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Canada Post vows to quit blocking Toronto bike lanes

Thanks to local parking enforcement hero Kyle Ashley, Canada Post says drivers will park in a safe spot or return items to the depot rather than block lanes.

“The flagrant disregard for the bike lanes is strongest from (Canada Post),

Eduardo Lima / Metro Order this photo

“The flagrant disregard for the bike lanes is strongest from (Canada Post)," said PEO Kyle Ashley last week. "I don’t know if they think they have impunity because the trucks say Canada Post, or if they just don’t care about the public image or the public safety.”

Canada Post vehicles will stop parking in Toronto bike lanes, the Crown corporation announced after a Star story highlighted cyclist safety concerns.

Canada Post understands the concerns raised regarding safety and bike lanes in Toronto,” the postal service said in a statement Tuesday.

“As a result, we are instructing our employees to not park in bike lanes in the City of Toronto. For pickups or deliveries, they are expected to find a safe location to park their vehicle. If a safe parking location is not available, our employees are expected to avoid the stop, continue on their route and return any undelivered items to the depot.”

Canada Post drivers are told to report any problem areas to a supervisor so a safety assessment can be done to find the best alternative to serve the area.

“We are also asking the city to work with Canada Post and others to find long-term solutions to address this issue,” concludes the statement sent by Jon Hamilton, a senior Canada Post spokesman based in Ottawa.

That is a different message than last week, when Hamilton told the Star that drivers are expected to follow the law and Canada Post is working on changes but “it’s a balance, and there are a lot of people who depend on Canada Post and the work we do so we can’t just make instant changes that have a huge impact on the small businesses that rely on us or the people that have ordered stuff,” online.

The Star on Monday published a story in which Toronto parking enforcement officer Kyle Ashley, who has garnered praise for his work ticketing bike lane invaders and preaching safety on social media, singled out Canada Post as a repeat offender.

“Of all the ones who are still holding out from engaging in the positive behaviours that we’ve started seeing from Beck Taxi, Mister Produce and others, the one that I’m still seeing the most infractions coming from would be Canada Post,” Ashley said in an interview last week.

“The flagrant disregard for the bike lanes is strongest from them. I don’t know if they think they have impunity because the trucks say Canada Post, or if they just don’t care about the public image or the public safety.”

Also last week, Mayor John Tory said a senior Toronto-based Canada Post manager told him that, as a result of Star inquiries, drivers had been reminded to park legally while doing drop-offs. Ashley said he noticed better behaviour for a day or two, but by week’s end Canada Post vehicles were routinely blocking bike lanes and forcing cyclists into traffic.

Other couriers including Purolator and FedEx also block bike lanes, he said, but those companies seem willing to talk to him about alternatives including briefly blocking a lane of vehicle traffic, rather than a bike lane, if vehicles can safely go around it in another lane.

Tory, after an announcement Tuesday about a planned accessible baseball diamond, said he had that morning again called the Canada Post manager in charge of Toronto to request that the postal service “do more.”

“I indicated this is conduct — recognizing they have their job to do — that it is not acceptable to the City of Toronto, and to us as people who are trying to live together and to learn how to share the roads,” Tory told reporters.

“When we create bike lanes it is not with the intention that any vehicles will park there ... It isn’t just a matter of disrespect for the law, it’s a public safety issue because when a cyclist then goes around a truck into traffic and then goes back into the bike lane that is a moment of great vulnerability for the cyclist in particular but also for a (driver) who might not be expecting this.”

Tory added that he will this fall invite representatives of Canada Post and the private courier companies to meet in his office and reinforce the need to keep out of bike lanes but also what else the city can do, such as more designated courier parking spots, to help them.

After Canada Post announced hours later that it will stay out of bike lanes, the mayor praised the postal agency’s decision.

“When I took office, Canada Post was one of the first organizations to demonstrate its commitment to help keep this city moving,” Tory said.

“By adjusting deliveries and drop-off locations, Canada Post showed the impact that an effective partnership can make when it comes to fighting congestion. Once again, today, Canada Post has shown it is prepared to do the right thing.”

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