Allowing trucks on sidewalks a bad call
It looks like better judgment could have been used by all parties involved in allowing trucks to park on a busy downtown sidewalk. Our Monday column was about construction trucks we found parked on the sidewalk on the south side of Charles St., just east of Yonge St., which is usually good for a $100 ticket.
Worse, one of the trucks was parked next to a fire hydrant — there’s another $100 ticket — which prevented a guy we saw in a wheelchair from squeezing between the two obstacles.
Our outrage-o-meter went off when we asked a parking enforcement cop to ticket the vehicles, who told us he couldn’t because a paid-duty officer had given permission for them to park on the sidewalk.
It was a big surprise to us that the paid-duty officer directing traffic around a small paving job just down the street had authority to allow trucks to park on a sidewalk, where they interfered with pedestrian movement.
So we went looking for clarification on the rules. It turns out the paid-duty cop indeed has the legal right to allow it, but there’s widespread agreement that it wasn’t a good call.
Toronto police spokesman Victor Kwong looked into it and emailed to say “the role of a paid duty officer is to ensure the safe flow of traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian during construction.
“They are given the power to overrule laws and bylaws. Prime example would be an officer on point duty stopping traffic, or conversely, waiving someone through a red to clear the intersection.
“This of course, has to be done within reason. For example, the officer cannot allow the construction crew to park there” when the job is a block away.
“However, the officer and driver did not consider that a wheelchair did not (I’m assuming it didn’t) fit. If this is the case, this would have been our/ the driver’s error.”
Ross Carnovale, a senior road operations official, said the contractor, who was working for the city, “should definitely not be parked on the sidewalk . . . unless it’s an emergency situation.”
Carnovale, and Steve Johnston, who deals with media for transportation services, both said the contractor has since been warned not to do it again.
George Johnstone, a supervisor with Toronto police parking enforcement, said he also thought the paid-duty cop had authority to allow it, which is why the parking enforcement officer chose not to ticket the trucks.
But Johnstone conceded that the photo showing a guy in a wheelchair trying to get between the truck and the hydrant “raises concerns” about why it was allowed.
There’s plenty of blame to go around, but hopefully it won’t happen again. What’s broken in your neighbourhood? Wherever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. To contact us, go to thestar.com/yourtoronto/the_fixer, call us at 416-869-4823 or email email@example.com. To read our blog, go to thestar.com/news/the_fixer. Report problems and follow us on Twitter @TOStarFixer.