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Want on-street parking in Vaughan? Get 75% of your neighbours to agree
Jan. 22, 2015
By Adam Martin-Robbins

City councillors postponed a decision that would allow for on-street, overnight parking in certain residential areas following a lengthy debate on the highly contentious issue Monday.

Among the sticking points was the proposal that those who want their street considered for on-street parking must garner support from 75 per cent of area homeowners.

Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua argued that sets the bar too high and would prevent on-street parking from becoming reality in many neighbourhoods.

“In a democracy it’s 50 per cent plus one, so why are we going to 75?” Bevilacqua said. “I’m sure there’s some professional reason why that has to be, but I don’t think so. I think people should be able to use their infrastructure, they’re paying for it. ”

But other councillors felt a high rate of support is necessary to avoid pitting neighbours against each other, especially given how controversial on-street parking has been in the past.

“I don’t often disagree with the mayor on many issues, but I totally disagree with his position on this one,” Thornhill Councillor Alan Shefman said.

“Seventy-five per cent - I would argue very strongly against lowering that number,” he added.

Maple/Kleinburg Councillor Marilyn Iafrate disagrees with the mayor, too.

“I know there is a need and there are places that could use a little bit of help in terms of trying to legitimize on-street parking. And I don’t have a problem with that in moderation,” she said. “I do not, though, support reducing the percentage of people agreeing to the on-street parking. ...We want (residents) to be happy where they live. ...We don’t want them coming home angry every day because they see something that bothers them that they didn’t agree to and the majority didn’t agree to.”

Currently, on most streets, parking is prohibited for more than three hours between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. And parking is prohibited on all streets between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.

A lot of residents have complained their driveways and garages are inadequate for the number of vehicles they own, forcing them to park on the street and risk getting a ticket.

That prompted the city to investigate potential solutions, including allowing people to create additional parking spaces on their lots and an on-street parking permit system.

City staff presented a report at Monday’s committee of the whole working session recommending implementing an on-street parking permit program where residents would come forward and request their street be considered for on-street parking.

That would be the first step in a lengthy process that includes an engineering review to determine if the roadway could accommodate on-street parking followed by a survey of residents to gauge interest in allowing on-street parking.

Getting beyond that step would require 75 per cent of homeowners to express an interest in exploring allowing on-street parking.

After that, there would be an in-depth engineering review and a community meeting to discuss the impact of on-street parking to such things as snow clearing and garbage collection.

Following that would be another survey to determine if 75 per cent of homeowners favour going ahead with on-street parking. If there were enough support then it would go ahead.

Several councillors raised concerns about that process being far too bureaucratic and requiring a lot of staff time.

“The next report I want to see something more detailed ... and much simpler than this,” Regional Councillor Gino Rosati said. “Just do it right. Simplify the process, make it clear.”

City staff plan to come back in March with a report addressing that and other issues raised by council members.