queen street pilot project

Toronto announces new pilot project to get traffic moving on Queen Street

Starting next week, dozens of tow trucks will be patrolling one of Toronto's busiest east-west thoroughfares looking for anyone who may have dared to park a vehicle next to the curb during rush hour.

Offending cars will be towed immediately, without hesitation, and slapped with $150 tickets.

It's no King Street Transit Pilot, but the Queen Street Towing Pilot promises to, at the very least, punish all jerks who illegally stop on the road during peak traffic times.

"Traffic congestion caused by illegally stopped vehicles can be dangerous and frustrating for everyone," reads a page on the City of Toronto's website dedicated to the pilot, which was announced on Friday morning.

"Relocating/towing illegally stopped vehicles keeps traffic moving, including transit vehicles, maintains emergency vehicle access and helps make roads safer for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians safe."

So, in an effort to both clear up congestion on Queen — where almost 11,000 parking/stopping violations were issued in 2018 alone — and study the effects of a strict, immediate towing blitz, the city will be doing just that for the next six to eight weeks during the afternoon rush hour.

While cars have long been towed for parking where they shouldn't in Toronto, this data-driven pilot project is novel in that vehicles will only be moved a short distance, to a designated side street, instead of to a far-off police impound lot.

This will allow tow truck drivers to eliminate more vehicles from the road, much more quickly.

"Police pounds are located outside of the downtown area, requiring up to 90 minutes for a tow truck to move one illegally parked vehicle and then return for others," reads a press release explaining the project.

"It's expected that this pilot will result in shorter tow truck response times and contribute to fewer delays along Queen Street."

The pilot is set to begin on October 7 and will involve the entire length of Queen Street, from Roncesvalles Avenue in the west to Fallingbrook Road in the east.

If successful, Toronto police and city staffers will consider extending the program to morning and afternoon rush hour periods on other streets throughout the city.

"Taking a data driven approach for this pilot is so important," said Mayor John Tory during a press conference announcing the pilot this morning.

"That's why we will work with our big data and traffic management teams to make sure that we are able to understand and know the effectiveness of the pilot," he said.

"I look forward to seeing the results of the Queen St Towing Pilot."

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