A Toronto councillor says the city has a commuter parking "crisis" and needs to block the loss of any parking lots near subway stations in the inner suburbs.
Coun. James Pasternak, who represents Ward 10, York Centre, is bringing a motion to the city's executive committee on Tuesday, calling for the city to stop the loss of any more parking spots at stations like Wilson, where 610 spaces were off-loaded last December.
Pasternak's motion also calls on the city to look for ways to add parking options at stops.
The failure to do so, Pasternak says, harms the TTC's "most loyal" customers, who drive to the subway every day as opposed to taking their car all the way downtown.
"This undermines that whole routine," Pasternak said, giving the example of parents who need their cars to drop their kids off at school before heading to the subway.
"It could result in hundreds, if not thousands, of people starting to drive downtown — which we do not want."
Michael Black, of Walk Toronto, said Pasternak's ideas won't solve Toronto's "appalling" congestion.
"We're not going to fix that problem by adding parking. That will just increase the number of cars on the road," he said.
Black, whose group submitted a detailed letter to the executive committee on the matter, wants the city to instead focus on "last mile" improvements that would allow more people to safely walk and cycle to the subway station, rather than surround it with parking lots.
TTC not building new parking lots, chair says
It's not just Black. Metrolinx's recently released transit master plan calls for a similar approach. And TTC Chair Josh Colle says the transit agency is hoping its investments in new bus service will get people to leave their cars at home.
"The ideal scenario is they take transit to transit," he said.
Colle says while the TTC still owns parking lots near some stations, it won't be investing in similar facilities in the future, especially given the long list of projects it's hoping to build in the coming years.
"We don't build parking lots," he said.
Pasternak's motion doesn't ask the TTC to buy lands. But it does call the city manager to speak with Canada Lands Corp., the federal crown agency that controls Downsview Park, to explore putting in some parking near Downsview Park station.
The TTC says while there's no commuter parking planned for Downsview, the other stations on the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension will have a combined 2,800 spots for vehicles.