Permit parking rule changes divide Beach residents

Beaches-East York city councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon is defending a decision to implement on-street permit parking on all of Ward 32 residential streets, saying it is an issue of fairness.

“Some residents have asked why they don’t have permit parking in their area and they’ve been ticketed and they wondered about that,” said McMahon. “I’ve heard this off and on over the years, so we thought we’d take a closer look at it.”

According to a letter sent to the Toronto & East York Community Council from McMahon dated April 4, 2017, 90 per cent of the local roads in Ward 32 are designated under the city’s residential on-street permit parking program. That leaves 10 per cent that have been omitted.

The on-street permit parking program allows permit holders to park their car in a specified area during permit parking hours for a fee.

“From an equity point of view how am I justifying that some residents pay to park on their street and others do not,” asked McMahon. “I can’t look some residents in the eye and tell them, well you live on such and such a street and you don’t have to pay, you live on this street and you do.”

The new parking permit law affects more than 20 streets in the Beach including Glen Oaks Drive, Northern Dancer Boulevard, Long Crescent, and Glen Ames among others, and came to light in early June, which is when a number of residents on the affected streets began collecting names and submitting letters and petitions to McMahon as well as the city’s transportation services division.

Correspondence sharing the Glen Oaks petition — which calls for a poll to be done — listed the fact that residents and their guests would no longer be able to park for free on the street, residents could be forced to pay around $600 per year to park on the street, and cited the possibility that an increased number of cars from neighbouring condo dwellers could potentially park on the street for extended periods of time as ramifications of the permit program.

The petitioners say they should have been consulted before these changes were implemented on their streets.

“Nobody knew about it,” said Beach resident Sousie Weston. “The due process that was supposed to be in place wasn’t actually followed or enacted in our right… if there was a need [for new parking laws], it should’ve triggered a poll of the residents of the street. The bylaws are in place to protect citizens against moves like this that impact an entire community.”

According to subsection 925-4B of City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 925, on streets where permit parking is not currently in place, a poll is to be conducted to determine whether or not residents of the area would choose to have it or not.

Earlier this year, McMahon requested a motion to exempt more than 20 streets from the requirement of this subsection and following city council meetings on April 26, 27 and 28, the item was adopted without amendments and passed with a majority vote.

While one petition is citing a lack of “procedural fairness” due to the lack of consultation from the councillor, McMahon said that while “the city does poll residents on some issues, we don’t do it on everything. I pride myself that I do extensive consultation on many issues, but I’m not consulting on every single issue on city hall. I feel that people elected me because they trust my judgment.”

She explained further that it was seen as an issue of maintaining consistency throughout ward 32.

Ainsley Moore, a Beach resident who has lived on a street with permit parking her entire life agrees with this sentiment.

“All residential roads in the Beach should have permit parking,” she said. “It has never made sense to me that some were exempt when there has always been a parking problem. Not all homes here have garages or driveways and more and more households have more than one car. Every street needs to be made available for residents to park overnight without being worried about getting a ticket.”

But the current petitions argue that regardless of the reasoning, residents had a right to voice their opinions before a decision was made.

“Nobody was made aware even after it was passed,” said Weston. “We found out through a series of accidents… and that is one thing that has outraged people on the street. We as a community have an expectation that the laws that are in place will be followed and that our democratic right to vote on a matter that will absolutely impact everybody in the community were not followed here.”

This article has been updated to clarify the formal wording of the Glen Oaks petition.


Where do you stand on this issue? Should permit parking be in place on all of Ward 32 streets? Why or why not? Leave a comment on this story or send an email to editor@beachmetro.com.

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14 comments

Permit parking on all streets in our community makes sense, I agree that this should be implemented.

Two of the streets mentioned that currently does not have permit parking happen to be the streets that two former politicians live on. Is this a coincidence or a parting gift by the current Councilor?

I think the issue here is not necessarily equity but the way in which this is being done and the neighbourhoods in question should have been subject to the by-law. The outcome would probably be the same, but the democratic principles and the by law would have been respected.

