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Councillor proposes $500 fine for blocking rush-hour traffic

Coun. Josh Matlow is proposing a $500 fine for drivers who block Toronto roads during rush-hour traffic, saying the current fines aren’t enough.

The north Toronto councillor told CityNews.ca that he’s frustrated by selfish drivers blocking the curb lanes so they can grab a morning coffee.

“That happens all the time – every rush hour,” he said. “They don’t seem to care about anybody else.”

He said he has noticed it’s particularly bad at the intersections where Yonge Street meets Mt. Pleasant Road and St. Clair Avenue, as well as the Forest Hill Village area.

However, delivery vehicles and mail trucks are also often parked in the curb lanes – and some drivers can get multiple tickets a day. The money to pay for those tickets would have to be found somewhere and for an agency like Canada Post, that cash could come from taxpayers.

“Canada Post is mandated to deliver the mail and to do an efficient job. If our expense is incurred as a result of a change to the law, we’re going to have to see how we can defer costs or increase revenues,” spokesperson Eugene Knapik told CityNews.

When asked how City Hall could cope with that problem, Matlow seemed to back down from his initial call for large fines.

“We should consider feedback from companies like FedEx and Canada Post…I’ve always felt that no one rule fits everyone,” Matlow said.

As for drivers, Matlow is hoping that the large fine will act as a deterrent. He doesn’t believe the current fine of $40 to $60 for stopping in a rush-hour zone or blocking a bike lane is enough.

“It obviously isn’t enough because it’s not working,” he said.

That’s why he is also proposing that the city put more enforcement officers on the streets to tag cars.

He declined to offer a figure, adding that it would be something for city staff to provide if the matter goes to the public works committee.

The motion, which has the support of Coun. Mike Layton, will be considered at a city council meeting on Sept. 21.