To Park Or Not To Park

I am not anti-entrepreneurial although I do like saying the phrase out loud. Anti-entrepreneurial. Kind of rolls off the tongue.

Unlike some of my statist, collectivist, ivory tower academian comrades here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke, I have dallied in the arena of small business at various times in my life. Import/export. Sales of commemorative bric-a-brac. There was even that time in my youth when I financed a year+ tour of the United States exclusively through sperm donations.

So I am down with my business brethren especially the small variety. They are the backbone of our economic system and the lifeblood of any vital, vibrant community. As go small businesses, so goes society. And to hear a local west end B.I.A. (Business Improvement Area) tell it, as goes parking, so goes small business, etc., etc.

Seems that for the past couple years there has been a tussle going on between the Dundas West B.I.A., the TTC and the city over street parking along a strip of Dundas Street West. Business owners claim that the elimination of almost all parking during rush hour traffic along the drag hurts their businesses. The TTC contends that street parking during the busy times hinders them from delivering quality service. Anybody who’s ever traveled that section of road by whatever mode and at almost any time of day will tell you it’s always a mess.

Still, one has to wonder about the value of a business that is dependant on a customer base that is only willing to patronize it if they can throw out the anchors and park right in front of the establishment in question. Your product might not really possess that strong a draw if customer loyalty is so anemic that when forced to so much as walk around a corner, they can’t be bothered. Make better bread or provide a more interesting circus and customers will find their way to your shop regardless of where they have to park their cars.

helpfully submitted by Urban Sophisticat

5 thoughts on “To Park Or Not To Park

  1. What if a business’ clientele consists of seniors or the disabled who require a vehicle to transport them across the vast portion of their travels? About 1.85 million people in Ontario have a disability. That’s one in seven people. Over the next 20 years as the population ages, the number will rise to one in five Ontarians. More to the point, with the province’s recent passage of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act isn’t the elimination of street parking by the city on Dundas St. W. running counter to the letter (or at least the spirit) of the provincial mandate of making our public spaces and our private businesses accessible to all residents?

    • Dear Bob,

      While we here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke graciously concede your point — or as graciously as we here can concede a point — you aren’t suggesting that in order to keep to the spirit of the law or just simply wanting to be inclusive to all citizens that we have to design our streets for car use first and foremost? Surely there must be other ways to ensure accessibility for everyone without having to give over to the primacy of private vehicles.

  2. I’m suggesting that as much as you’re suggesting that the “invisible hand” of the free market is the cure to all that ails small business. 😉

    • Dear Bob,

      Thank goodness you included that winking emoticon because upon first reading of your comment I thought it was a straight up accusation of being proponents of the “invisible hand” of the free market. We here at All Fired Up at the Big Smoke have been labeled many things but never that.

  3. Perhaps accessibility for the disabled is improved by the removal of on-street parking. They can now drive right up to the store of their choice, park with their immunity sticker, and have the shortest walk possible to their destination.
    The best place for on-street parking is in the middle of the road. This way the drivers have to cross the traffic to reach the stores. The risk of dooring cyclists is much reduced. Streetcars could run next to the sidewalk, improving safety for their passengers. Also, every street would have a median, so jaywalking would be safer.

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