Residents want car2go to stop taking parking spots on their streets

Residents in some Toronto neighbourhoods want to put a stop to car2go vehicles taking parking places.

Company ready to pay double for permit allowing cars to park overnight on residential streets

Leslieville resident Adam Wachsmann says these are two of four Car2go cars he saw parked between Billings Avenue and Hertle Avenue Tuesday evening. (Adam Wachsmann)

Residents in some Toronto neighbourhoods want to put a stop to car2go vehicles taking parking places.

Users of the car-sharing service were previously able to leave the blue and white cars in designated spots in 160 Green P parking lots across the city but car2go cancelled the deal at the end of March and its clients now only have access to 35 spots.

The company says usage has increased by more than 100 per cent since then, and it has told its users to "drive it and park it on street and don't even worry about all the crazy parking restrictions."

This has upset some residents.

"We've started to see these small cars pop up in the parking lot and on the street, and in this neighbourhood I can see it being a problem for the residents," Gregory Zhang, who lives near Christie Pits Park, told CBC News. "We have a parking spot on the street that we rely on and sometimes we have to park far away."

“We have a parking spot on the street that we rely on and sometimes we have to park far away" because a car2go has taken the spot, Gregory Zhang said. (CBC)

Hazel Miller, who lives near Runnymede Road and St. Clair Avenue West, told CBC News that she recently returned from vacation to find three cars parked in a row outside her home. She said she had never seen car2go vehicles parked on her street before.

"They were all ticketed and I didn't know why they were there and how long they'd been there," Miller said. "It didn't seem to make a lot of sense."

She said "there are already parking nightmares on this street in the evenings from May to November so when you add car2Go, it's one more thing."

Coun. Sarah Doucette, who represents Ward 13, understands Zhang and Miller's frustrations.

"Residents pay just under $200 a year to park on a street or in a zone and when they come home and can't find a parking spot, they have to park on another street, which they're not permitted to do, and then they get ticketed," Doucette told CBC News.

Doucette said she expressed some of her constituents' concerns to car2go and was told the company had hired people to move the cars.

The company's Toronto general manager Mark Latchford confirmed this in an interview with CBC News.

He said car2go has "drivers out seven days a week, almost 24 hours a day moving cars, so if cars do end up (parked on a street), we try to move them as quick as possible so people don't get upset."

Car2go's Toronto GM, Mark Latchford, understands why some residents are upset about his cars being parked on their streets. "It doesn’t help the city out or us as a business so we try to keep those cars moving as best we can," he said. (CBC)

Latchford acknowledged that if a car sits in a spot for a long time "it doesn't help the city out or us as a business so we try to keep those cars moving as best we can."

But Latchford also pointed out that if the smartcars are parked on a particular street it's because they're being used by people who live or work in the area.

He said car2go would like the city to issue it a universal permit, which would allow the cars to park overnight on residential streets, and that it's willing to pay double the cost for it.

Car2go allows its 47,000 Toronto members to share a fleet of 440 blue and white smartcars, and differs from other car-share services in that it allows one-way trips. Users can leave cars parked in street spaces to be picked up by other members.

This car2Go vehicle was ticketed on Clendenan Avenue near High Park. Some city residents are upset that users of the car sharing service are parking the cars in spots residents have paid for. (Havard Gould/CBC)

With files from Lorenda Reddekopp