towing of habitual parking ticket offenders when found parked illegally.
"This program includes important strategies to help keep traffic moving on our streets," said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34 Don Valley East), Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. "These initiatives will help reduce traffic delays and fuel consumption for drivers, as well as reduce the impact on our environment. Getting our road system clear of illegally parked vehicles will improve traffic flow and the quality of life for all residents."
Illegally parked and stopped vehicles contribute to traffic congestion, which has a considerable impact on residents, businesses and visitors. Recent studies have indicated that congestion costs Toronto commuters billions of dollars annually in travel delays, vehicle operating costs and accidents.
These changes, along with other congestion management initiatives, will allow the City to better respond to traffic conditions and improve traffic efficiency along key corridors.
Fines of $150 for unlawful parking, stopping or standing on rush-hour routes, combined with heightened enforcement, will encourage traffic flow on key routes during rush-hour periods. Residents will benefit from unimpeded traffic flow between the critical rush hours of 6 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. on key routes.
A system of fixed fines for parking offences will improve compliance with Toronto's parking regulations by ensuring that fines continue to deter illegal parking while preserving an efficient and fair dispute process.
The City is also introducing a vehicle-towing initiative for habitual parking ticket offenders. City bylaws currently permit the towing of any vehicle when parked illegally, but vehicles are generally towed only when necessary. A new Habitual Offender Program will provide a further deterrent to illegal parking by towing any offender who owes three or more parking tickets and whose tickets remain outstanding for 120 days. The penalties for having a vehicle towed include towing fees of up to $200 plus daily storage fees of up to $81.
A related initiative includes recent bylaw changes that provide authority to ticket vehicles displaying expired licence plate validation stickers. This enhancement to the bylaw will act as a deterrent to illegal parking and provide a further incentive for vehicle owners to renew their licence plate validation sticker with the Ministry of Transportation.
All of these changes, which take effect at 12:01 a.m. on January 23, along with other congestion management initiatives, will allow the City to improve traffic efficiency on key rush-hour routes, streamline the court process for parking ticket disputes and deter illegal parking.