Drivers beware: Parking spots painted on this Toronto street prove to be a ticket trap for confused motorists

‘At 8am in the morning, our parking spot is up for grabs’ – and residents in the area complain to city officials about the problem

Drivers beware: Parking spots painted on this Toronto street prove to be a ticket trap for confused motorists

Following a weekend of massive, simultaneous fireworks displays in New York and Chicago, a hot spot in Toronto proved a particularly popular parking spot on Sunday: drivers were spotted entering the road after lights and markers had been set up, not knowing where they should park.

Drivers approaching the street after the markers and signs have been painted – basically any position on a street for the public to park – are risking being ticketed for simply approaching the street. When people asked, Canadian police asked pedestrians to avoid approaching the spot, “as it may be a dangerous situation”.

Drivers making impromptu parkings are seen on display. Photograph: Mark Blinch/Reuters

Paulina Detenaar, a writer from Ryerson University, says the road markings on Parliament St are often obscured by cars to places where they might actually be, and “there are no signs to say you cannot change your mind”. Other parking spots appear to be paid for, but are often not visible from the road. “People park here knowing they won’t get tickets,” she says.

Lunates Teni, a systems manager, says the issue is the lack of a warning that signs and markings have been painted on the street, unlike cars on his street, which have been painted with stickers warning people not to park there. “We have had plenty of drivers here buying milk on the other side of the street, just kind of going through that area,” he says.

The lack of signage, and the newness of this area, cause many drivers to “skip down the line of cars” and “park in a spot that’s not clear”, Detenaar says. “It’s so confusing, they’re just driving in, parked, and then not looking to see if they have to move again.” Teni says he sees drivers “knee-deep in the back window of other vehicles” in what he believes is an attempt to park in a spot without being noticed.

Teni said he was concerned about the safety of pedestrians trying to cross the street. “They’re supposed to be here on a public street,” he says. “They don’t have a clear warning.”

Another Toronto resident added: “[Lots of] people don’t know this is a parking spot, especially since they didn’t have signs on. It’s not clear,” he says. “We have the kids from the school who have to cross [the street] … we have to get them across, so it’s extremely dangerous to cross that street during rush hour.”

A spokesperson for city officials said they have been trying to explain the changes to some drivers via messaging on a map, which shows they have alternate entrances and streets.

Residents say there have been similar issues in the area in the past, such as the recent total removal of curbside parking during summer events. While a complete removal is likely a solution for this particular problem, residents say this issue is a wider issue.

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