Reforming enforcement of street parking will make for a “happier city,” says the councillor, whose will present a motion next week.
The twice-a-month vehicular shuffle to the other side of the street can be an unforgiving part of city life, and one councillor believes citizens should be given a “fair window” to make the change without penalty.
Toronto realtor Mark Bullen pays close to $200 a year for his permit to park on Bloomfield Ave., and is required, like others on his street, to switch the car to the opposite side of the street by 9 a.m. twice a month. He tries, but sometimes there are delays that come with a busy life. He has received tickets at 9:02 a.m. and 9:04 a.m.
“Because we switch over, he (parking enforcement officer) comes down at 9 o’clock and sits there, and at 9:01 a.m. he starts rolling out the tickets,” said Bullen, who feels, well, a bit like prey.
“I was actually standing on my porch with my son putting his shoes on to go to school, and I saw the guy pull up to my car, and I waved at him and I said to him, ‘I’m just getting my kid dressed, I’ll be right there,’ and he said ‘Sorry,’ and slipped a ticket on my car,” he said.
That was the one that made him “go bananas” and call Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth). Fletcher’s office had received similar calls before, and decided some parking reform was needed.
On its website, the city notes that permit holders have a grace period from “9 p.m. the previous night to 9 a.m. the next morning on changeover days,” but Fletcher said it’s an informal rule left to the discretion of the parking enforcement officer.
“I am asking council to support formalizing the grace period and to extend it to the morning,” she said.
Fletcher introduced a motion to formalize a grace period “beginning three hours before the permit parking hours begin and extending three hours after permit parking hours end.” The motion will be heard at city council on Feb. 20.
“Many of the councillors believe it’s (already) formal, but the police parking enforcement don’t, so getting that to be a clear bylaw at the city is very important. Then, that’s what would be enforced,” she said.
“We need a happier city,” she said.
The motion will probably be referred to the public works and infrastructure committee for study, unless it gets two-thirds of council approval.