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.