Petition update

Canada Post caves as @TPS_ParkingPal Kyle Ashley #bikeTO ticketing blitz bites

Julie Mollins
Toronto, Canada

Jul 29, 2017 — Toronto's celebrity ticketing officer chalked up a significant victory for the cycling community this week after Canada's postal service issued a public statement announcing its drivers will no longer park illegally in bike lanes.

For weeks, Kyle Ashley — who works in the Toronto Police Services parking enforcement division — and other cyclists have been sharing pictures of Canada Post vehicles cockily parked in bike lanes causing traffic mayhem.

An official month-long bike lane ticketing "blitz" in the city ended on July 7, and afterwards cyclists feared chaos would supplant the order PEO Ashley had worked so hard to establish.

However, this was not the case. PEO Ashley has kept up his pursuit of delivery truck scofflaws, refusing to allow his efforts to be eroded. He tweets pictures of illegally parked corporate vehicles in the bike lanes from his @TPS_ParkingPal Twitter account, demanding change.

During the height of the blitz, computer programmer George Bell (@GeorgeBell) and cycling advocate Rob McLarty (@RobMcLarty) created several sheets of stamps featuring Canada Post vehicles flagrantly parked in bike lanes throughout the city. The stamps were made using a do-it-yourself template on the crown corporation's own website.

Finally, as the conflict rumbled on over whether delivery trucks are entitled to park in the bike lanes, Toronto Mayor John Tory (@JohnTory) weighed in, taking the time to scold the postal service personally:

“I indicated this is conduct — recognizing they have their job to do — that it is not acceptable to the City of Toronto, and to us as people who are trying to live together and to learn how to share the roads,” the Toronto Star newspaper reported.

Canada Post subsequently issued a statement recognizing the bike lanes and vowing to stop parking illegally in them, while asking the city to help find a solution to its parking woes.

"Canada Post understands the concerns raised regarding safety and bike lanes in Toronto," the statement said. "As a result, we are instructing our employees to not park in bike lanes in the City of Toronto . . . We are also asking the city to work with Canada Post and others to find long-term solutions to address this issue."

Toronto cyclists using the #bikeTO hashtag on Twitter celebrated the long overdue acknowledgement, happy to see the end of the major safety risk posed by the vehicles.

"#BikeTO and all of @CycleToronto ...This is what happens...when community comes together. #TOPoli," tweeted PEO Ashley. "Thank you @JohnTory and @canadapostcorp."

Two days later, PEO Ashley tweeted a photo of himself with 20 other parking enforcement officers learning the social media ropes, getting set to hit the streets and tweet from a new generic Toronto Police Services Twitter account with the handle @ParkingTPS.

"I am looking forward to training these Parking Enforcement Officers (PEO's ) with @GraffitiBMXCop," said Laurie McCann, Toronto Police College instructor, from her @thecoffeecop Twitter account, referring to Scott Mills, who calls himself a "social media cop" in his Twitter bio.

For cyclists, the week concluded on an even higher note with the astonishing news that the post office has also decided to stop its drivers from parking in bike lanes in Ottawa, the country's capital, and across Canada.

“Our employees are expected to follow the traffic laws when serving customers, which includes no-stopping zones like bike lanes,” postal service spokesperson Jon Hamilton told the commuter newspaper Metro News. He also said the rules apply everywhere, the newspaper reported.

On Friday, an upcoming talk in Toronto by Vision Zero Canada director Graham Larkin was officially announced. Larkin, based in Ottawa, will speak on Thursday evening at Scadding Court Community Centre, making a case for safety regimes in which the state takes responsibility for developing fail safe systems for pedestrians and cyclists.

"This approach is in stark contrast to the 'shared responsibility' doctrine that still holds sway in North America," said Larkin who tweets from @VisionZeroCA.

Larkin started the non-profit organization two years ago in an effort to make cities more people-friendly and to urge governments to do more to protect vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists.

PEO Ashley tweeted that he will attend Larkin's talk.

Sign up for the talk:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vision-zero-director-to-speak-on-vital-government-role-in-pedestrian-cyclist-safety-tickets-36609104818

Read the Metro News story:
http://www.metronews.ca/news/ottawa/2017/07/27/canada-post-says-drivers-should-not-block-ottawa-bike-lanes.html

Read the statement from Canada Post:
http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/statement---canada-post-vehicles-to-not-park-in-bike-lanes-in-city-of-toronto-636579813.html

Read the Toronto Star story:
https://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/2017/07/25/canada-post-vows-to-quit-blocking-toronto-bike-lanes.html

Picture is from @TPS_ParkingPal's Twitter account.


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