TORONTO – Councillor Josh Matlow’s bid to crack down on rush hour lane blockers hit a speed bump Wednesday.
The government management committee voted to send a modified version of Matlow’s anti-gridlock proposal to staff for further study.
Matlow had wanted to slap $500 fines on any motorist, including delivery drivers, caught blocking a road or bike lane during rush hour. The modified motion asked staff to look at “increased fines” without setting a dollar amount.
Vehicles illegally parked during rush hour by “selfish, idiot, yahoos” grind Toronto’s traffic to a halt every morning and every night, Matlow told the committee.
“It’s frustrating and it hurts our quality of life and it hurts the economy,” Matlow said.
David Turnbull of the Canadian Courier and Logistics Association urged the committee not to go ahead with Matlow’s crackdown.
“It’s important that you understand that we have a vested interest in making this city work,” Turnbull told the committee.
In a testy exchange with Councillor Mike Layton, Turnbull was asked what the association was doing to limit vehicles stopping on major streets during rush hour.
“You’re doing nothing to stop your drivers from currently illegally parking, because they are illegally parked,” Layton said.
Turnbull said they are doing everything they can to ensure couriers park in legal spaces.
“By the same token, there are some places where there literally is no parking,” he said.
Councillor Doug Ford worried Matlow’s motion, which he called a “knee-jerk reaction”, would hurt businesses in Toronto.
“I think we have to think this out because there are huge ramifications,” Ford told Matlow during the meeting.
“Are we going to parachute parcels down to Bay St. banks instead of having someone drop them off? Let’s think this out and we have to think of all the ramifications that come back from it.”
After the meeting, Matlow welcomed the committee’s decision.
“I’m happy that the committee recognized what I brought to them is a priority,” Matlow said. “There is a disagreement about exactly how we prescribe the solution.”