Toronto: The Fixer – Councillors Want Cops to Extend 10-Minute Grace Period for Overtime Parking

Update:

Despite the fact that the City of Toronto passed an amendment back in July, 2012, which extended the 5 minute grace period to a 10 minute grace period with regard to paid parking (which amended the Parking Ticket Cancellation Guidelines) Parking Enforcement Officers and police, continue to issue tickets to motorists within 10 minutes of the expiration period of the paid parking tag.  This forces the motorist to make a trip to request that their ticket be cancelled under the Parking Ticket Cancellation Guidelines.  City councillors will deal with this issue on Monday, April 8, 2013 and will pass a resolution which instructs the Toronto Police Services Board (employer of Toronto Parking Enforcement Officers and Toronto Police) to stop issuing tickets to motorists who have paid for parking and where the parking tag purchased has expired within 10 minutes of the paid time.
Despite the fact that the City of Toronto passed an amendment back in July, 2012, which extended the 5 minute grace period to a 10 minute grace period with regard to paid parking (which amended the Parking Ticket Cancellation Guidelines) Parking Enforcement Officers and police, continue to issue tickets to motorists within 10 minutes of the expiration period of the paid parking tag. This forces the motorist to make a trip to request that their ticket be cancelled under the Parking Ticket Cancellation Guidelines. City councillors will deal with this issue on Monday, April 8, 2013 and will pass a resolution which instructs the Toronto Police Services Board (employer of Toronto Parking Enforcement Officers and Toronto Police) to stop issuing tickets to motorists who have paid for parking and where the parking tag purchased has expired within 10 minutes of the paid time.

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Finally, someone on city council is ready to get serious about making sure drivers benefit from the 10-minute grace period for overtime parking.

Councillors Josh Matlow and Michael Thompson say they will bring a motion to city council this week, asking that tickets not be issued until 10 minutes after the paid parking expires.

Thompson, vice-chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, said he’s willing to bring a motion to the next board meeting, asking that that instruction be given to parking enforcement officers.

But the proposal would carry more weight if it came to the board via a motion from city council, which Thompson said he’s prepared to work on with Matlow.

Drivers can take the ticket and pay-and-display dashboard receipt to any one of four parking tag operations offices, or provide the information to the city by email or fax to cancel a ticket.

Ombudsman Fiona Crean recommended that drivers be informed of the cancellation guidelines at parking tag offices, which council approved last fall, and that the rules should also be prominent on toronto.ca, the city’s website .

But even today, it is almost impossible to find information about the guidelines on the city website, which Crean said is contrary to the spirit of her recommendations and council’s will.

It occurred to Matlow that it would be much better if parking officers simply held back on ticketing until 10 minutes after the paid time expires, instead of the five-minute mercy rule they currently observe.

But he noted that parking enforcement officers take their orders from Police Chief Bill Blair, and that council has no authority to force police to extend the no-ticket policy from five to 10 minutes.

So we had a talk with Thompson, who agreed that the police board should ask Blair to instruct its officers to extend the 10-minute break, instead of making drivers go to the trouble of cancelling tickets.

The two councillors said they’ll put their heads together to get a motion approved at this week’s council meeting, and then move it on to the police board.

It would be hard to find a driver who would argue against it, and would cost the city hardly anything in terms of lost revenue.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope it gets done. We’ll let you know.

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