Enforcement of the city's rush-hour routes will be ramped up this week in an effort to ease congestion and gridlock.
It is the second campaign this year focusing on vehicles parking and stopping illegally on rush-hour routes as well as those making prohibited turns and blocking intersections, all contributors to traffic gridlock downtown. The zero-tolerance approach sees many vehicles tagged and ticketed, including delivery vehicles, in a bid to get traffic moving during morning, mid-day and evening rush hours. The campaign is running from Monday Oct. 5 to Thursday, Oct. 8.
The first campaign, launched after a partnership with Mayor John Tory in Janurary, was successful in breaking the bad habits of many drivers.
Since then, for rush-hour routes, the Service has issued 61,830 tickets and towed 12,354 vehicles.
“We implemented a zero-tolerance policy January 1 and heard from people across the city that it had made a positive, measurable difference in their commute times. And while this zero-tolerance policy continues to be enforced… I have noticed that bad habits start to seep back into the system…(and) people selfishly block lanes during rush hour for their own purpose,” said Tory.
The You Know You Shouldn’t campaign launched at the beginning of the year, included videos reminding drivers of violating traffic rules such as parking in rush hour routes and making prohibited turns that cause traffic gridlock. Drivers are also reminded to pull off to a side street after a minor collision when no one is injured.
To get people back on track and back to ‘good’ behaviour is a reason the traffic blitz is being reintroduced, he explained.
Chief Mark Saunders said the enforcement will be cover the areas of Bloor Street to the north, Dufferin on the west, the Don Valley Parkway to the east and Lakeshore on the south. “We will also have a lot more officers patrolling these areas during rush hour,” said the Chief.
“We will be aggressively ticketing and towing vehicles blocking major roadways,” warned the mayor, who added that he wished there was no need for such action if people had changed their behaviour accordingly the first time around.
Chief Mark Saunders also reminded the public that blocking roadways has an effect on public safety. “Some people think it is not a serious issue, but I have got to tell you it has a cascaded effect… when rush-hour routes are congested, drivers use side streets,” said the Chief, of endangering children walking near their homes and schools.
Saunders said people should remember that rush-hour routes were not only designed for people to get to their destinations in a speedy manner, they also enhanced safety across the city.
"We want people to take this seriously. You cannot park during the rush-hour times. They are designed for a reason,” he said.