Solemn guardian of Victoria Street, Dave Harvey points out yet another illegally parked car. Photo: Allison Heather

Professor drives out illegal parking

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By Jenny Wills

 

A vigilante professor has launched a one-man crusade to end illegal parking on Victoria Street.

Dave Harvey is a regular sight on the road in front of the business building. “Do you realize that this is a no-stopping area?” he asks motorists. “It’s impacting on the safety of our students. Would you mind moving?”

Harvey, who has taught computing at Ryerson for nearly 32 years, is the school’s only volunteer bylaw enforcement officer. But not everyone appreciates it.

On Nov. 2, he got into a dispute with a CTV reporter who refused to move his van. When Harvey complained to an editor in CTV’s news division, the reporter went to the police and accused Harvey of harassment.

The police informed Harvey that what he was doing was illegal.

But Harvey has been directing traffic on Victoria Street for a while now.

Associate dean of business Le Maguire describes one occasion, when Harvey was showing him two large CTV news vans parked on Victoria Street. When the driver of one of the vans saw Harvey and Maguire, he rolled down the window and started to videotape them.

This is only the latest episode in Harvey’s crusade against traffic on Victoria Street. He once petitioned city hall to solve the congestion, and as a result the street was changed from a ‘no parking’ zone to a ‘no parking on the east side’ and ‘no standing on the west side.’

An estimated 3,000 students use the business building each day and hundreds more cross Victoria Street daily.

The traffic becomes congested because cars park on both sides of the street, leaving only one lane for drivers. Harvey says making Victoria Street one-way would be ideal.

Ryerson has given a proposal to the city to make downtown parking cost up to $12 a day.

Some motorists park illegally on Victoria Street as an alternative to paying that much.

A. Milliken Heisey, chairman of the Toronto Parking Authority, agrees that cars stopping on Victoria Street are a problem, but he doesn’t like Harvey’s approach. “Saying that people can’t stand there doesn’t address the issue,” he said.

Heisey suggested if parking fines were higher, fewer people would break the law.

Although there are a few individuals who choose not to follow Harvey’s requests, he says 85 per cent of those he confronts co-operate.

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