Tow-ronto: City launches six-week towing blitz

The City of Toronto is launching a six-week towing blitz in the downtown core, aimed at vehicles illegally blocking lanes during rush hours.

Toronto mayor John Tory announced on Oct. 4 that the city will be launching a towing pilot project that aims to remove illegally parked vehicles from Queen Street. The project began Oct. 7 and will continue for the next six to eight weeks.

Tow trucks will patrol a 13-kilometre stretch, removing illegally parked vehicles between the Fallingbrook Road and Queen Street East intersection through Roncesvalles Avenue and Queen Street West. The city has dedicated about $80,000 for the project which, if successful, may become a permanent practice.

Similar projects have launched in the past, but Tory said this project is different as vehicles will be towed to spots on nearby sidestreets rather than an impound lot. That way, trucks will have more time to get back onto Queen Street to continue towing. While the towing fee will be waived for Toronto’s offenders, they will be issued a $150 no-stopping ticket.

“I think everybody in the city has felt the frustration of sitting behind a vehicle with its flashers on,” said Tory. “Traffic congestion that is caused by illegally parked vehicles is dangerous and frustrating.”

In 2018, officials said that nearly 11,000 no-stopping tickets were issued on Queen Street during rush hours and 2,400 vehicles were towed. Tory said the city is targeting Queen Street based on its public transit accessibility; illegally parked cars and trucks are hindering public transit vehicles from completing routes in a timely manner.

The city has installed Bluetooth software on the street to measure traffic flow, aimed to determine the efficiency of the pilot project.

If someone suspects their vehicle has been towed, they are advised to call the Toronto police non-emergency line, where they will be told where their vehicle is.

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