Since 2005, motorcyclists in Toronto have enjoyed free parking. It was a move made by city hall almost ten years ago to encourage downtown commuters to take more traffic efficient means of transportation. In August 2014 alone the city approved 7,000 new condominium developments. Who knows how many condominiums have been built since 2005, and how much population and traffic density has increased since. In the second most congested city in Canada, every bit of space helps. Despite the apparent absurdity, city hall has decided that it will now start charging motorcyclists for traffic. With the election of a new mayor, this petition hopes to change that.
Let’s continue to reduce gridlock by encouraging alternatives to one-passenger cars.
Free motorcycle parking was an inspired idea when adopted by the city in 2005. It worked. Since then, motorcycle registrations rose from 13,488 to 21,380. More motorcycles suggest fewer cars will crowd our already congested roads.
Remove the incentive—free parking—to ride a motorcycle and that rider will likely opt for a car. Why? Because riding two wheels in the city is dangerous. Weather can make a ride unpleasant, uncomfortable, and unsafe. Plus, dressing safely for a ride is a pain: Leather jackets and pants make you sweat, clunky boots are clunky, and helmets make your hair look demented. By comparison, a car is a painless and mindless alternative.
In 2015, the city will begin a trial period for motorcycle-specific parking. But if you don’t work near the city-specified bike ghettos, it’ll just be another barrier to riding.
The city estimates it could generate $250,000 from charging motorcycles to park. But that assumes motorcycle riders will continue to behave as they have been, in the identical numbers. Increasing the incentive achieved the desired result of more bikes. What can we reasonably expect when the incentive is diminished?
Now, revenue for the city is good, no question. But at what cost? How might $250,000 address our escalating traffic problems? Will it build new roads? At current rates, $250,000 would build only about 100 metres of new roadway. And yet, as studies show, creating new roadways only encourages more drivers to take the road. It’s no solution for gridlock.
If you think it’s worth it to keep something that works, please sign the petition. Let’s continue to encourage smaller, and more efficient modes of transportation within our city. Free motorcycle parking in the city of Toronto means more room to move for everyone.
Please sign the petition right now.