Toronto launches traffic blitz with resumption of rush hour parking enforcement
Published Friday, June 24, 2022 10:47AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 24, 2022 1:14PM EDT
Toronto has launched a new traffic blitz to target a variety of factors impacting nasty gridlock in and around the city, as major events are set to return this summer.
The “Keep Toronto Moving” traffic campaign officially launched on Thursday and will run through to Thursday, June 30.
The initiative includes two key components: enforcement efforts on offences that negatively impact traffic flow and the return of regular rush hour parking enforcement.
“Traffic is back and that means that rush hour enforcement has to come back in order to help keep Toronto moving. That is of course a decision and operational decision that the police will make as to sort of how and when they enforce the law. But in this case, I am very gratified that they're going to resume rush hour enforcement,” Mayor John Tory said at a news conference Friday morning.
Throughout the next week, dedicated patrols will focus their efforts on improving the flow of traffic and will address congestion factors, including vehicles blocking intersections and compliance with traffic signals.
Vehicles caught blocking intersections could face a fine of $125.
“Police officers citywide will also be stepping up enforcement efforts intended to address the major causes of our city's most serious collisions: speeding, aggressive driving and distracted driving. So far this year, 23 people have been killed in collisions on Toronto roads, including 15 pedestrians,” Traffic Services Superintendent Scott Baptist said.
On Monday, police will resume their regular rush hour parking enforcement approach now that traffic has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Baptist said officers had been providing a “significant degree” of discretion in their enforcement of rush hour restrictions during the pandemic.
“While we would prefer to not issue anyone a $150 parking ticket for stopping in a rush hour route and would prefer to see voluntary compliance with these rules. Many people are now parking at random in rush hour routes, blocking these lanes for other traffic. And we believe enforcement will get people back to following the rules, improving the flow of traffic in the city,” he said.
Every year, officers issue an average of 72,000 tickets for rush hour offences.
As of Monday, July 4, police will also resume the impounding of vehicles parked in the city’s rush hour routes.
“...The prospect of having your car towed away is a very powerful inducement to follow the law. And I take no joy in the fact that people have their cars towed but it does have a very salutary effect on people in their habits when they have to go to one of those places quite far away and recover their car and pay quite a bit of money to get it back,” Tory said.
Tory said traffic levels in the city are at 90 to 95 per cent of what they were before the pandemic.
“This is a good news story in the sense that people are active in the city, events are back in the city. People are moving around the city to a much greater extent but it can't be done at the expense of safety first and foremost. And it can't be done in a way that causes the city to strangle on its own traffic,” he said.
With summer events returning to the city after a two-year hiatus, Toronto streets are expected to be packed and busy this summer, including this weekend with the Pride Parade.
Tory recommends that residents and visitors avoid driving into the city if they can.
“Please walk if you can, please cycle if you can, please take public transit if you can…Most of the events that happen in most parts of the city are well served by public transit.”