“While you may be ready for the city, I’m not sure the city’s ready for you.”
This is why Toronto can’t have nice things.
A car-driving councillor like Stephen Holyday couldn’t possibly imagine a near future where other car owners willingly give up their auto-dependence if the opportunity arose. Oh sure, people living in other places might give such a change a whirl. But not Torontonians, no way, uh uh. We are a static people, we Torontonians.
At last week’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee the car-sharing company, Car2Go, made a request for more parking spots on city streets, to allow people to park the cars closer to home, freeing them up from finding the nearest Green P lot where Car2Go vehicles are currently relegated. Given an easier option, it was argued, people might sign on to the program and use their own cars less. Less car use might mean less demand for private parking space on public streets.
Unfortunately, the PWI committee members couldn’t get their collective heads around such a concept. People driving their own cars less? People giving up their own cars? Preposterous! Maybe in other places. Not here in Toronto.
Now look, far be it from me to extrapolate my experience to that of the wider city but I think it is slightly more representative of the street parking question than that of Councillor Holyday who lives in Etobicoke Centre where the houses are largely detached, the roadways wide and the driveways are plenty. Curbsides there are used to collect leaves, awaiting vacuum-like collection. Private vehicles don’t vie for precious road space. In fact, in parts of suburban Toronto, overnight parking isn’t even allowed!
Down in the core where I dwell, it should be first pointed out that public transit is readily, if not always reliably, available. So not using a car is a viable option. Driveways here aren’t the norm. There is a smattering of garages and parking spaces, usually tucked away off back alleys. Many of the older homes are used as multi-residences, so parking spots don’t evenly match up to residents. Throw in in some parts of the older city commercial and retail pressure, with a regular flow of drivers looking for places to throw out the anchors for a quick stopover.
Street parking in these parts of the city represent prime real estate.
You would never know it, however, by the prices we charge for it. On the street I live, for example, if you have one car and “no access to on-site parking” it costs you just under $15 (plus HST) a month for an on-street parking permit. $15 a month. That’s 50 cents a day. It’s a bit pricier if you have access to on-site parking but want to park out on the street anyway. That’ll set you back just over $50 a month. A month. Roughly two bucks a day. And don’t get me started on residents with more than one vehicle.
Street parking permits for visitors are even more ridiculous. Nine bucks for 24 hours. About $15 for two days. And a whole $20.60 (plus HST) for a week of on street parking. While it may be different in different parts of the city, of the handful of times I’ve wanted a visitor parking permit, it’s never been a problem, never encountered a no availability turn down.
Toronto encourages on street parking. We contribute to the affordability of owning and operating a car in this city. We do little to dissuade visitors from bringing their car to the city. Parking is treated as a right, one that should not be onerous on the wallet.
The notion of freeing up some of that space for something other than private vehicle use, for something that might even subvert our traditional belief in the primacy of car ownership? Inconceivable. The city, or rather, too many of those we’ve elected to represent the city, simply aren’t ready to entertain such a radical concept.
— inconceivably submitted by Cityslikr
[I sent this into the PWI Committee last week]
Dear Councillors :
With regards to expanding the existing Pilot to allow Residential On-Street Parking Access to Care-Share services (like Car2Go), the Committee should allow them to buy an On-Street Parking Permit per Vehicle that can be used in any 24-7 Residential Parking Zone that does not have a “Waitlist” for Residential Parking Permits.
I have no problem with Car2Go using Street-Parking, as long as they are paying a Fee to the City for each of their Vehicles – and that the Per-Vehicle Fee charged to these Commercial Operators is Higher than the Fees currently charged for Residential Parking Permits and Temporary Overnight Permits.
Car2Go has over 400 Vehicles in Toronto. If they were Charged DOUBLE the Residential Parking Permit “Convenience” Fee of $618.48 + HST Annually, that would be $1,237 + HST per Vehicle.
The City would gross approx. $498,800 in new revenue from that fee, and the Available/Not Available Residential Parking Zones could be communicated to Car2Go to White-List/Block specific streets within their GPS apps.
This is a solution that generates new money for the City – and maximizes efficient use of both cars and on-street parking spots.
I fully support the expansion of Car-Share Parking in Permit Parking Areas with those provisos.
Mark J. Richardson
Essentially like free roads, cheap on street parking is considered a perk that is jealously guarded. Anyone who attends a zoning hearing where higher density are involved will likely encounter the freeloaders who argue against the featured development based on parking and traffic concerns. It’s a significant cause of sprawl.
People with subsidized parking also ask politicians and planners to require more on-site parking in the development. This greatly decreases the cost of the parking by making the price of housing about 20% higher. Because the developer has a surplus of parking they are not able to charge the full price for the parking spot and so all residents pay the difference in their purchase and maintenance or rent.
In some areas the Councillor attempts to get the development built by placating surrounding residents by saying that new residents will not have access to any of the streets parking spots.
Another role is played by the City Parking Authority. It claims to be profitable, but doesn’t pay for the maintenance and policing of the public roads it uses, much less a property tax.
Businesses that don’t build the required numbers of spaces, have to perform studies to demonstrate they don’t require them, or demonstrate that they cannot accommodate the amount on their tiny existing lot. These businesses must pay hefty in lieu of parking fees, to subsidize the building & operation of off street TPA parking lots.
Their pricing and expansion is putting for-profit lots out of business.
Car2Go would be a major step forward.
The closest Autoshare and Zipcar “stations” to where I live are on-street; the city even has “no-parking, Autoshare/ZipCar only” signs erected. Why not extend this courtesy to Car2Go?
Transport Department’s issue with Car2Go is that unlike AutoShare and ZipCar, Car2Go trips are One-way — so Car2Go vehicles might “overwhelm” local on-street park spaces near popular destinations.
Nobody seemed to believe that Car2Go use might actually LOWER the Private-Vehicle Parking demand on those streets by Home-Owners.