Now, before I delve into a semi-rant as to what occurred on the mean streets of Toronto this fine and lovely May morning, I need to qualify all of my raving with the simple fact that I am guilty!! I am guilty of what I was accused of, and I am guilty of not really knowing the intricacies of every municipal bylaw. That said, I think that I got shafted this morning and I will leave it up to the blogosphere to determine my fate.
The husband had a medical appointment scheduled for this morning at one of the downtown hospitals. Given the fact that he has spent the better part of this week shlepping back and forth between the downtown core, and due to the exorbitant price of gasoline, ($1.29 and climbing!!) he asked me to drop him off at the subway kiss and drop at Finch station. I have been making this trip every single morning for the past two years because younger son attends a mid-town school and the TTC is truly "The Better Way" in this case. (It is a bit ironic that I was even on the road today as I thought that I was going to have this morning off because younger son was home recuperating from last night's senior prom!) The kiss and drop and it's surrounding area has been a traffic nightmare since September. There is a high-rise office tower going in directly across the street and the construction has made for tricky driving at the Yonge/Hendon intersection. Not only that, TTC crews have been repairing Finch station both underground and above-ground so that further traffic chaos has become the norm. For the past two months, the extreme right hand lane has been shut down right after the Yonge Street entrance to the kiss and drop, reducing the morning rush hour to two tightly bunched lanes. Now, here is a further complication. Yonge Street is a carpool designated street between the hours of 7:00 am and 10:00 am every morning. The extreme right hand lane is solely for buses, taxis and cars carrying 3 or more passengers. I am and always have been a supporter of the idea of carpool lanes. It really does make sense to encourage people to carpool or take public transit. So every morning, as soon as I make my right hand turn onto Yonge Street, I dutifully enter the centre lane of traffic and head south towards Finch station.
Since the lane closure at Hendon, I have begun to make my lane change into the right a bit earlier than usual. After I cross Cummer, I usually move into the right in preparation for the upcoming right at the kiss and ride. The traffic on Yonge, as you can well imagine, is nightmarish in the morning, and any opportunity to make a safe lane change is taken. This morning this decision bit me in the ass. Toronto's finest, (who by the way have looked the other way on carpool lane infractions for over two years) chose this morning to make their stand! As the husband and I approached the kiss and drop, approximately about 300 metres from it's entrance in an office parking lot, sat perched 5 traffic cops. Yup! I was nailed! I tried to explain to the extraordinarily young and handsome officer (I am old enough to be his mother!! OY!!) that I was just dropping off the husband at the approaching subway station, and I asked him how was I to meander into the right hand lane with the congestion and lane closure creating an enormously dangerous driving situation. He told me that I was in the carpool lane for at least 300 metres before and that I am only allowed 150 metres of drive time in the carpool lane in order to make my right. I stopped arguing. What was the point? He had me nailed and he knew it. 80 bucks!!!!! No points because I didn't violate the Highway Act. This is only a municipal bylaw. In other words, David Miller needs more money to funnel into his municipal coffers, (which probably won't get used for things like ROAD REPAIRS!!!) so I along with dozens more, had our numbers come up this morning. I wasn't speeding, driving dangerously, impeding traffic, (which I would most certainly have done had I listened to Dudley Do-Right!) or running stops or reds. I simply made the lane change 150 metres too early. As we pulled away from the stop and back onto Yonge Street and back into the carpool lane, the husband said "Well that was really slimy!" It was an obvious quota-filling money grab and it reeked of insincerity. Where have these guys been for the past three years before the construction?
Now, I began this little rant by admitting my guilt. It is true--I did it! What galls me is the hoops that the city is making us jump through to get anywhere in this city due to road work and construction site, and now they have found a way of making us pay for the privilege as well. Both sons have said that I should fight the ticket, but I really don't have the time to spend in traffic court in the middle of town. The question becomes whether or not my time is worth $80.00! I will give it some thought, but right now, my inclination is to pay the f@#%ing thing!! Your thoughts?