Toronto’s on-street parking rates will increase an average of 11 per cent if city council approves the proposed hike at its July meeting.
The Toronto Parking Authority, which runs the city’s on-street parking meters and pay and display machines, is seeking the okay to make the following changes:
• About 800 spots in the downtown core would increase to $4 an hour from $3.50. The spaces run from Bond St. west to Spadina Ave. and Elm St. south to Front St.
• Some 2,800 spaces surrounding the core — west to Bathurst, east to Jarvis and north to Davenport — would go to $3 from $2.50 hourly.
• About 8,000 spaces in other parts of the city that are now $2 an hour would go to $2.25.
The current $1 an hour and $1.50 an hour spots — about 7,000 — would be unchanged.
Meanwhile, in a separate report, finance staff are recommending a policy change whereby a parking ticket can be cancelled if it was issued within 10 minutes after the time elapsed. The current grace period is five minutes.
The report said extending the grace period will mean fewer disputes going to trial, and that will free up courts free to handle more serious parking and traffic offences.
Councillor Shelley Carroll served notice she doesn’t support the longer grace period.
“When we’re advocating for our residents in the community, I advocate for the law-abiding ones first … I don’t spend a lot of time working out how to make it easier for people who are actually in contravention of a bylaw or a law,” Carroll said.
In the second report, the city is looking at a recommendation from the city’s treasurer to change parking ticket cancellation guidelines to implement a 10 minute grace period for all time-restricted offences. The only exception would be offences on major arterial roads during rush hour.
The proposed parking rate increases would bump up the parking authority’s average take from a street parking space to $2.13 an hour from $1.92 — a hike of 11 per cent.
In its report, the authority said inflation in Toronto has risen 10 per cent since parking rates last changed in 2007, so the proposed increases are in line with inflation.
“It’s not that we’re increasing significantly the rates, but we have to catch up,” said Councillor Ana Bailão, a member of the parking authority’s board of directors.
Bailao said the increases “are in areas that can sustain it. They’re very busy areas. If we’re expecting people to pay $3 to go on transit, we can assume that people can pay $3 or $4 for a parking spot.”
The rate request would generate an extra $4 million a year. The city-owned parking authority — which also operates all the Green P off-street lots in the city — turns over a big chunk of its net revenue to the city. Last year, about $42 million flowed into city coffers from the parking authority.
The proposed increases are to be presented to next week’s meeting of the government management committee and go on to city council for a final decision at the July 10 and 11 meeting.
If approval is granted, it will take about a month to make the rate changes, said parking authority executive Ian Maher.
The parking authority hit a snag recently because its pay-and-display machines would not accept the new loonies and toonies. Maher said most of the machines have now been adjusted to accept the new coins.