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Twitter famous Toronto parking enforcement officer to run for city councillor

Kyle Ashley will challenge the public works chair responsible for Zero Vision in upcoming municipal election

Kyle Ashley

Former bike-riding parking enforcement officer Kyle Ashley has launched a political campaign to run for Toronto city council. In a bid to make the streets of Canada’s most populous city safer for pedestrians and cyclists, Ashley has targeted the seat of public works chair Jaye Robinson in Toronto’s Ward 27.

Ashley rose to prominence on Twitter, using social media to publicize his parking enforcement work as he pedalled the streets of Toronto ticketing vehicles illegally stopped or parked in bike lanes. Ashley has been critical of the efforts of Toronto’s government to adequately protect vulnerable road users.

Under Robinson’s watch as public works chair, Toronto initiated it’s first comprehensive road safety program called Vision Zero. It’s a five-year plan with a with a massive $109 million budget.

According to critics, like Ashley, the program has not done enough to protect vulnerable road users. Already in 2018, 20 pedestrians and at least four cyclists have been killed on Toronto’s streets. “I feel a deep sense of personal responsibility as a champion for road safety,” he said to The Star.

Initiatives under Zero Vision have included installing 74 new red light cameras, launching school and senior safety zones, longer pedestrian crossing times at 100 signalized intersections, and modifications at 28 intersections to make them safer for pedestrians. “I think we are actually making progress,” Tory said.

Ashley’s social media activity and recent deaths on Toronto streets have made road safety a hot issue going into the Oct. 22 election. The former parking enforcement officer resigned from his post after his social media accounts had been suspended by his superiors over the winter. Other parking enforcement officers have continued using social to make their efforts to keep Toronto’s cycling lanes clear of traffic.

Ashley, who resides in Etobicoke, faces a tough election campaign in Toronto Centre-Rosedale against Robinson who was first elected in 2010 and defended her seat in 2014 against four challengers.

“We all care about the same things; safe streets, affordable housing, affordable child care and equitable opportunity for all,” he said. “But if I don’t win I can rest my head at the end of each night, knowing that I elevated the level of public discourse by simply staying true to my brand as a disrupter, sort of an agitator, so to speak.”