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Scarborough’s overnight parking ban a ‘massive self-inflicted wound’, councillors told

Allowing permit parking would not lead to more rooming houses: Councillor Cho

Scarborough-Mirror February 23, 2015 Mike Adler

There has been a retreat in Scarborough’s parking wars, but more battles are coming.

Overnight parking is banned almost everywhere in Scarborough.

In 2009, councillors approved an “exclusion area” so that resident requests for permit parking, if they’re made, won’t even be considered.

But one, Raymond Cho, now says he supports permit parking system for two or three streets in his ward because residents there constantly get tickets.

The possibility touched a nerve – certain people all over Scarborough have the same problem – but Cho withdrew his request from Scarborough Community Council before it could be discussed Wednesday, Feb. 18.

The Scarborough-Rouge River councillor said he did this so some constituents could circulate a petition to strengthen their case.

Meanwhile, Jim Karygiannis, an Agincourt councillor, asked staff to report on whether the city can also ban parking on Scarborough streets on snow fall and snow removal days.

When snow plows are coming, said Karygiannis, “it’s best there are no cars there.”

The exclusion area, which city council also approved, doesn’t include some small areas in Scarborough’s southwest corner.

A former councillor, Brian Ashton, insisted on these exceptions – which haven’t led to any permit parking being approved there – because certain homes in the southwest were built with small driveways or none at all.

Cho is arguing council accomodated Ashton’s request, so it should agree to his, and that he isn’t seeking to change the rules across Scarborough, just in one part of his Ward 42.

The “exclusion” policy, however, guarantees a refusal unless the policy itself is debated and changed.

Karygiannis, who insists selling parking permits will encourage rooming houses, polled supporters in Ward 39 through his website and found 43 said no to overnight parking “in Scarborough” – that is, in all of Scarborough.

Only 29 per cent of the 573 respondents over two days said yes, Karygiannis said.

During Wednesday’s meeting, though, Karygiannis said if people on streets in Cho’s ward want permit parking, they can come forward with a plan they agree on.

Cho said a petition from residents, at the earliest, could come to community council in April. But again, such a petition can’t be heard unless city council agrees to change the exclusion area.

Patrick Griffiths, who lives on John Stoner Drive in Malvern, said a solution cannot come fast enough.

Two of his four vehicles are parked on the street overnight, he said, because he and his wife, son and daughter all drive, and the garage only holds two cars.

“Every single night these guys would give us tickets. Every single night,” Griffiths said in an interview.

“This is totally, totally ridiculous.”

The overnight parking ban is “Scarborough’s massive self-inflicted wound,” as well as a “ridiculous experiment in social engineering,” John Stapleton argued in a letter sent to local councillors.

The ban – it limits street parking to three hours, but is typically enforced between 2 and 6 a.m. – is an “unproductive use of law enforcement” which punishes families with several working adults, he wrote.

Stapleton said families living in homes on his street, one with five working adults and the other with four, both recently left Scarborough. In both cases the lack of street parking “tipped the balance,” he said.

Many families leave the car they drive the least at a local plaza or mall, which hurts Scarborough businesses because customers must search harder for parking, Stapleton also argued.

He said the idea permit parking will encourage rooming houses (it is legal in Scarborough to rent a basement apartment and up to two rooms in a house) makes no sense.

“Single people live in rooming houses. They are generally poorer than the general population,” which means they can’t afford a car, Stapleton wrote.

“For those who believe that we would be seeing vehicle-owning welfare recipients in such places, guess again.”

Cho also said he doesn’t permits will make more rooming houses possible. “It’s a very weak rationale,” he said.