Lack of commuter parking causing 'total chaos' at TTC stations, councillor says

They need their cars to use the TTC. It may seem paradoxical, but one city councillor says it’s a fact of life for many in the inner suburbs of Toronto and one that was overlooked when the city decided it didn’t need several TTC commuter parking lots.

James Pasternak says a ‘war on the car’ decision to close commuter parking is hurting suburban residents

Coun. James Pasternak is hoping the mayor can make a "dignified exit" from city hall in the near future. (CBC)

They need their cars to use the TTC.

It may seem paradoxical, but one city councillor says it's a fact of life for many in the inner suburbs of Toronto — one that was overlooked when the city decided it didn't need several TTC commuter parking lots.

Now, Ward 10 Coun. James Pasternak says this "war on the car" decision is causing headaches for commuters and he's asking city council to make sure there will be enough parking as Toronto transit expands.

"It's pretty messy," Pasternak said of the current situation at Wilson Station. Last December, 610 parking spaces at the station were lost when the TTC closed a commuter lot to make way for a commercial development.

"There's total chaos off of Wilson Heights (Blvd.) as people are trying to squeeze into the other parking lots," Pasternak said.

"These are seniors and young families with school aged children who rely on parking to take the subway downtown."

Motion to be tabled at executive committee meeting

In a motion to be tabled at Thursday's executive committee meeting, Pasternak is asking the city manager to assemble a blue ribbon panel of experts to study and provide feedback about commuter parking "along the new Spadina-University Subway line and other points of entry for travel."

Pasternak says the situation is the result of the decision made in 2009 to declare eight TTC parking lots — including three at Wilson station — surplus property. They were then put in the hands of Build Toronto, the arm's-length corporation that manages the sale and redevelopment of city real estate.

"There was a war on the car in those years, and we're starting to see the consequences of that," he said.

The Wilson South lot, with 541 spaces, is scheduled to close later this year and there are no fixed dates for the other Wilson lots, according to the TTC.

But the TTC expects the situation to be improved with the opening, in February, of the 1,100-space commuter parking lot at Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

TTC spokesperson Stuart Green says there are also roughly 2,800 parking spaces north of Downsview that will be part of the Spadina subway extension.

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