Councillor Josh Matlow

Toronto Sun: Toronto targets gridlock

December 22, 2011


Get ready for a war on gridlock – and if you’re helping cause it, it’s going to cost you.


Parking illegally during rush hour, stopping in a no stopping zone or blocking a bike lane is about to get a lot more expensive if councillors on the public works committee approve anti-gridlock measures in January.


Staff propose raising the fine to $150 for stopping, standing, or parking a vehicle during rush hour. That’s up from a typical $40 fine for parking in a no parking zone or a $60 fine for stopping in a no stopping or no standing zone. The city considers the rush hour periods on weekdays between 6 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.


Bureaucrats are also proposing raising the fine for parking on a bike lane to $150, up from $60. The bike lane blocking fine would be in effect at any hour of the day.


Public Works chairman Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong applauded the recommendations, calling them “more reasonable” than the $500 fine for blocking a lane during rush hour first proposed by rookie Councillor Josh Matlow.


“I think it is a good idea,” Minnan-Wong said. “It’s a problem during rush hour, lanes are already congested…something has to be done. Clearly there are too many cars blocking lanes right now, we need to increase the fines, we have to have a larger deterrent.”


As for increasing the fine for cars blocking bike lanes, Minnan-Wong said it makes sense. “If we’ve decided to put bike lanes on the road, the law has to be followed and obeyed,” he said.


Matlow described the staff proposal as “substantive action on tackling rush hour gridlock.”


“While I initially proposed a $500 fine certainly to get the attention of those who are breaking our bylaws and impeding traffic, I think $150 is a reasonable compromise,” Matlow said.


While the phrases, the “war on the car” and the “war on the bike” are tossed around a lot at City Hall, Matlow says the real war should be waged on gridlock.


“No matter whether you are a car driver, a bicyclist, a transit user or a pedestrian, gridlock impacts your quality of life and your ability to move around the city,” he said.


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