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Ryerson student Jonathan Oliveira rides his motorcycle to avoid congestion when travelling to and from school. Until now, he’s been able to park for free next to the school of image arts.
But after eight years, the city is considering putting the brakes on free parking for motorcycles.
A new report suggests designated motorcycle parking spots around the city — spots that will come at a cost to riders.
The report proposes developing 300 motorcycle spaces and installing pay-by-plate at a cost of $250,000 initially, with maintenance fees of approximately $30,000 a year. The city could generate between $125,000 and $250,000 in annual revenue.
But paid parking is not a road many motorcyclists want to travel.
“I like bikes and it’s good for parking downtown,” said the arts student after parking his bike among the motorcycles and scooters next to the school of image arts. “(Changing the by-law) would be bad, because parking for free is the main reason I bought a bike.”
Toronto stopped issuing tickets for motorcycle parking in 2005 because the pay-by-plate parking system — ticket machines used for regulating parking in the city — didn’t facilitate parking tickets for motorbikes.
“There were always issues with requiring them to pay at ‘pay and display’ with the tickets, there was nowhere to put them, they would blow away or they would be stolen,” said transportation director Jacqueline White.
City officials say designated parking areas could also help curb bikers who park illegally, and on sidewalks.
“Often they don’t want to park in the midst of cars, because they’re afraid of getting knocked over, so this will provide safe places to park within pay and display areas, but designated for motorcycles,” said White.
Here on campus, Ryerson has been charging students for designated parking since the 1980s. The school already has a lot just for motorcyclists, at a cost to riders of just under $100 a year.
“Students are paying for the convenience of a reserved parking lot,” said John Corallo, director of university business services.
The city proposal will be debated by Toronto city council on Oct. 8.
The text of this story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on October 2, 2013.