New parking rules unveiled Tuesday are aimed at curbing traffic congestion and are meant to be punitive.

“You’re being punished for parking during rush hour, and inconveniencing many, many people, costing money and keeping people away from their families who want to get home at night or people who are rushing to get to work,” Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong said during a news conference at city hall on Tuesday.

“Absolutely you’re getting punished.”

Minnan-Wong, who chairs the city’s public works committee, said the key elements of the program include:

  • increased fines for unlawful stopping, standing and parking on rush hour roads;
  • implementation of a fixed fine system for parking offences;
  • towing habitual parking offenders when found parked illegally;
  • increased ticketing for displaying expired licence plate validation stickers.

Minnan-Wong said that a $150 fine, which is up from $60, will apply for standing, stopping or parking illegally on rush-hour roads between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. and between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The fixed fine system is intended to help streamline the court system since the fine payable for a ticket will now be the same amount that appears on the face of the ticket.

Under the habitual offender towing initiative (HOTI), illegally parked vehicles will be towed immediately if the offender has three or more unpaid parking tickets and 120 days has passed since the last offence. Click here for a map of towing yards where towed cars end up.

The penalties for having a vehicle towed include a towing fee of $200 and daily storage of $80, he added.

Minnan-Wong was asked whether the new rules unfairly target couriers, and his response was the city is being indiscriminate.

“We’re not targeting any one group specifically. We’re focusing anything on four wheels that is adding to congestion and gridlock.”

But he didn’t end the discussion without taking a swipe at the industry:

“There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing a courier truck in the downtown core during the middle of rush hour, getting out and parking as long as he likes and not giving a damn. That has got to end.”

He said the city is creating 13 zones in the downtown core where couriers can pick up and drop off their packages.

The new rules go into effect 12:01 a.m. on Thursday. But the HOTI won’t begin until Feb. 5.

For more on the new rules, click here.

On Monday, Mayor Rob Ford said he didn’t even know the rules were approved and criticized them for being a cash grab.

But Minnan-Wong said Tuesday he believes the mayor had supported both the congestion management plan and downtown operations study.

“And he’s decided to find a door and exit, and so he doesn’t want to be part of an important piece to do with congestion and gridlock. That’s his decision. I think it’s the wrong decision.”

 Do you think the new rules will curb traffic congestion? Share your thoughts in the comments.