Toronto is spending $80K to offset the cost of towing blitz on Queen Street

Oct 9 2019, 8:26 am

Earlier this week, the City of Toronto launched its Queen Street Towing Pilot that’s intended to curb traffic delays.

The pilot, which began on October 7, will run six to eight weeks during the afternoon rush hour and will take place between Fallingbrook Road (to the east) and Roncesvalles Avenue (to the west).

According to the city, tow trucks will relocate vehicles that are illegally parked along Queen Street to designated side streets, which include Cameron Street, Ryerson Avenue, Michael Sweet Avenue, and Stephanie Street.

These vehicles will be moved to other no parking/open locations.

When the city released the initial information, it said that drivers of vehicles that are relocated/towed from Queen Street during the pilot period will receive a parking violation notice, but the towing fee will be waived.

According to City of Toronto’s Eric Holmes, the budget for the pilot is $80,000, and that is being used to offset the costs of towing/relocating vehicles to nearby streets, ” which supports the pilot effectiveness and ensures the necessary data will be collected to evaluate its success.”

Towing map/ City of Toronto

Holmes confirmed that the budget is only for the pilot period.

If the project is made permanent on Queen Street, drivers will be paying both the parking/stopping violation, as well as the towing fee.

Additionally, if the pilot is successful, the city says staff and police would explore opportunities to run this program during morning and afternoon rush hour periods on other routes.

Toronto police said that last year on Queen Street, about 12,000 vehicles stopped illegally were issued tickets and nearly 6,000 vehicles towed and impounded.

Police also said that many more vehicles would have been towed had it not being for the lengthy period it takes for tow trucks to show up and move vehicles to a police pound.

“What we anticipate is that this will be a far more efficient system in terms of moving vehicles that are blocking traffic,” said Supt. Scott Baptist of Traffic Services.

“We anticipate seeing improved transit times and, for the streetcars going across Queen St., we anticipate seeing more efficient movement of vehicles and other traffic.”

While it may improve traffic, residents are expressing concerns as to why the city is paying the towing fees.

“I don’t agree with city taxpayers footing the bill for towing illegally parked cars to ‘a side street.’ Law breakers should be paying for the tow and a fine for breaking the law,” said a resident in a tweet. “Hope you adjust that part, and make this program permanent. Law abiding taxpayers shouldn’t be paying.”