toronto sidewalk ads

Annoying condo ads blocking sidewalks have a Toronto politician furious

Anyone who has walked the city in the last decade has almost certainly encountered those annoying A-frame advertisements for condos blocking sidewalks.

It turns out they're not just annoying; They're also illegal under the Toronto Municipal Code, at least when placed in a manner that impedes pedestrian movement, sightlines, and a laundry list of other requirements that are often not followed.

Ward 12 Toronto—St. Paul's councillor Josh Matlow has taken it upon himself to do something about the plague of A-frame ads.

The councillor snapped a photo of A-frame signs tucked behind a public garbage bin, with the caption, "If you're the one who left them on public space, I put them behind the garbage can for you to collect them."

Matlow tells blogTO that this is nothing new for him, saying, "this is far from the first time I've done this, I actually do this routinely. I don't always tweet about it, but I certainly do."

The councillor says that he pays special attention to "signs that have been left in the middle of the sidewalk, or in parks. It just, it just like boils my blood."

Matlow says that anyone encountering an A-frame sign blocking the sidewalk should take similar vigilante action, simply suggesting that if you see it, "ditch it!"

Matlow's decision to relocate the signs has some commenters overjoyed that someone is finally pushing back against these public space hogs that have forced pedestrians to shimmy past throughout the 21st-century condo boom.

One commenter suggests that Matlow should "put those signs back where you found them and concentrate on other issues," but others have come to the councillor's defence.

Signs like these are not permitted to block public spaces such as sidewalks, but some apparently needed an explanation as to why Matlow was moving property owned by developers and real estate companies.

Matlow tells blogTO that, though the sign placements are illegal, "the city's bylaw enforcement is inept when it comes to their ability and their capacity to be able to address this problem."

In a particularly satisfying exchange, one Twitterite demanded to see the specific law that forbids signs blocking sidewalks, only to be served with the exact section in the Toronto Municipal Code.

But A-frame condo ads aren't the only signs impeding pedestrian movement in Toronto, and one commenter wants Matlow to look into road construction signs and other blockages common to city streets.

Matlow confirms that "this definitely that shouldn't be happening, and it's not right that it's allowed to."

"There are instances I could show you where Toronto Hydro installs new polls that are like smack dab in the middle of the sidewalk, just completely obtuse to the fact that it's not just a place to put a pole but it's primarily where people are supposed to walk safely next to eight-lane streets."

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