In a bid to relieve the traffic congestion choking Toronto roads, the city is raising fines for four (4) parking offences this week by as much as $110.
Right now, drivers who get caught blocking a sidewalk, double parking, stopping in a TTC zone or parking in a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane, could get at a ticket for $60.
Currently the fines for the following vehicle parking offences have fines of $60.00:
- blocking sidewalks – fine increasing from $60 to $150.00
- engaging in double parking – fine increasing from $60 to $150.00
- standing in TTC zones – fine increasing from $60 to $150.00
- blocking high-occupancy/reserved vehicle lanes (HOV lanes)- fine increasing from $60 to $150.00
Starting tomorrow, the fines for the above noted offences will increase from $60 to $150.00.
The City expects to rake in an additional 3.372 million dollars in revenue (based on a collection rate of 80%) from the increase in fines for these parking tickets.
One of the major contributing factors to traffic congestion is the impact of illegally parked vehicles and/or illegally stopped vehicles, particularly on major arterial roads and especially during rush hour periods. Illegal parking or stopping prevents the effective use of roadways and inhibits traffic flow, resulting in congestion.
In 2013, the City of Toronto took steps to address the issue of illegal stopping during rush hour periods, by significantly increasing the fine for “No Stopping” during peak periods (Peak periods = Rush hours. Rush Hour in Toronto is defined in two four hour windows – 6-10 a.m. and 3-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri., excluding holidays and weekends) from $60.00 to $150.00.
Almost immediately after implementing the fine increase, the number of illegally stopped vehicles dropped by 60%, evidenced by the fact that the City previously issued approximately 700 tickets per day for that offence, and following the fine increase, utilizing identical enforcement resources, now issues approximately 280 tickets per day.
The increased compliance has improved traffic flow and it is clear that the increase in the fine amount had the desired effect of increasing compliance.
However, following implementation of the 2013 fine increases for the “No Stopping” rush hour offence, the City discovered that drivers, attempting to avoid
being ticketed with a higher fine of $150.00 are now stopping illegally on sidewalks, in transit areas, too close to intersections, or double parking in live lanes of traffic in order to avoid the higher fine.
In general, the current parking regulations in effect across the City on the major/minor arterial road network, along public transit routes and in bicycle lanes are designed to facilitate the safe movement of traffic during these peak demand times.
While offences in the rush hour area have been reduced since 2013, offenders continue to abuse parking rules by parking in these “peripheral” locations, close to or adjacent to high-volume traffic roadways to avoid a fine of $150 and a possible tow. This contributes significantly to public safety issuesand traffic congestion.
Rather than risk a $150 ticket and possible towing during rush hour, motorists needing to park, short term or long term, committed other parking violations which only had $60 fines attached to them (blocking sidewalks, double parking, standing in TTC zones and blocking high-occupancy/reserved vehicle lanes (HOV lanes)).
In response to motorist’s behaviour, as they did in 2013 by raising the “No Stopping” fine to $150, Toronto City Council on September 30, 2015 voted in favour to raise the fines from $60 to $150 for the following offences (blocking sidewalks, double parking, standing in TTC zones and blocking high-occupancy/reserved vehicle lanes (HOV lanes), which come into effect tomorrow.
Not only does the City hope that these new fines (almost tripled) will act as a successful deterrent and stop motorists from finding other areas to park during Toronto’s rush-hour, but the City hopes to raise 3.372 million dollars.
Estimates from 2008 studies for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area show that congestion costs commuters as much as $3.3 billion annually in terms of delays and increased vehicle costs while the cost to the local economy is estimated at an additional $2.7 million due to lost economic activity and accompanying job loss.
“By attaching a real price to blocking lanes of traffic with illegal parking, we will reduce congestion,” Mayor John Tory said Tuesday in a news release announcing the changes.
Increased enforcement of illegal parking is one element of Tory’s six-point plan to cut traffic congestion. That plan was introduced last year.
“This is just one more step that we are taking to keep Toronto moving and keep pedestrians safe,” Tory said in the release.