Zero tolerance for parked vehicles blocking major routes

Mayor John Tory has released a six-point plan for battling gridlock – a plan that will see an increase in enforcement of traffic violations, tougher rules for road closures for private projects and more traffic cameras, coming online within a month.

“I don’t want people to think we’re not going to have traffic in a big city but they are going to see differences in enforcement and efforts to improve technology as fast as possible,” said Tory in a Thursday, Dec. 4, morning news conference at the city’s traffic control centre in Don Mills.

The traffic management plan is the fulfillment of a promise Tory made shortly after being elected — that he would offer tangible improvement to Toronto’s traffic congestion problems.

“Traffic is strangling the city and people are fed up with it,” said Tory, pointing out that congestion is costing business in productivity.

“It’s more than just a dollar sign. There are people telling me about the impact it’s having on their family life. People are saying quite simply, ‘I’ve had enough.'”

Tory laid out a six point plan.

First, he said, following a one-month education period, he would implement, along with Toronto Police Services, “zero tolerance for cars and trucks blocking traffic on major routes. Park in those places after the education period and you will be towed. If I have to chip and drive a truck myself, they will be towed.”

Tory said that would include commercial vehicles parking outside businesses.

“Far too often we see commercial vehicles with a dozen or more tickets hanging off windshield wipers,” he said. “There are people gaming the system and this has to stop.”

Tory said he has arranged to personally chair the committee managing road closures. He said that the city needs to coordinate closures during major events.

“It is not acceptable to me to have the Gardiner closed the same day there are Leafs games and Jays games and someone also decided to close the subway for track repairs,” said Tory. “It’s insensitive.”

Tory also promised to increase the number of traffic cameras and create partnerships with local media with traffic aircraft so that the city can attach a camera to those vehicles as well.

Tory said he will also accelerate smart traffic signal control installation, increasing the number of smart signals installed in 2015 from 250 to 350.

Tory said he will also impose higher fees for road closures for private construction, and look at paying a premium on publicly-funded projects to make sure they’re finished more quickly.

“When I ask to people, would you be content to see your city government pay more to get these projects done fast, people nodded their heads. ‘Where do I sign up?'” said Tory. “Well we’re going to sign up for this now.”