Bay St. cycling lane used as taxi stand by scofflaw drivers: The Fixer
Taxi drivers don’t give a whit about cyclists or measures to protect them, if the cabs parked in a bike lane in front of a big government building are an indication.
Anyone looking for a taxi can usually find two or three roosting in the bike lane in front of the Macdonald Block, on the west side of Bay St., just south of Wellesley St.
Parking in a bike lane is a $ 150 ticket, but cab drivers obviously don’t see it as much of a risk, or they wouldn’t be so brazen about it.
An email from Kevin Beane included links to video he shot, showing cab drivers shrugging and waving him off when he asked them why they were parked in the bike lane.
“Every day at 900 Bay Street, taxis line up on the bike lane waiting for people for 30 minutes at a time,” he said.
“This puts cyclists at risk. For some reason the police are not enforcing the law. See the videos. In the first one, a cyclist almost gets hit.”
We hung around at Bay and Wellesley on Tuesday and observed the same thing as Beane: two and sometimes three taxis always parked in the cycling lane, waiting for someone looking for a cab to come out of the building.
At one point, a motorcycle cop coming north on Bay turned on his flashing lights, jabbed his siren and looked right at two cabbies parked in the bike lane, telling them to beat it.
Like flies to dung, two more taxis pulled in, just seconds after the first ones buzzed off.
A few minutes later, we spotted a parking enforcement officer strolling north on the west side of Bay, approaching the cabs in the bike lane. It got our hopes up that somebody might get a ticket.
The parking cop was no more than 30 metres or so from the cabs, but veered left and walked down a corridor on the south side of the Macdonald Block, giving them a free pass.
While we were there, we saw a couple taxis pull into the bike lane to let out a passenger. It didn’t seem unreasonable, since there is nowhere else to stop and they left within seconds.
But others stayed until they snagged a fare, 15 minutes or more in some cases, and acted as though they were in a legal taxi stand, while cyclists swung out of their lane and into traffic to go around them.
STATUS: Police are well aware of what’s going on at 900 Bay, but based on what we saw, they aren’t interested in taking a hard line. Until they do, taxis will continue to illegally occupy the bike lane, and cyclists be damned.
What’s broken in your neighbourhood? Wherever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. To contact us, go to thestar.com/yourtoronto/the_fixer or call us at 416-869-4823 email email@example.com . To read our blog, go to thestar.com/news/the_fixer . Report problems and follow us on Twitter @TOStarFixer.
TORONTO STAR | YOURTORONTO