“Two minutes, everyone is two minutes, in this city everyone only takes two minutes to do something,” says Parking Enforcement Officer Tony Molinaro on the excuse he is given every time he tags someone parked illegally.
Those two minutes of illegally parking your car can cost you a lot more time and money than two minutes are perhaps worth – and inconvenience hundreds of others by clogging downtown traffic arteries.
Parking in a rush hour route is a $150 ticket, stopping in a no-standing zone can be up to $150 and the cost of retrieving a car is anywhere from $200 to $250, depending on how long your car stays in the pound.
A rush-hour route enforcement campaign has seen 627 parking tags, 10 provincial offence notices and 100 vehicles towed in the city in just one day.
This is the second campaign, in a year, to help with traffic congestion and gridlock.
Over the course of the year, for rush-hour routes, the Service has issued 63,122 tickets and towed 12,681 vehicles. The TPS has also targeted habitual offenders, towing 11,310 vehicles with Ontario licence plates and 993 vehicles with out-of-province licence plates.
“Just like everything else, a refresh is always good to do and we had a decent impact in January,” says Traffic Services Sergeant Brett Moore, on why the campaign was relaunched.
On the second day of this campaign, in just under half an hour, Molinaro has to call in tow trucks for two cars parked illegally outside of Toronto Western Hospital at Bathurst and Dundas. Both cars are parked in rush-hour routes, forcing cars and public transit vehicles to slow down, causing congestion while confusing drivers.
In another instance, a man is stopped on a rush-hour route in a bike lane, forcing cyclists to swerve dangerously close to cars and streetcars. It’s 8:30 in the morning and traffic is heavy. The man sees Molinaro and, sure enough, yells ‘I’ll just be two minutes,’ but the PEO is having none of it. He shakes his head and starts writing up a ticket as the man quickly drives off.
Molinaro says this is a daily occurrence and having the blitz is a good way to clear congestion during the morning.
“If we see an obstruction, it’s our job to get rid of the obstruction for the safety of the public and you know we have to make sure traffic flows in an orderly fashion and make sure pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles can get around safely,” says the Parking Enforcement Officer, who has been doing this for the last 14 years.
The best advice he can give is to plan ahead and leave early. Molinaro says anyone who lives in the city knows that it’s hard to find parking, so he suggests just give yourself time to find a spot in which you can legally park.