POLITICS

Triple Toronto Parking Fines, Committee Says

01/04/2012 01:28 EST | Updated 03/05/2012 05:12 EST

Toronto councillors on the public works committee have recommended that the fines be tripled for motorists who park illegally during rush hours.

The Public Works and Infrastructure Committee voted Wednesday morning in favour of the move, which would see fines that range from between $40 and $60 raised to $150. That would be the highest rush-hour fine in the country.

Rush hour is considered to be between 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The $150 fine, which must be approved by council, would also apply to motorists who park in bike lanes.

"We need people to take notice and say, 'You know what, this is a serious thing,' " Coun. Mike Layton said.

Better enforcement

Most councillors agree that the fine itself will do nothing without better enforcement.

"We don't want them giving out quotas and meeting their quotas for missing [unpaid] meters when rush hour traffic is the most important thing in the city," said Coun. David Shiner.

Councillors say they plan to meet with police officials to discuss ways of making people who park illegally during rush hour the priority.

The committee was also considering a $600 permit that would allow courier companies to park on city streets during off-peak hours.

People in the delivery industry were speaking to the committee Wednesday. Representatives from Purolator said that the company receives more parking tickets in Toronto than all other cities in Canada combined.

One prominent Toronto transit advocate attacked that proposal on Tuesday, arguing that it undermines other positive changes.

"It's supposed to be only outside of the rush hour, but we all know that the problem today is there are vans parked all over the place, all the time, rush hour or not," said Steve Munro, who has been a transit activist for 40 years.

The committee was also expected to discuss how to better time and co-ordinate construction projects, particularly in the summer months.

In the meantime, the city is starting a downtown transportation study to look at everything from different designs of roadways, improving left turns and better signalling at intersections.