The Star: Forget using that new bike lane; it’s full of cars


This is pretty much what cyclists have been griping about for years. Not surprising that there was zero enforcement.

In The Star:


There’s a fresh new bike lane on Simcoe Street. Just six months old, it was meant to calm the nerves of cyclists travelling the busy stretch under the GO lines and the Gardiner.

Instead, it’s become a parking lot.

As convention season heats up in Toronto, every major taxi company has cars sitting in the Simcoe Street bike lane, waiting their turn to pick up fares from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

A uniformed police officer ushered taxis into the convention centre parking lot yesterday. He didn’t chastise them for clogging the bike lane, nor for idling, which carries a fine up to $5,000.

When the Toronto Star asked him to clear the bike lane, he said he couldn’t, but he would “call someone.” A cyclist stopped to make the same request. A reporter and the cyclist,?Daniel Hall, stood and waited several minutes until the officer announced he had made the call.

While waiting for the ticket cops to show up, a reporter chatted with a few drivers. When told it was illegal to stand in a bike lane, some said, “No it’s not,” while others said “it’s only for today.”

Dispatchers at the Beck and Royal taxi companies said they would get their cars to move out of the lane, but not one vehicle moved.

Twenty minutes after the officer called in for parking enforcement, no one had shown up. A reporter called and was told a car would be sent out. “Do you know how long it might be?” the police were asked.

“No,” was the response.

“Could I get an estimate?” “No.”

Thirty-five minutes after a uniformed police officer was asked to help enforce the law, the bike lane was still full of idling cars.

Police have the authority to direct traffic, and this was just such an occasion.

Had the cabs been parked in the vehicle lane, I'm quite sure the attending Officer would not have called for Parking Enforcement.

Great coverage by The Star though.

I wish they'd published his badge number.

After city staff and police have repeatedly told us at Cycling Committee Meetings that the Police have enough tools at their disposal for enforcing the current bike lanes, I am really surprised to read this:

[PC Hugh Smith] seesthree main obstacles for parking enforcement officers trying to enforce bike lanes.

One, there’s no specific bylaw. Smith can’t track how many tickets are issued to cars sitting in a bike lane because such tickets are bundled with any others handed out for parking in a no-stopping zone.

Next, the fine is too low.
Smith also sees it as a major problem that parking enforcement officers are required to ask drivers to move before ticketing them. Most will just pull away if they see an officer approaching their illegally stopped car.

However, I was not all all surprised to read this:

In the absence of such enforcement, cyclists will push for physical separations, such as concrete barriers between bike lanes and traffic, say all three. “Maybe,” said Vaughan, “that’s the ultimate solution.”

Because that push for more "protected" lanes is already happening, and it is a direct result of this parking abuse that so often occurs in Bike Lanes.

Sgt Tim Burrows tweeted that the cop was hired under contract by the Convention Centre, therefore he could not leave his post, which is why he called Parking Enforcement.

Over lunch looking out my window which overlooks the intersection of Lower Simcoe and Bremner and saw the bike lane was being used by about 7 taxis for standing. Called parking enforcement at (416) 808-6600 and 15 min later, the lane was cleared by the parking enforecement officer that responded. I was impressed as they actually stuck around for come time to keep the lane clear.

Interesting that there's a completely separate force for parking enforcement, yet the police ding cyclists $80-some-odd for not having a silly little bell. If the cops are that hard up for cash, have them enforce driving in this town, as I'm sure they'd reel in the cash, especially from cab drivers.

pennyfarthing ok frye