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Disabled parking/loading signage: The problem
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Hi Michael --here's David's letter, below, with the photos. I've cc'd him so that you can respond to him directly. I'm hoping Transportation (Andy Koropeski?) can help here. Thanks!
Here is my letter again, with the accompanying photos. You can see that the pavement and the curb are both unmarked (for comparison, note the large disabled-parking markings at the City Hall underground parking lot), and the pavement markings in many shopping centre parking lots. There is a tree obscuring the disabled-parking sign, and the "Safe Haven" sign gives no clue that its clients use wheelchairs. It would be helpful if Councillor Bailao could arrange for the City to rectify this situation throughout Ward 18. Please let me know if this is possible.
Click to enlarge.
Can we do something about this?
As you will see from my uncropped photos, the disabled loading zone is clearly visible. Furthermore, the signs were installed March 10, 2008. As we do not install pavement markings to supplement on-street accessible loading zones, no further action will be taken.
As per my discussion with Jutta, please find below the reply from Transportation Services regarding the insufficiently marked disabled parking.
Please let me know if there is anything else you would like me to do.
Let's look into this a little more thoroughly. Could you forward the following three questions to Mr.Gowling:
1. Since the response here was such a clear, "no, we do not install pavement markings," could Mr.Gowling e-mail us the existing internal city policy/procedure/guideline documents referring to disabled parking signage/ markings on city property?
2. since the signage has been up since 2008, and Mr.Gowling feels that David had to "crop" the photos to make the signage seem problematic, could he send us the tally of how many tickets have been issued for this location? This will help to determine whether others have also missed it.
3. It would also be helpful to know where the ticket revenue goes -- if it goes to the city, there may be a conflict of interest when clarity of signage is decided.
Please let me know if any of these questions should go through 311 or FOI instead of being direct.
Let me look into this. I will follow up with you soon.
I'm guessing that Mr.Gowling never got you the information below. Do you feel like giving their office a call to check? If they still don't have the information, it's time to go through FOI. I'll just wait for a couple of days to hear from you -- thanks
Please be advised that after months of trying to get the information you requested from Parking Enforcement, I was told that I could probably get my answers from Parking Tag Operations.
Please refer to Anthony Fabrizi's email below regarding the possibility of getting a tally of how many parking infractions have been issued at a specific location and where ticket revenue goes.
Please also find attached 2 other emails (below), one from Parking Enforcement advising me to try and get the above information from Parking Tag Operations, and another from Jeremy Gowling explaining that the City does not use pavement markings for disabled parking spots.
Trusting this information is sufficient.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
From: Michael Vieira
To: Anthony Fabrizi <email@example.com>
Sent: 09/14/2011 5:26:18 PM
Subject: PIN information
I was wondering if you would be able to provide the total amount of PINs issued at a specific location for a specific period of time.
Also, would you happen to know where the revenue from PIN fees are directed once collected by Parking Tag Operations?
Any information you can provide would be helpful. This matter is quite urgent.
From: Anthony Fabrizi
Date: 14/09/2011 5:33 pm
We don't have the ability to provide accurate information on a specific location. The reason for the inaccuracy is due to the manner in which the location descriptor is captured on the ticket(s). So, for example if someone wanted to find out how many tickets were issued in front of 10 Dovercourt in the month of January, we could run 10 Dovercourt and a few might appear, however any tag that used "near", "opposite" or "adjacent" to the address wouldn't be captured. Similarly, because officers use the street suffix in different manners (ie: "street", "st", "ste"), these tags would also not be captured.
As for parking tag revenues, all net fine revenue goes into the City's general accounts and is distributed as instructed by Council at budget time.
Hope this helps.
From: Michael Vieira
To: Jeremy Gowling
Transportation Technologist Traffic Operations(416) 338-5402
Date: 30/05/2011 11:29 am
The resident that was issued a PIN for parking in a disabled loading zone on Bloor Street West has three questions for staff. I hope you can help.
Regarding the installation of pavement markings, could you forward the existing internal city policy/procedure/guideline documents referring to disabled parking signage/ markings on city property?
Would it be possible to provide a tally of how many tickets have been issued for the location in question?
Where does the revenue from these PINs go?
With regards to the parking infraction on Bloor St W, please see the attached excerpt from the Ontario Traffic Manual. Any information related to the number of tickets issued will have to be requested from the Toronto Police Service.
I trust this will help,
From: Michael Vieira [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
To: George ROUSSOS #65479, Area Supervisor, 12 Division / 14 Division, Toronto Police Service, Parking Enforcement West
Sent: Tuesday September 13, 2011 15:48
To: George Roussos\ Subject: urgent!
Can you forward me the contact of someone our office can deal with regarding those PIN stats...?
Can we please try and avoid FOI...?
From: George Roussos
Sent: September 14, 2011 To: Michael Vieira
I have been advised that we do not keep records for the specific information that you have requested.
Please contact Parking Tag Operations (PTO). They may be able to provide you with=the information that you are requesting. Be advised that PTO may also request that a FOI request be submitted.
I apologize for my delayed response but I was waiting for this information.
