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The following letter just went out to Mike Del Grande, Toronto's City Budget Chief, after the appearance of the following article in Tuesday's Toronto Sun: http://esr.cc/uhH53U. The story reported on De Grande's proposal to reinstate fees for motorcycle street parking, an idea whose time we thought had come and already gone away to die, once and for all.
As Editor-in-Chief of EatSleepRIDE.com, an online motorcycling news nexus and community catering to, and advocating for, motorcyclists of all type, I'd like to comment on your proposal to reintroduce parking fees for riders.
You were quoted in Tuesday's Sun (http://www.torontosun.com/2011/11/29/motorcycle-free-parking-faces-to-ban) regarding motorbikes and scooters as saying, "They burn gas just like everybody else. You take a parking spot, you pay what you pay for cars."
Indeed both do burn fuel, albeit a lot less for scooters and motorbikes, and as for taking a parking spot, we can fit 5-7 bikes in the space of one car spot. Our bikes also take up much less space while driving on the road, and damage that road far less than a car or truck does. And the inherent nimbleness of a bike makes travel faster and less frustrating than going by car. As well, a new generation of long-range, highway-capable electric motorcycles are poised to hit the market next year, and they neither burn gas nor make a sound. We expect them to become a common sight on our streets.
There's also the problem of placing the parking coupons. What's to stop someone stealing one off a bike? What happens when it rains, the coupon paper dissolves and we have no way to prove we paid for parking if we get ticketed?
It just seems counterproductive that a city struggling with ever-growing gridlock would want to add a disincentive to those of us who ride two-wheeled motorized transport. When you think about it, motorcycles are a key part of the gridlock solution, and one that the city and province would be wise to support and encourage, as opposed to cars, as transport. Cities all over the world are realizing this and acting accordingly.
And let's face it: The TTC's a disaster -- an overloaded, unpleasant and unreliable mode of transit, with no fixes in sight. Condos keep going up all over the core. The roads aren't being expanded, because there's nowhere to expand them. What else is there available to reduce road clutter other than encouraging people to walk or ride -- whether bicycles, motorbikes or scooters?
There's much more to the story of how motorcycles can help this city, and I invite you to read our recently completed Manifesto here: http://eatsleepride.com/c/4418/We+the+Motorcycles+Are+Here+to+Save+Toronto.
Hoping you'll consider these points and change your mind on parking fees for bikes.
All the best,
_More of me here: http://EatSleepRIDE.com/rider/champers