Toronto councillor aims to protect commuter parking

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 calls for more parking, but TTC chair says agency won't be building any

Commuters living in the inner suburbs have come to expect parking near TTC stations, but that may have to change in the future, the transit agency's chair says. (PowerWestToronto/Twitter)

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."

Downsview Park's brand new station won't have commuter parking, something Coun. James Pasternak calls 'ridiculous.' (Petar Valkov/CBC)

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.


John Rieti

Senior producer

John started with CBC News in 2008 as a Peter Gzowski intern in Newfoundland, and holds a master of journalism degree from Toronto Metropolitan University. As a reporter, John has covered everything from the Blue Jays to Toronto city hall. He now leads a CBC Toronto digital team that has won multiple Radio Television Digital News Association awards for overall excellence in online reporting. You can reach him at


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