The Regulatory Signs document says "Disabled Parking control exemption signs may be augmented but not replaced by pavement markings." It does not say that the City doesn't use pavement markings (note, for example, that the City Hall parking lot uses HUGE disabled permit markings). Unusual (counter-intuitive) locations should have pavement or curb markings. I note that the disabled space is in front of "Safehaven" and the "Music Therapy Institute," neither of which gives any obvious sign of being a wheelchair location.
Could Anna request such markings for the location we're discussing?
It's important to find out whether a counter-intuitive or partly obscured disabled sign may have become a cash cow for the Parking tags section. Not marking a frequently-ticketed site more clearly (once it's identified) could then be a possible conflict of interest for both the Parking Tags Section and the City. David has sent in an FOI request to the Toronto Police Service, re the total number of tickets issued for 1173 and 1175 Bloor St. West, also the same address spelled "Street" and "Ste." for 2008, 2009, and 2010. We'll let your office know the answer when it arrives.
As discussed, Councillor Bailão has sent a letter to Andy Koropeski requesting Transportation Services look into installing pavement markings on the accessible parking spot Mr. Cayley received a parking infraction notice in May.
For your reference, I have attached a scanned copy of this letter.
Trusting this information is sufficient.
David recently got back a complete response from Freedom of Information about the wheelchair parking spot in front of Safehaven on Bloor Street.
Between 2008 and 2010, 345 people, parking in the restricted spot, have been fined $124,650 at 1173 Bloor Street and $30,600 at 1175 Bloor Street. So the total income from fines at that one accessible parking spot over three years was $155,250. Another interesting number is that in 2010, four times as many people were fined for illegal parking at that location as in 2008. I wonder if the tickets multiplied again from 2011.
I have a few follow up questions:
1. has Ana received an answer to her letter to Andy Koropeski? (I've attached it again here) 2. If Transportation hasn't replied yet, or if they said they're not interested, would Ana be willing to follow up with a very specific request for the City to put in a yellow curb marking and the wheelchair marking on the pavement (identical to the pavement marking the City uses in their underground parking at City Hall), as an experiment, to see by how much that reduces the number of tickets?
I know that the City needs cash, but if the rich income from wheelchair-parking fines is mainly achieved by giving drivers insufficiently clear signage, that will need to be fixed.
I'll call you to follow up -- thanks.
CC: Ana Bailao <email@example.com>
Has a request gone out from the Councillor to try pavement markings at this location? And did the Councillor get a reply to her other letter?
To: Michael Vieira <firstname.lastname@example.org>
CC: David Cayley <David_Cayley@CBC.CA>
Hi again Michael -- I forgot to tell you that we also put in a follow-up FOI request about disabled parking spaces, asking
1. the number of disabled parking spaces on arterial roads in Toronto, and their addresses
2. the locations where disabled parking spaces on arterial roads are marked by pavement markings (number of locations and addresses of the locations)
3. the total income received by the City of Toronto from disabled parking spaces fines in each of 2008, 2009, and 2010.
This will help to provide more context for the issue.
We met with Andy Koropeski last Thursday and requested the pavement markings for the disable parking space on Bloor Street. Andy will look into the matter and get back to us shortly.
I will keep you in the loop.
Ana's letter that was never answered -- was that to Andy Koropeski as well?
I anticipate a response from Andy Koropeski regarding the installation of pavement markings. I have a feeling he will have the markings installed. He mentioned that in the past markings used to be installed, so I don't see why he won't be able to do this.
I will keep on following up with him to make sure the markings are installed.
The single-parking-space request (2011-002147) about the disabled space near Bloor and Dufferin says that in 2008, 2009, 2010 a total of 345 tickets was issued for that spot. I multiplied that number by $450 to get $155,250. see attachment
The $3,964,686.42 number for total fines related to all disabled parking spaces for 2008, 2009, 2010 is here.
The locations of disabled parking spots on arterial roads only is here: AG 2011-01810.
By conservative estimate, I'll bet that over 90% of those citywide tickets were issued to people who parked mistakenly, unaware of the signs. If you like, I can also forward my correspondence with Transportation through the city councillor's office. It shows delays in responding, misdirection for information, and no urgent interest in addressing the problem.
Still no word about the disabled parking markings.
Here are two other instances of city markings:
If there's no word by the end of this week, it may be time to go to the ombudsman, what do you think? Or should David first write a registered letter to Transportation, repeating the request to try pavement markings at Bloor and Brock as a pilot?
Quick note. Yesterday (Thursday, February 9, 2012) around noon I bumped into Andy Koropeski. I asked him about his response/decision regarding the 'pilot' pavement markings for the 1173-1175 Bloor Street West, and he advised me that it was forthcoming.
I anticipate receiving something from him by early to mid next week. I will pass it on to you as soon as I receive it.
Thanks Michael. I believe that Andy said "a couple of days" a month ago. I'm sure this kind of thing tends to get bumped, since there are so many other issues. But if I'm right and many people are dinged inadvertently because of inadequate signage, then at that one space, since David and I first brought it to Ana's attention, Torontonians may have been charged at least another $50,000 in unfair fines.
So let's see whether the "pilot study" pavement markings, with a standard blue background (see below), can be ordered by mid-week, with a firm, early installation date. If not, I think this would be a good matter to bring to the attention of the ombudsman. I'll get in touch on Thursday, to check.