Illegally parked cars on Queen will be towed to side streets to clear busy street faster

JOHN TORY TOW TRUCKS

Starting Monday, illegally parked vehicles along Queen St. will be towed to side streets and no-parking zones, in a new effort to clear the busy street faster, especially during rush hour. 

"We're going to stop making nice," Mayor John Tory said while announcing the six-week pilot project.

From Fallingbrook Drive to Roncesvalles Avenue, Tory says too much traffic is being stalled by drivers either pulling over where they shouldn't for a short amount of time, or parking and leaving altogether.

"Traffic is constantly held up," he said. "Those people inconvenience everybody else and they make it harder to get around the city."

The logic behind the idea is impound lots are often outside the core, with trucks constantly going back and forth to move cars out of the way. 

"Unfortunately, no towing company would have enough tow trucks to be able to get them down, tow the vehicles and do that in an efficient way," Traffic Services Supt. Scott Baptist said. 

Now cars will simply be moved to nearby side streets or no-parking zones, so tow trucks can return to Queen faster to move more vehicles. 

While the change will mean more cars will be towed, drivers won't have to travel all the way to a lot to retrieve it. 

Baptist said in 2018, around 12,000 no-stopping tickets were issued on Queen, while 6,000 vehicles were impounded.

"There were a number of vehicles that would have been towed would it not for the inefficiency of a historic system that needs to be re-examined," he said.

When asked how this could impact homeowners and residential parking since side streets will be used, Tory and Baptist said that will have to taken into consideration. 

"The towing contractors and the police and the parking enforcement officers will take care in how they do that," he said. "But the bottom line is that there are many of the side streets that have, immediately adjacent to Queen St. that don't start with residential right away.

Baptist said they've identified 56 locations along Queen where cars can be moved, but depending on the time of day, the less busy direction of the street will also be used.

"Queen is only a p.m. rush hour for stopping on one side of the street," he said. "So what we will be able to do is move the vehicles on the other side of the street, so that traffic moving out in the west and moving east, we'll be able to do that more efficiently." 

The cost of the pilot is $80,000.