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Duly Quoted: David Soknacki, on Banning Street Parking Downtown

Mayoral candidate has radical idea to help both cyclists and drivers get around the city.

“On arterial roads, we ban on-street parking at all times. That would free up real estate to allow for cycling and better flow of traffic.”

-Mayoral candidate David Soknacki, speaking in an interview this week about his proposal to ban parking on main streets in the area between Spadina Avenue and Jarvis Street, south of Bloor Street. “Gridlock is such a reality that lane space on key roads is more valuable to move people than it is to park cars,” Soknacki commented in a press release. The ban would be phased in over three years—and new private and public off-street parking, the candidate said, would “easily compensate for parking demand over the course of the phase-out.” Once all those parked cars had been removed, the City would work to connect additional car lanes and/or cycling lanes on each route.

This idea was not greeted with a great deal of enthusiasm by the chair of the City’s public works committee, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East): “You take parking away from a road, businesses and residences will be very vocal.”

Franz Hartmann of the Toronto Environmental Alliance also expressed some skepticism: “Streets need to be designed for multi-modes. I’m not sure if a one-size-fits-all approach will work. I don’t know whether it’s a great idea.” But as the National Post noted, “In a campaign for the mayor’s chair that has so far been somewhat short on radical ideas, we finally have a radical idea.”


  • Notcleverguy

    It’s not a horrible idea, but I think a compromise would work better. Ban parking for large windows of time (bracket the pear hours by quite a bit) then if someone does park illegally traffic wont be snarled even further by a tow truck removing that car in the middle of rush hour. something like absolutely no parking from 7am – 10:30 and again from 3pm- 7pm.

    Just a thought.

    • milanista1

      That’s pretty much what we already have on major streets like King and Queen

      • Notcleverguy

        I know, I’m just saying make the ban window even larger. (ignore the times I put up if that’s what they are already), and make it on all the major downtown routs in the perimeter the article pointed out.

  • uplandupland

    Unrealistic. I find during rush hour the worst culprits are delivery drivers and other vehicles flashing their four-ways (if even that) in no stopping/no parking zones anyways.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    He’s right, but this will kill his bid.

    • Torontopoly

      Unfortunately it was never alive. I think he has the most sound and evidence based platform but isn’t recognizable enough to stand a chance.

  • Bumbaclot

    Typical Skocknanki dribble. Always gets things backwards. What we should look into is banning pedestrians, cyclists, streetcars and buses. Open the roads up for SUVs and other essential modes of transport.

    • Notcleverguy

      And introduce specific lanes that if there is more than one person in the car, you get a ticket, and another really wide lane used exclusively for driving and reading.

      • Bumbaclot

        ^See, THIS guy gets it!

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      Some of those guys in SUVs like to pull over to down a mickey of their favourite vodka chased by gatorade. They’re always causing traffic holdups!

      • dsmithhfx

        No, this is what our streets are for. And damn if there isn’t some schoolyard you can’t use for a johnny- on- the – spot!

  • atomicnumbermuncher

    Car drivers complain about streetcars, but when we suggest getting rid of on-street parking on streetcar routes, they complain again. Whatever. Go ahead and sit in traffic. I’ll just zip by in the left-over half-lane on my bike.

  • HotDang

    He’s not going to win. Hopefully he throws out his hat and switches to run for councillor. Hopefully he could knock out one of the more terrible councillors.

  • Mark

    I still laugh at the Harbord Bakery – if your bakery in dense area can’t survive without parking directly in front of it, you need to re-think your ability to run a business.

    • bjhtn

      And the Harbord Bakery is outside the zone he is proposing (the west limit is Spadina).

    • andrew97

      Please, internet commenter, tell us more about how to run a small business.

      • Mark

        Thanks for reading, anonymous. Follow me on Twitter.

      • rich1299

        I’ve heard so much outrage about potential parking limitations from store owners who have 99.99% of their customers walking there. I don’t know about the Harbord Bakery specifically but I’ve seen it in the New Toronto neighbourhood when the possibility of banning rush hour parking on Lake Shore if the Lakeshore West LRT ever got built.

        They’re just your average small stores and there’s at least one of the same sort of store per block if not more and for some reason they think their customers drive past many other stores just like their own to shop at their particular store. It just doesn’t happen, the store owners drive there so they assume their customers do too but their customer are almost always people from the neighbourhood.

        It’s likely different for a more specialized type of store that might draw people from farther away but there’s also, at least out on the Lake Shore west strip, tons of Green P lots that sit mostly empty.

        • andrew97

          There isn’t “one store per block” like the Harbord Bakery. I don’t know where the closest good bakery would be, Kensington Market maybe? It’s not unreasonable to think it is a destination.

          Also, I’ll take a successful small business owner’s word over yours as to who their clientele is. If there’s one kind of business that knows exactly who their customers are, it’s a small business.

          It’s more than a little ridiculous for you and Mark to pretend you know more about how to run a particular business than a successful owner. Why not be honest and say, if this change runs them out of business, that is an acceptable price to pay.

          • rich1299

            My living room window over looked a section of Lake Shore west, while I rarely sat and watched I still saw how customers got to those stores daily for about 12 years. What’s totally ridiculous is a store owner claiming his business will fail without rush hour parking when over 99% of their customers are locals walking in especially because of a transit plan that will bring more people past their store. They may know what their customers want to buy but not much else.

            One owner of a pharmacy was very insulting after I suggested the LRT line would be good for the neighbourhood while we were chatting at the cash register. Yeah he knew his customers so well I never shopped there again, why should I when there was another drug store across the street and yet another just a 5 minute walk away. He wasn’t at all concerned about losing my business but I don’t drive so my money didn’t count apparently.

            Most every store on that strip signed a letter opposing the LRT along Lake Shore and asking for it to be located on the Queensway instead, far away from their stores. That was absolutely baffling to me. Moving the main E-W transit line from Lake Shore to Queensway would be far worse for businesses on Lake Shore than a rush hour parking ban. It shows how little store owners, who never take transit themselves, know about how their customers get there and how little they understand the impact of improved transit.

  • vampchick21

    I don’t get why people bring up how a ban on street parking will hurt businesses. Doesn’t anyone walk anymore? Part of the joy of shopping in the city is that you can wander and meander and pop in and out of a variety of stores. Park your damn car at home and take transit or park it in a designated parking area and enjoy! You don’t have to park smack dab in front of the store.

    • Notcleverguy

      Agree totally, I would think increased visibility to a store or restaurant derived from increased foot traffic would help. IMO, complaining that it will hurt is lazy and short sighted.

  • wklis

    Banning parking? Except that NO PARKING means you can still stop your vehicle to pick-up or deliver goods or people. NO STANDING means you can only stop to let out or pick-up people, nothing else. NO STOPPING means NO STOPPING.

    Unless you have your four-way flashers going then it overrides all laws of the land, apparently.

  • McKingford

    Unfortunately, he’s coupling this reasonable idea with the spectacularly bad idea of expanding Green P lots in the downtown core to make up for the lost spaces that would come from eliminating on-street parking. The idea that the city should be in the business of accumulating extremely valuable downtown real estate so as to provide artificially cheap access for the storage of empty vehicles is just bizarre

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      Why should the temporary storage of empty vehicles be cheap? The city should raise its downtown parking rates according to demand.

  • Graeme

    This dude makes way too much sense to get elected in this town.

    • Jo M

      You’ve made me laugh and cry at the same time. Thanks, Graeme. I think.