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The money-eating parking machine up the street is in slot machine mode again. I park there regularly when I stop in to Silver Lion or Purrfect Pets or Tasty Korea (yes I had some yummy Korean food for lunch today). I used to ignore the machine and take my chances but the guy they have ticketing offenders like me these days is lightning fast. Now I keep a bunch of nickels in the car and take that extra few seconds to feed the money into the machine and extract my ticket.

Over the past week or so, it’s been impossible to predict the outcome. Sometimes it takes my nickel and spits out the ticket. Other times, it takes my nickel and does nothing else (I’d appreciate a satisfied burp at least). Then there are days like today, when it pays out. Today I scored 60 cents. One thing is certain. If the machine fails to spit out the ticket and I park there anyway, Buddy is going to appear as if by magic with his ticketing book. Being the responsible citizen I am, I called 311 when I got home to report the problem.

This is not the first time I’ve reported the same problem. The very same machine was acting up maybe a year ago and I called it in. The 311 person put me through to the Toronto Parking Authority, where I talked to a nice fellow who took the information. I explained that I wouldn’t really care much about the broken machine except for the lightning fast guy dishing out tickets. The parking authority guy showed appropriate empathy.

I don’t have anything against the ticketing guy personally. He’s just a guy doing his job. In fact, the last time he almost nabbed me, he had started into writing the ticket but let me off the hook with snarky comment, “ya could have put a nickel in the machine.” I said, “you know, you’re right.” And just like that I became a born again parker. Yes, that’s when I started carrying around nickels.

On the west side of the Lakeshore strip through Long Branch, you can park for free. Then at a certain point the machines appear. Why do west-side Long Branchers rate free parking while east-side Long Branchers have to pay? Personally, I’d be OK paying say $20 a year more property tax if it meant we could rid ourselves of the whole parking infrastructure in Long Branch. Of course, if they didn’t charge for parking and they didn’t have the machines, they wouldn’t need to have a guy ticketing people, and I understand people need jobs. I wonder if that guy generates enough ticket revenue to pay for his wages?

Of course, the truth is I should have left the car at home and biked up to Tasty Korea to get lunch. Mea culpa.


  1. Miss Polly

    I called 311 for the first time a few weeks ago. There is construction at the overpass by Cathraw and it’s like the middle of three lights is out of sync with the other two. It is causing major traffic delays in morning and evening commutes. Since I was sitting there anyway and I have Bluetooth I called. It took the nice 311 employee a long time to find the light I was referring to and make me a ticket. At the end of what had to be 15 minutes or more she said “ok, I have sent your ticket to traffic and it will take 8 weeks for someone to call you’. I couldn’t help it. I started cracking up. Before I could say anything her tone completely changed and she said “do you want me to cancel your ticket”. I promptly sobbered up and said no, please don’t cancel the ticket. I cannot promise I won’t be pointed with the person who calls me in 8 weeks. The construction will likely be done but I expect to be heard on my new complaint; how can it take 8 weeks to acknowledge a traffic light issue? Thanks for allowing me to vent …and I am sorry Candyminx you came across a jerk parking control employee.

  2. I literally was crying yesterday from a ticket. All I did was go to a local store. I put in money for 20 minutes. When I came out…I had a ticket. I looked at my phone clock…it was 1:50. I had paid till 1:46. The ticket was written at 1:49. I could understand if I had willfully parked for an extra ten minutes. I could see if I didn’t put money in or was trying to get away with something. But three minutes? At least one minute it must have taken for the meter cop to write the ticket. That means to me…they must have been standing there waiting. And that they were gone by the time…one minute after the ticket was issued…..I believe they left quickly because they knew thy had done something shameful and didn’t want to see the driver.

    I was so upset I could hardly breath. I was tired and so I began to climb in the car and I cried the whole way home. I’m going o the alderman and I am going to contest the ticket….just becase it seems totally inhuman and not at all issuing a ticket because someone has done something that is bad…anyone can be held up in a store for an extra minute or so. This is truly oppressive and makes me feel like I am not welcome to live in the city or enjoy city life

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