So I got to enjoy more of the incompetence of the city of Toronto and their inability to properly sign the streets.
I took my bike to class yesterday because I needed to go straight to work afterwards. My class was right off of Queens Circle in downtown Toronto. I parked my bike in the same place I’d been parking it the past couple weeks. On each end of the sidewalk there were signs that read “Paid parking enforced: 12:30-3:30, 6:30-9:30″ (those times are just estimates, I can’t remember exactly and there were some other times I believe, but these were the ones concerning me). So I figured what anyone would figure when they see that sign without any others up anywhere on the block: you have to pay for parking if you’re parking during those times otherwise there’s no charge.
When I got out of my class and turned the corner to the street where I parked my bike, the entire street was empty (of parked cars). A few thoughts went through my head, first I thought, I just didn’t remember exactly where I parked and I was actually one more block south, second that it had been towed, and third that the bike had gotten stolen. After freaking out a bit and walking the entire length of the street, checking every sign that was posted (and not seeing any no parking signs) I saw a group of people gathered around the parking meter where you pay to get your ticket. They had the same kind of looked that I imagined I had on at the moment and walked over and asked them if they had gotten towed and they answered that they figured they probably had. Then one of them leans over to the meter and points at a little label about 1/2″ by 2” in the middle of a column of about 3 or 4 other labels. These labels apparently had the parking regulations of the street on them, and underneath one that repeated the “pay parking enforced” sign up on the street was one with a little “p” with a cross through it that said no parking between 3:30 and 6:30 (the time during which I was parked.
The most ridiculous part about this whole situation is that motorcycles don’t have to pay for parking in Toronto, which means that there would be no circumstance under which I would be at the meter to have a chance to see the tiny, no parking label (which is clearly made as difficult to see as possible, which is why the other group ended up getting towed as well).
After work, I was able to call the towing company to make sure that they had my bike, which they did, and to get some more details. For just the first day, it was going to cost $180 to get my bike back, and every day after that an extra $48, and after 60 days… well the way the lady on the phone put it was “your bike won’t be here anymore.” On top of that, the place where people’s towed vehicles is kept is extremely out of the way and very difficult to get to if you don’t have your own mode of transportation… Also, the way I have to fight the ticket and the tow is to take it up with the police station that issued the ticket (which I get when I pick up my bike), and with them I set up a date to contest at a small claims court, the court date for which won’t be set for around 6 months, and probably won’t be for another 6 months after that.
So now I’m going to have to pay $240 to get my bike, and even if I fight it, I won’t see any money for at least around a year, without any compensation for all the time it’s going to take to figure this out. And this is all because the city of Toronto doesn’t know how to sign their streets, or at least sign them in a way that discriminates against motorcycles (which the city benefits from being driven in terms of congestion and pollution when compared to cars).