A Toronto Parking Ticket Wrong

I was out and about this week.  My jour­ney found me some­what “down­town” Toron­to.  This par­tic­u­lar inci­dent found me near Yonge and Shep­pard (in fact on a lit­tle street that runs north from Shep­pard par­al­lel to Yonge).  This is all a very busy area on a week­day and I under­stand, in gen­er­al, the need for the park­ing offi­cers to ply their trade.

Now I wasn’t wor­ried about park­ing at this par­tic­u­lar time — I had no inten­tion of park­ing.  But I did have an impor­tant phone call to answer.  One that would occu­py my thoughts and which could even require me mak­ing ref­er­ence to some notes on my lap­top. I have a hands-free set for use in the car and for most con­ver­sa­tions I feel that I’m like­ly more aware of the road while on a phone call than many oth­er­wise dis­tract­ed Toron­to dri­vers.  How­ev­er, I also know my lim­its and I decid­ed to pull over to give this call my full atten­tion.

I pulled over on this side street ahead of a line of parked cars.  I could have parked there, should I have need­ed to.  Park­ing was legal for that place and time of day with Toronto’s pay and dis­play one-meter-per-street sys­tem.  I was not, how­ev­er, park­ing.  I shut off the engine, I took my call.

While on the call, a park­ing offi­cer arrived and knocked on my win­dow.  He told me that I need­ed to buy a park­ing chit.  I informed him polite­ly that I was not park­ing, that I was on a phone call and that I’d appre­ci­ate no fur­ther inter­rup­tions.  He pro­ceed­ed to tick­et a few oth­er cars on the street (I am still aware enough of my sur­round­ings while on a call to keep tabs on him).

Rough­ly 10 min­utes lat­er he returns and tick­ets me for park­ing with­out dis­play­ing a receipt.  This is wrong for so many rea­sons.

  • As a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple, not park­ing is not park­ing.
  • As a mat­ter of pub­lic pol­i­cy, giv­ing tick­ets for stop­ping in this man­ner could encour­age peo­ple to idle around the block while they wait­ed for some­one.
  • As anoth­er mat­ter of pub­lic pol­i­cy, peo­ple who pull over to have a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion should be giv­en every encour­age­ment to do so if we are seri­ous about call­ing dri­vers out for their (lack of) atten­tion.

Of course I have already dis­put­ed the park­ing tick­et.  I have also lodged a com­plaint with the Toron­to Police Ser­vice.  I have also left these details with some folks at the CBC hop­ing that they might pick up the sto­ry.  Giv­ing me this tick­et was wrong-head­ed and I believe that it needs to be prop­er­ly cor­rect­ed.

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9 Responses to A Toronto Parking Ticket Wrong

  1. DaD says:

    I would think that park­ing would include leav­ing your car unoc­cu­pied. If you are still in your car, it’s not parked.

    I see this often as I wait for Mom at a gro­cery mega-plex. Peo­ple will *park* in the fire lane and run in, leav­ing the vehi­cle there unoc­cu­pied. Yet lit­tle if any­thing is ever done about this. If I am wait­ing, I pull in to the fire lane, but I will always (says he self-right­eous­ly) remain with the vehi­cle so if need­ed, I can move it instant­ly. If I decide to go in and find Mom, I will *park* in a reg­u­lar slot.

  2. DaD says:

    As I recall, Toron­to has lots of streets where signs are post­ed say­ing “no stop­ping”, the dis­tin­guish­ing fac­tor of which behav­iour is a motion­less car with a dri­ver still inside (pre­sum­ably wait­ing for a poten­tial pas­sen­ger to emerge from some­where). The next-up sign is “no stand­ing”, which pro­hibits even the above behav­iour. (This I sup­pose would encour­age block-cir­cling, or idling slow­ly.)

    • dgilbert says:

      And there’s cer­tain­ly need for those signs, but they did not apply to where I stopped. They are pos­si­bly overused and they do pos­si­bly encour­age some block-cir­cling, although I sup­pose you only have to cir­cle far enough to locate a place where stop­ping is per­mit­ted.… which is why not allow­ing a stopped occu­pied car in a “park­ing” zone is ludi­crous. If you exam­ine Toron­to, there are no unsigned road­sides from Bathurst over to War­den from the water­front to St. Clair. This is an awful­ly large region in which to for­bid or dis­cour­age a road­side stop.

  3. DaD says:

    I think you have a good case to beat that tick­et. Just get your­self a good def­i­n­i­tion and go from there.

    • dgilbert says:

      I think so too. I’ve beat­en plen­ty of tick­ets. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it’s most­ly due to the incom­pe­tence of the park­ing offi­cers than my own court­room argu­ments.

  4. DaD says:

    Per­ry Mason you’re not …

    • dgilbert says:

      Well… no, and good thing too. In fact, the “Per­ry Mason” moment is that which hap­pens in a Per­ry Mason dra­ma that could nev­er hap­pen with­in a court­room. Being syn­ony­mous with the impos­si­ble tac­tic is not desir­able.

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