycle lanes from traffic and you don't need enforcement.
There will never be enough enforcement to keep bicycle lanes clear.
Canada Post is exempt as a federal agency from tickets and taxis are permitted to stop in bicycle lanes to pick up and drop off passengers i.e. the fine has no impact on them at all.
The new fine will help keep out private automobiles but in the end physically separating bicycle lanes is the only way to achieve safe cycling for most of the population.

with all the talk about city hall making cutbacks to the police budget and parking authority cutbacks, if the city was to give them a share in the revenues collected from the payment of parking fines wfritten by them for their departments, I think more tickets would be written.
Mayor Ford and his brother are going to be cutting back on the poutine fries they eat off the trucks parked in front of city hall and lose weight, what about getting them both bicycles while they are at it?

The city tried this about 1977. The result: increased sidewalk parking. Unless the ticket for that is increased AND enforced, de nada. If the city really wants things cleared it will make everything tow away. That includes sidewalks and bikelanes.

I also don't believe the increased fines are more than posturing. If city hall was serious about cracking down on obstructive parking, they would have voted to remove the loophole that allows commercial violators to cancel their parking tickets.

But this is Toronto: we, the citizens have voted someone onto office who has seen little more in life than business and sports. He'll do his darndest to keep the business community happy, regardless of cost to the rest of the citizenship. On the other hand, he recently discovered he ought to lose some weight. If he should discover that regularly riding a bike instead of his SUV will do the trick, we all will be winners....

pennyfarthing ok frye