Transportation Standing Committee, June 24, 2021
Meeting recap (the important stuff):
Three main things happened at the Transportation Standing Committee meeting today.
The bulk of debate at the meeting was around the booting bylaw that’s headed to council after being approved by the committee. The booting report stems from a request made in February 2020. This bylaw, should it be approved as is by council, will set the boot fee at $60, require boot operators to be officially licensed as a special constable, and require boot operators to respond within 30 minutes or be able to prove there were exceptional circumstances preventing them from doing so.
Three boot operator affiliated people called in to speak at the public participation section of the meeting, which happened after the bylaw was voted on. The chair, Councillor Mason, explained that this bylaw will likely require public consultation, and allowing booters to present prior to the vote could be seen as unfair if the public at large didn’t know this debate was happening. The booters lamented that the rules around 30 minutes and the set fee of $60 would drive them out of business. Councillor Stoddard was worried that the 30 minute time limit would be too much of a burden for booters, and Councillor Kent was worried about their ability to stay in business. Both councillors asked the booters to reach out after the meeting for more talks about the bylaw.
The booters said they only operate on private lots, and as a reminder dear reader, in case it’s been a while since you last cracked open the Motor Vehicle Act, this is what it currently says about parking in private lots: 149 (1) No person shall leave a vehicle standing on property of which he is not the owner or tenant without the consent of the owner or tenant of the property. (2) When a peace officer is satisfied that a vehicle has been left standing on property for one hour or longer in violation of subsection (1), he may, on the request of the owner or tenant of the property, remove the vehicle and detain it until the expense of removal and detention are paid to him. Which may beg the question of the legality of booting at all under current legislation.
Executive Director of the Department of Transportation and Public Works, Brad Anguish, adds another job to his list of responsibilities after today’s meeting as well. Anguish was nominated by the city’s Chief Administrative Officer to be the city’s traffic authority. This position is responsible for provincial highways within a city or town and does the administrative work of making our roadways recognizable as the roadways we know. They do things like establish crosswalks, set speed limits (where allowed), make school zones, enact the winter parking ban, etc. Anguish faced some questioning about his ability to navigate implementing the city’s bold new policy plans, like the Integrated Mobility Plan, into the rigid status quo that has historically governed the city’s transportation infrastructure. Anguish was asked by Mason what he would do in a scenario where a crosswalk was requested, but not enough people crossed at the location to warrant it, even if the reason people weren’t crossing was because of the danger of not having a crosswalk. Anguish said it’d be hard to say for sure as it’s quite dependent on the specifics, but it would depend on the specifics. Meaning he would like to be flexible but ultimately responsible to council, and street safety would be seen as a priority.
Councillors also passed a motion allowing for street art on roads. They made an amendment at the urging of Councillor Russell to make sure street art plans are shown to accessibility staff or the accessibility advisory committee. Some of the in-crosswalk art makes it hard for people with low vision to cross the street safely. The amendment will hopefully eliminate unsafe street art.
Councillor Waye Mason, Chair (District 7)
Councillor Becky Kent, Vice Chair (District 3)
Deputy Mayor Tim Outhit (District 16)
Councillor Iona Stoddard (District 12)
Councillor Paul Russell (District 15)
Councillor Tony Mancini (District 6)
N/A – COVID