Battle brewing over Toronto permit parking expansion

Residents in the Beach neighbourhood in Toronto's east end are considering legal action after a move to allow permit parking where it's currently not available — something that's now being considered in other parts of the city.

Councillor ‘just levelling the playing field’ by adding permit parking to remaining streets in her ward

A move to expand permit parking in The Beach has some residents concerned. (CBC)

Residents in the Beach neighbourhood in Toronto's east end are considering legal action after a move to allow permit parking where it's currently not available — something that's now being considered in other parts of the city.

Toronto and East York Community Council recently passed a motion​ by Coun. Mary-Margaret McMahon that will allow permit parking on a "handful" of streets in her ward.

McMahon, who represents Ward 32, Beaches-East York, says she was surprised to learn that just 10 per cent of streets in her ward do not have permit parking.

"I'm just levelling the playing field," McMahon said in an interview.

"I pay to park on my street and most people do. I think it would surprise some residents to find that some of their neighbours do not have to pay to park on their streets," McMahon said. 

"That's not fair."

Ward 32 councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon says residents will benefit from more permit parking. 'The sky's not going to fall,' she said. (CBC)

Twelve- and six-month parking permits can be purchased from the city to allow all-day and overnight parking on city streets. Temporary permits can also be purchased for visitors.

Each permit has a zone in which the permit holder can park.

In many cases, a parking space may not be available on a permit-holder's street so they park elsewhere in the zone.

McMahon says expanding to the remaining streets will help residents and also increase revenue.

The city makes roughly $14 million annually from parking permits.

Residents 'blindsided'

But McMahon is now facing a backlash from residents of the streets now pegged for permit parking.

"It changes the nature of the street," Peter Stabins said in an interview with CBC Toronto..

While he's concerned about the arrival of permit parking, Stabins says residents like him are bothered more about the way they were "blindsided" by the change.

Adding permit parking to a city street usually requires a petition from at least 25 per cent of residents followed by a poll of the affected area.

Beach resident Peter Stabins in a video posted to Stabins is concerned about a move to expand permit parking on his street. (

McMahon asked city council for an exemption from this process, which was approved by a vote of 40-0. Four councillors were absent..

"If someone has something as small as a parking pad, or somebody's changing their home, everyone gets consulted. We have the large change on our street, and we weren't consulted at all," Stabins said.

"If the by-laws aren't followed correctly and it affects us then there's the potential for legal action," he added.

Other wards considering 

McMahon says the streets are city right-of-ways.

"We don't consult on everything. And I cannot look at one of my residents and justify that they have to pay on one of their streets and another one does not."

Councillors in Toronto and East York have asked city staff to study the feasibility of expanding permit parking in their wards.

"I think it's a good idea," Ward 14 Coun. Gord Perks told CBC Toronto.

The motion, passed in May, also asks staff for proposed bylaw amendments that would eliminate the petition and polling requirements for permit parking expansion.

According to city staff, Toronto has roughly 9,500 roadways. About 1,900 have permit parking.


Trevor Dunn is an award-winning journalist with CBC Toronto. Since 2008 he's covered a variety of topics, ranging from local and national politics to technology on the South American countryside. Trevor is interested in uncovering news: real estate, crime, corruption, art, sports. Reach out to him. Se habla español.


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