Attention Toronto drivers: your heaping helping of schadenfreude is ready. For all the times you’ve ever been stuck behind an illegally parked vehicle, asking aloud why doesn’t someone fine that jerk and tow him away?, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for: the moment when misfortune befalls them all, all at once, for the benefit of your drive home.
Mayor John Tory’s tag-and-tow offensive against illegally parked cars in the downtown core is now into its second week, ticketing and impounding any vehicle that parks illegally and blocks traffic during peak hours. The first week was a social media delight, as dozens of people, notably including Toronto Police Constable Clint Stibbe, snapped and posted photos of the towaways, many of them delivery trucks. Stibbe’s Twitter feed in particular—@TrafficServices—was a rousing perp parade of company logos winched to the boom, including FedEx, Coca-Cola, Canada Post, Canadian Linen and Uniform Service, and every shredding service under the sun: Iron Mountain, Recall Document Solutions, and AMJ Shredding. The traffic sting has ensnared a surprisingly broad variety of businesses, including Joe Warmington favourite Drain City, whose work consists of sucking up and hauling away used deep-fryer grease from downtown restaurants.
Some media outlets have been calling the mayor’s initiative a “blitz,” but Tory doesn’t want anyone to think this is a temporary measure that will disappear as quickly as it arrived. “The new normal” is how the mayor’s staff likes to describe the situation, and it’s about more than traffic. It’s a long overdue shift in the city’s metabolism, and so far Tory and his staff seem to be the only ones who’ve grasped just how far-reaching it will prove to be.