Toronto drivers could soon have to pay hefty fines for this common mistake

Shortly after bumping up the fines for certain parking infractions and getting rid of free parking on stat holidays, the City of Toronto is now looking at fining drivers a whole lot more for at least one very common traffic offence.

According to a detailed plan for tackling congestion in the city over the next few years, one major issue on downtown streets is a violation called “blocking the box,” which Transportation Services really wants police to crack down on.

While non-drivers may not have heard of blocking the box, they’ve definitely seen it, as it happens so often during peak hours: motorists driving through an intersection when cars are backed up ahead of them, occluding pedestrian crossings and the intersecting street.

Staff have pointed out that a ticket for blocking the box is presently only $90 (or $120 in a community safety zone) and are asking for it to be raised to at least the same amount for running a red light ($260).

Ideally, they would like to see the fine increased to $450, or $500 in a community safety zone.

“Blockage of the Intersection not only creates a safety issue for vulnerable road users, but also has a negative impact, including congestion, on transit and other vehicles on the road,” a Congestion Management Plan Update from February 13 reads.

It also suggests adopting new technologies to try and automate this type of ticketing, much like red light cameras, which unfortunately cannot be upgraded to catch other types of violations.

Along with a potentially higher price tag for blocking the box, penalties for a slew of parking-related offences could also see increases in the near future per a separate motion from Transportation Services. Among these are parking too close to an intersection, in a bike lane or in a pedestrian crossover.


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