Lane Occupancy

The Impacts of Lane Occupancy on City Streets

Lane occupations, whether related to development activity, utility work or capital works projects contribute significantly to congestion throughout the city. When space on the roadway has been permitted for construction purposes, transportation patterns are impacted, creating traffic and safety issues.
 
This term, I moved a motion directing Engineering & Construction Services and Transportation Services to report on the use of traffic management plans and street occupancy approvals to address traffic disruptions from construction projects.
 
Upon receiving this report, I requested that staff provide additional options to shorten the duration of street occupations, including escalating fees and increasing fees at the time of renewal. I also requested that staff consider imposing fees for congestion-related economic impacts, such as the city's time and productivity losses associated with lane occupations.
 
As a result, instead of a citywide flat fee, permit fee rates were changed to be based on the market rate for space on public roadways as informed by on-street metered parking rates. Although this was a step forward, there is still more work to be done.

Construction staging areas that occupy the curb lane, as most on-road occupations do, constrain the movement of vehicles in pinch points that can result in acute traffic congestion, particularly if several streets in the same area have concurrent lane closures.

As well, in December 2017, at the joint Licensing and Standards and Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, I requested Municipal Licensing and Standards with Transportation Services to address construction trucks and other vehicles parking on pedestrian sidewalks during construction projects.

I will continue to advocate for increased fees and penalties and a reduction in the number and duration of lane restrictions throughout the City of Toronto. We must reduce congestion on our City's streets and ensure safe walking routes for pedestrians.