Councillor Josh Matlow

Toronto Star: ‘Curb hogs,’ get ready for $150 parking fines — and a possible tow

January 18th 2014

Gemma Karstens-Smith

Toronto Star


Parking illegally in Toronto is about to get much more expensive.


New rules coming into effect next week will hike the fine for parking in no-stopping zones during rush hour from $60 to $150.


The hefty fines, which will be enforced from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, will help deter “curb hogs,” or drivers who park in curb lanes during peak travel times, said Councillor Josh Matlow.


Those curb hogs include delivery drivers who hop out of trucks and vans to deliver packages to office buildings. But they also include commuters.


“There’s also a problem with individuals who think that putting their blinkers on to go grab a coffee in the middle of rush hour is more important than the 100 people behind them who are going to be late for work,” Matlow said.


Matlow wanted the fine to be bumped to $500. Delivery companies budget for tickets, Matlow said, and average commuters are willing to take the risk if the penalty is small.


“If it’s a larger fine, even if they don’t think about anybody else, they’ll think about their own pocketbook,” he said.


The new regulations, passed by city council in 2012 but delayed by the need for provincial approval, will also allow the city to tow illegally parked vehicles whose owners have three or more unpaid and undisputed parking tickets.


That’s good news for Khan Shahid, who works for SSR Towing. The new rules will mean more business for towtruck drivers, he said.


But Shahid also believes the new rules will help control congestion in Toronto.


“If everybody’s scared their car’s going to get towed, they’re going to be careful about these things,” he said. “It’s a very good thing the city is doing.”


Traffic congestion is a big issue for Torontonians, and it affects everything from quality of life to the economy, Matlow said.


“This is an issue I think people really want city hall to take action on, and it focuses on abusers, and it’s shown to work,” he said.


But the councillor recognizes that some people will be less than impressed by the new rules. Those people have nothing to worry about, he said — as long as they don’t break them.


“I never understand the argument from people who don’t want any penalization for breaking the rules,” Matlow said. “That’s just not logical to me, especially when it’s having a direct impact on people who are sharing the roads.”


Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of the city’s infrastructure and public work’s committee, will speak about the new regulations in a news conference Tuesday.


To read this article in its current form, click here.


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