City considering big hike in fines for overlong parking
By John Q. Duffy
Fines for overlong parking will double if a recommendation from the General Government and Licensing Committee is approved by Council.
At its Tuesday, May 22 meeting a staff proposal from Transportation Services to raise the fine for “Park – Longer than 3 Hours” passed without comment as an individual who was scheduled to make a deputation on this and other matters failed to appear.
If approved by Council, the penalty for this offense will go from $15 to $30, effective September 3, 2019.
A staff report indicates that while other parking fines in Toronto are higher than in other Ontario municipalities, the fine for this offense “tends to be lower” in Toronto.
The report states enforcement is typically done “on a complaint basis since most of the violations are committed on low-traffic volume, residential side streets.”
However with the similar costs of off-street parking lots ($3 to $10 overnight), and residential on-street permits ($9.76 + HST), a $15 fine no longer serves as an effective deterrent to parking longer than three hours.
Staff also took into consideration the seriousness of the offense (eg. the impact of illegally parked cars on rush hour traffic) and the fact most locations do not have signs warning of the law and many drivers may not know they are committing an offense.
The City issues about 113,000 tickets for this offense annually, or about 5.5 percent of all tickets.
If the proposal is accepted the increase would add about $1.4 million to City revenues annually.
For 2019, September through December, this would add about $470,000 to City revenues.
The City could also increase its revenues by enhancing patrols looking specifically for this offense.
The staff report comments that street congestion is a major problem and a significant contributing factor is “the impact of illegally parked vehicles and/or illegally stopped vehicles, particularly on major arterial roads,” especially during rush hours.
Commuters will often park on side streets while taking public transit to their destinations, and this “inhibits traffic flow and street cleaning and maintenance.”
Staff says increasing fines along with more aggressive enforcement has been effective in combating congestion.