Thursday, August 18, 2016

Parking, starting over from scratch

When I was living in Montreal (which was my entire life prior to April), I had a really good grip on parking.

You'd think that parking in a big city was merely science. Ha!

In Montreal I rode motorbikes for five whole years, and got one whole parking ticket. That ticket was completely avoidable. I parked on the wrong side of a pole with a no stopping zone. I practically begged for that ticket.

Now I'm in Toronto.

On the surface, Toronto is much more moto friendly, parking-wise.

So why in the name of all that is worthy have I gotten TWO (2) TICKETS in the short time I have lived here????

I don't want this to be a rant about Toronto, because believe me it isn't. But bear with me.

Generally when it comes to parking for cars, Montreal is firmly in this century, and Toronto is in the 1960's, maybe, to be generous in the 1970's. In Montreal I paid for Susan's parking at a metered spot in Montreal when I was in Vancouver (yes folks that actually happened). In Montreal you get a text message telling you your parking is expiring, and you can top up by responding to the text message. In Toronto you have to trudge back two blocks, purchase another chunk of time from a meter thing that is usually defective in some way, take the printed slip of paper, then trudge back to your car and display your receipt RIGHT SIDE UP, on the dash. Sheesh!

Parking for motorcycles is another matter. Montreal requires you to read the city's vibe to park without getting ticketed. Toronto on the other hand specifically allows motorcycles to park FOR FREE in any metered street parking spot. SWEET!! Yes?

So how did I manage to get TWO TICKETS?

Apparently, on both occasions, I parked on the boulevard. Now, in both cases, I was parked on side streets, not a single boulevard in sight. But, here's how the Montreal moto maven's goose gets cooked in the Big Smoke. In Montreal, if I park off the street, not on the sidewalk, but on the far side of the sidewalk, in a little nook that for all the world seems like private property, and I am not obstructing anything, I will be fine. Never got a ticket in all those years.

In Toronto that is what the parking authorities call parking on the boulevard1, which gets you a $50 ticket. That's what Ed Thomas explained to me at our Monday evening Dairy Queen moto hang when I was brandishing my yellow parking prizes and cursing by bad luck. He said that as long as you park on the street, it's a ticket-free zone.

In Toronto, and this is what seals your fate, there has to be a parking warden for every single freaking block in the city, AND THEY MUST ALL BE WORKING ON A VERY GENEROUS COMMISSION. Either that, or Toronto has a knack for finding and hiring zealots who make Saudi and Qatari sharia enforcers look like slackers.

I think I've got it figured out now. I hope. Because otherwise, riding a scooter or motorcycle in Toronto is going to be damned expensive.

At least Toronto kindly lets you pay online. Pay the fines online. Not feed the meter. Just pay the fines.

Maybe one day Toronto will ditch the streetcars, the overhead wires, the rails in the streets, and the pay-and-display regime for parking and join the 21st century.

John Tory, if you're reading this, take a trip to Vancouver or Montreal, and take some notes. There are better ways to do these things. But thank you for letting me pay my undeserved tickets online.

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1 "Boulevard" [means] that part of the highway that is not used, or intended to be used, for motor vehicle travel by the general public, and that is situated between the travelled (sic) portion of the roadway and the adjoining private property, excluding the sidewalk (Toronto City Municipal Code chapter  918).

13 comments:

  1. I think your scooter must scream out "lawyer" to the parking enforcement. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. That's funny!

      I rack it up to being one of the 'soft costs' of moving to a new town.

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  2. Tut,tut David, you being a lawyer an' all - where's your fighting spirit? Rather than add to the city coffers straight up, how about a groveling letter laced with a bit of humour? I tried this approach and got away with it! Letter here: http://geoffjames.blogspot.co.nz/2010/06/bit-of-light-relief.html . Best wishes for future infringements!

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    1. Geoff, that's why I got two tickets. The first seemed fightable, I knew I hadn't parked near a boulevard. The second one made me look at the by-law. I suppose a judge might have frowned at the inappropriate and misleading definition, and the absence of signage and let me off.

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  3. Apparently a very effective revenue generator for the city.....bastiches.

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    1. Dom I had to look that one up. A gender neutral insult uniting fatherless sons and female dogs. Cool.

      I wonder: rhymes with 'switches' or 'weeshes'?

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    2. Find and watch the movie : Johnny Dangerously, and the expression will be explained David.

      Delete
  4. I was really impressed with Montreal's pay by smartphone system. Somebody definitely should get congratulations on that one.

    If Toronto put their tax rates up to be in line with the surrounding municipalities, such modernization as you suggest might be affordable. Maybe not. When the BIG Toronto was formed by amalgamation forced by the Province, there were supposed to be great economies. Pessimist that I am, I don't think any jobs were lost, more likely added. And, I wonder if systems were integrated with best use of modern technology. I not the only one who holds these opinions of course.

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    1. Ed Vancouver's got a good system too. Even the tiny town of Westmount has a good system.

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  5. By definition David, you were parked in a spot "not intended" for use. I'm surprised it took you twice to learn that one πŸ˜‰

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    1. You know the saying about old dogs. I think I've got it now. I hope.

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  6. Well someone has to pay for the infrastructure 😜

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    Replies
    1. You know Dar, if that's where Toronto directed the funds it would be a consolation.

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