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Extra, Extra: Too Many Parking Tickets, Too Little Money, and Too Few Municipalities

Every weekday’s end, Extra, Extra collects just about everything you ought to care about or ought not miss.

Photo by {a href=""}mtlicq{/a}, from the {a href=""}Torontoist Flickr Pool{/a}.

  • Toronto’s most prolific parking enforcement officer is too busy issuing parking tickets to even talk to a reporter about how many parking tickets he issues.
  • This is the least boring description of the way the City eliminates a budget shortfall ever written, probably. And there are charts, to boot.
  • Former Mayor John Sewell wrote, in today’s Globe, that Toronto should consider de-amalgamating in order to spare itself the political consequences of a cultural divide between downtown and the suburbs, Exhibit A of which being Rob Ford. Meanwhile, over at Spacing, urban planner Ken Greenberg makes the opposite point.
  • And over at the Post, a lawyer argues that the mandatory-minimum penalty that forced a judge to boot Rob Ford from office over $3,150 is totally reasonable. His argument is surprisingly convincing.

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  • Anonymous

    The suburban builtform is different and less appealing that that of the core, but nothing that time, improved public transit and a bit of creative rezoning couldn’t fix.

    • Anonymous

      You’d be talking somewhere around 100-200 years to make and significant urbanification of the existing suburbs. Even the lay out of most of the streets in the suburbs do not support urban forms where retail is within walking distance of residential along a major street with a higher order of transit. It would require an enlightened developer to buy up every bit of property in a suburban neighbourhood, tear it all down and start over to achieve an urban form in such areas that would support transit and local retail. The city’s “boulevard” plans are about the best realistic option for adding some urban form to limited areas of the suburbs. Or the city could expropriate a whole bunch of housing and re-build the street layout in certain ares that would help develop suburban areas into more urban ones.

      There is a reason people are flocking to urban areas, life is whole lot more convenient and easier when you have easy access to reasonable transit and you can walk to a retail street to do your shopping in several small stores instead of battling traffic to get to some big box stores or a mall. Small retail spaces allow for small businesses to flourish and bring retail diversity to an area. I live in south Etobicoke, a suburb but its one of the urban parts of Etobicoke having been laid out before cities were built around cars under the false belief that gas would always be cheap and everyone could afford or would want a car. Its about a two minute walk to the shopping strip in my area, to do my grocery shopping I often have to go to 3-5 different stores but because they;re smaller I’m in and and out in very little time, because they’re mostly owner operated customer service is excellent, overall I can get all of my shopping done in several small stores in about half the time it takes when I got to one large store without the hassles of traffic and long lines at the cash registers. Plus I live at the intersection of two major 24 hour transit lines, no not subways but a major bus line, Islington south and the Queen/Lake Shore streetcar line. From here its very easy for me to get where ever I’m going, assuming that its also on a major transit line. In more suburban parts of Etobicoke this is all impossible, the most comparable areas would be near malls where a pedestrian would have to cross massive expanses of parking lots to access the stores and malls do not support small owner operated retail due to higher rents, higher order transit is also impossible due to the dominance of single family homes on large lots.

      Single family homes can still be found in more urban areas but the on smaller lots so that the density of the area is higher than in a typical post war suburb and quite often medium density residential is mixed in amongst the single family homes, something that is illegal in the suburban residential areas alongside Sheppard in Scarborough which greatly contributes to the lack of density in such areas for higher order transit such as subways and where LRTs are far more than what is required to meet the need. A thin strip of high density along a road will never be enough to support higher order transit. Just look at the massive opposition to medium density residential along Ossington and Queen east which are urban areas, what chance do you think anything other than detached single family homes on large lots will have in the suburbs proper even if it weren’t illegal to build it there?

      Its going to take a drastic crisis for any significant change to happen to the suburban form and that’s why urban ares will continue to grow in density stretching the ability of local resources to handle it all. Ideally Toronto should have medium density throughout the city instead of extreme high density areas and extreme low density areas. Spread out medium density supports local economies, small businesses, higher order transit and less pollution. But its going to be next to impossible to make happen.

      • Anonymous

        I’m not clear on how street patterns matter when you can tear down, rezone, and stick denser residential and mixed retail in the space where sprawling suburban homes were previously. If it’s all about walkable neighbourhoods and transit, it doesn’t matter if your 3 storey walk-up is on a meandering cul-de-sac-tipped suburban-style street or on a downtown grid.

        • John Duncan

          Gotta disagree with you on this t_rek.

          Tearing down, rezoning and rebuilding is not an easy or quick task–look at the opposition on Ossington to a single street-scaled, mixed use building. Politically, completely redoing large inhabited tracts of the City is a non-starter. The only places it happens are on TCHC properties where the immediate need for rebuilding is apparent, and the residents are basically told they have no choice.

          And a meandering cul-de-sac is longer than people like to walk, doesn’t have enough connections, and really can’t contain enough people to support the on-street businesses that make for a really pleasing walkable environment. For more details, give Jan Gehl’s “Life Between Buildings” a read–it’s a highly readable and very well-researched investigation into how humans perceive and interact with different environments.

  • OgtheDim

    While John Sewell continues to fight the battles of the 90′s, the rest of us will get on with listening to people from ALL over the city and building a great one. (He needs to sit in a restaurant on Finch East or Albion Road and listen to the neighbours)

    • Testu

      14 years and counting. I’m sure one of these day we’ll manage to start on that.

      • Anonymous

        Barely half a generation has passed since amalgamation and you expect Baby Boomers to get with the times?

  • Anonymous

    That parking enforcement officer is a hero. Those guys should make commission.

  • Hypower

    Good for him, I wish all City employees worked so hard. He deserves the money he makes!