One confused citizen drew attention to dozens of signs painted on the pavement around a popular York University campus in Toronto’s uptown neighbourhood, and these photos were shared on social media
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Drivers beware: Parking spots painted on this Toronto street prove to be a ticket trap for confused motorists
Marni Senouci is a Globe and Mail media reporter with three children, husband and office in Toronto. She was in her car with her children when a spot appeared on the pavement around York University. It’s a safe neighbourhood, with lots of young families driving their kids to the Hillcrest area. This parking spot has more than 20 signs in the spots around the two-foot barrier. And it’s sponsored by the school, meaning there’s no question about their intentions. Senouci posted the photos on Facebook:
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Some residents were quick to notice the signs, either because they had seen them before or were too embarrassed to do so themselves. “We saw them,” says Rhaimes Rodriguez, a 29-year-old mother of two. “It was the first sign we saw. I was shocked. I never expected to see things like that. It looks like an artwork, a kind of installation. I have a feeling they’re advertising something.”
Other residents say that markings on the road have been there for a while. Chris Betancourt, who runs a hot dog stand on that street, says “everywhere you go you see it.” He adds that the original markings have been there “since I got started”. With slogans like “Vehicle Parking Rules” and “No Hungry Doggers”, the signs have become a talking point for residents who think they could be providing useful information.
But they’re also targets for inconsiderate drivers. At last count, 72 of the spots were tagged. While some might like to think that the spots are safe from parkers, one cyclist caught in the act says she prefers not to give them a second thought. She says: “I’m glad they’re not painted in white to hide them. The other options, I’d rather not deal with them.” And with 34 “No Parking” signs, some people may be inclined to agree.
Susy Bouchard, a Toronto city councillor, says the signs are “clearly inappropriate”. She adds: “I’m very hopeful that the police do get involved to resolve it.”
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Judging by the number of people on Facebook who are aghast at the signs, however, the illegal activity may be accepted by others. A couple of years ago, this exact situation turned up in Toronto. There, “gang symbols” were painted on multiple bus stops in North York. The signs – small but extremely colourful – were sponsored by the Action for York group, according to a BBC report.
At the time, Christopher Walker said: “We were working from the concept that we wanted to be pro-community and council was pro-gentrification.”
Councillor Gord Perks responded: “I hope it’s not the beginning of the definition of a form of social provocation.”