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After the recent furore over motorcycle parking in Toronto, I took the somewhat drastic step of registering to be a lobbyist and meeting with my local councillor, Miike Layton
While the picutre is horrible (never ask a security guard to take pictures) the outcome was very positive indeed.
Despite the -4C temperature, I rode to the meeting. It's not far and I was quickly able to demonstrate my first point, whcih is that even though we get free parking, we can often avail ourselves of the massive gaps that poor parking by car drivers leave. Backed into a four foot wide space, Mike saw that there was no other way this space could be utilized. He also came to appreciate just how little space is required to park a bike.
Councillor Layton is a very reasonable man and quickly came to realize that if parking needed to be charged for, it would have to be equitable. To him, this means two things: Paying proportial to vehicle size and making it accessible - it was a surprise to the councillor that motorcycles are usually "banned" from any parking lot with a barrier. Sadly, this includes city hall, which implies none of our elected officials ride - no wonder they didn't get it before.
The real clincher however is the simple truth that Toronto's parking infrastructure relies on paper tickets that can easily be removed by unscrupulous car drivers, rowdy kids or even a passing strong wind.
As such, the likely outcome of this measure would be a return to the old days of every motorcycle parking ticket being challenged in court, with the only fair way of preventing that being the replacement of every parking meter in the city.
We covered a number other issues, such as the environmental impact to the social benefit to the city of encouraging smaller vehicle use, as well as the fact the province is promoting motorcycle tourism quite heavily, but these were all secondary.
It's clear that Councillor Layton "got it". He's confident that the motion will be rejected when it's reported on this coming February but has encouraged us to lodge formal opposition by writing up the arguments and volunteering to speak at the deposition when the findings are announced.
For now, the issue has not gone away, but it seems we're one councillor closer to seeing sense.
Many thanks to Allan Johnson for many of the talking points and the excellent preparation he gave me.