Josh Matlow wants a $500 fine for drivers who park in the curb lane—but will that ever get past city council?

Josh Matlow wants a $500 fine for drivers who park in the curb lane—but will that ever get past city council?

Josh Matlow wants to make curb-parkers pay, big time (Image: Toronto.ca) 

Look out, road hogs—Josh Matlow is coming after you. The rookie councillor is set to put a motion before city council next month that would increase the fine for drivers who take up a lane (including a, gasp, bike lane) of a major road during the morning or afternoon rush hour. The current fine, which is rarely if ever levied, is $40 to $60, and Matlow wants to pump that number up to a whopping $500. So he’s not inventing a new crime, only punishing one much more severely. But, of course, the rub is that the current city council hasn’t exactly shown an appetite for punishing motorists.And we’re not just talking about bike lanes and vehicle registration taxes. Last June, city staff recommended that the city attempt to discourage illegal parkers gaming the system with court appearances by imposing new charges—something that Rob Ford effectively vetoed and that was later killed by deferral at committee. With that in mind, we felt compelled to ask Matlow if he’d run his latest idea through the mayor’s office.

“No, not at all—or perhaps more importantly, not past [Ford policy head] Mark Towhey,” Matlow said when we reached him this morning. And what about the prospect of getting a council leery of angering motorists to pass this kind of motion? “I hope it’s judged on the merit of the issue at hand, not a partisan motorist-cyclist issue.”

Because the issue affects all motorists, cyclists and transit users, Matlow and co-sponsor Mike Layton are optimistic that their motion won’t be lost to the infighting at city hall over whether cars own the road outright. Said Matlow: “This isn’t about motorists or cyclists, it’s about selfish individuals. The current fines don’t send the message.” Colour us pessimistic, but we’ll believe the city is ready to crack down on this stuff when we see it.

$500 fine proposed for ‘road hogs’ who park in curb lane [Toronto Star]
• Let’s throw the book at curb-lane hogs [Globe and Mail]
Fines for rush hour drivers who block curb lanes? [CP24]
Councillor proposes $500 fine for blocking rush-hour traffic [City News]