News / Toronto

Toronto parking tickets could soon be delivered by mail

Under new rules, scofflaw drivers will no longer be able to avoid parking tickets simply by driving away.

Under provincial law, parking enforcement officers must physically affix tickets to vehicles. That means drivers who hit the gas before the ticket is printed get away scot free.

Torstar News Service file

Under provincial law, parking enforcement officers must physically affix tickets to vehicles. That means drivers who hit the gas before the ticket is printed get away scot free.

The city is looking to crack down on drivers who evade parking tickets by speeding away from the scene of the crime.

Under provincial law, parking enforcement officers must physically affix tickets to vehicles. That means drivers who hit the gas before the ticket is printed get away scot free.

However, new powers granted to municipalities by the province could help put the brakes on scofflaw parkers, and allow Toronto to issue tickets by mail.

The changes came into effect last July, and removed a previous $100 cap on parking fines allowed to be handled in-house, rather than through provincial courts.

According to Barry Randell, director of court services for the city, that means Toronto’s $150 fines for parking illegally during rush hour or stopping in a bike lane are now eligible to be delivered in the mail.

A report on the matter is slated to go before council in February. If approved, the changes could still take “several months” to implement, Randell said.

A 2014 city report found three per cent of all parking tickets issued in Toronto were cancelled because the driver “moved along” before the ticket was issued. Based on city figures, that’s a loss of about $3.3 million in revenue.

The problem is particularly acute when it comes to parking in bicycle lanes. For every bike lane ticket issued, the city estimates three other drivers avoid the ticket by driving away.

Cycle Toronto director Jared Kolb said welcomed the potential changes, saying proper enforcement is needed if the city wants to get more people riding their bikes.

“A lot of bike lanes are just paint on the road. And if the enforcement regime can’t back up that painted line, it makes painted bike lanes places that can be unsafe for cyclists,” he said, noting that cyclists must merge on to the roadway to avoid illegally parked cars.

In the wake of Mayor John Tory’s announcement of a dedicated “city-building fund” for transit and housing projects, Kolb said he’d like to see some of the revenue from parking tickets set aside for cycling infrastructure and maintenance.

“I think it makes a lot of sense for Mayor Tory to lead not just on towing blitzes for people parked illegally during rush hour but also for those parked in bike lanes,” he said.