Naturally, all streets should have permit parking. Thank you to our councillor for continuing to do the right thing for the entire community. Separately, a community does not get a voice on every single issue, otherwise we would be mired in daily polls about each and every issue. We elect a councillor every four years to make decisions on our behalf. That is the nature of our democracy. I appreciate very much that our councillor continues to think about the larger interests of the community as a whole, and I am disappointed a small group protecting their own self interests is occupying so much of our councillor’s time.

I think you have to implement the By Law or repeal it and I don’t think an exemption is appropriate. It may be true that you can’t serve the Ward, as a Councillor, by holding perpetual public consultations. Having attended several of them throughout the years, consultations attract the political competition, pundits, angry people, people with mental health issues and a smattering of residents who are objective and prepared to discuss issues rationally, punctuated by others who are yelling and destroying the meeting.

Anyway-either follow the By Law or repeal it.

The councillor is making deliberate misleading statements. It is not true that some residents pay for parking where others park free. Permit Parking is purchased for overnight and extended parking. If a non permit holder parks overnight or longer than three hours they will be ticketed.
In fact, permit holders actually gain an advantage in that they do not need to put money in a parking meter. The councillor is either misleading or misguided. What is actually happening if this passes is that developers of the increasing number of condos in these areas will no longer be obliged to build adequate underground parking for residents and will download the problem to neighbouring homeowners.

The reason for originally introducing permit parking on urban streets was to provide a place to park cars in areas that had been designed for horses: no-driveway or shared-driveway inner city streets. Streets with private driveways were never parking-permitted because there is zero need for it.
Those homeowners who purchased homes with a private driveway paid considerably more for that convenience and continue to pay more annually in higher taxes as such houses are assessed at a higher value. The annual tax differential is significantly more than an annual permit, so there is no ‘lack of equity’ issue. The councillors argument that this move will generate more revenue has no merit. Those with driveways will still or need to buy permits and those who already have permits will not buy another one just for fun. The councillor expressly stated in her on camera statement that this move would put permit parking on the streets of the councillors that previously served in her ward, and her dislike for those individuals seems apparent. So who exactly is benefitting from this undemocratic motion, the residents of the ward or Ms. McMahon?

“…saying it is an issue of fairness.”

If it were truly a matter of “fairness” why isn’t the parking commissar chasing after permit parking in Rosedale and forest Hill where only 10% of the streets have permit parking?

If it is a matter of “fairness” why did the parking commissar decide to override the democratic process written into the municipal by-law?

If it is a matter of “fairness” why did she help push through approvals for Kingston Road condos that are being built without the number of parking spaces required by the zoning laws?

This is all about the democratic process – either take away the bylaw or allow the residents to vote for permit parking.
To not even consult and try to sneak this in is unbelievable!

I lived on Glen Stewart Crescent for at least 5 years and was surprised by the “no parking” signs on that street, whereas all other streets in the area had some kind of street parking. I don’t know if this new permit parking issue will address Glen Stewart (and I hope it does). I think equity is a good rationale for moving forward on this.

To me the issue is circumventing the By Law. I suppose there are times when an exemption may be necessary, but you either respect the By Law or you need to revoke it. Politicians are supposed to be about ‘policy’. We need our leaders to be good policy makers. We don’t need leaders being bogged down with noisy neighbor complaints, parking issues, squirrels, dogs, and endless unproductive meetings and perpetual consultations. We expect them to keep us informed and extend the courtesy of asking for an opinion. If this By Law is not a good policy then it needs to be addressed. As it stands it seems to require a neighbourhood poll, but somehow the requirements was abrogated. On the other hand I think polling and consulting would still produce the same result. The optics on this are very suspicious as well. I really do not like politicians who are judgemental and prejudice. In this case though the Councillor does make good points re: consistency and fairness. Her method and maybe her motivation may be questionable.

I assume the councillor’s pursuit of fairness will include merging 9C and 9D – she has basically said as much. She has repeatedly said she wants one standard for all parking in her Ward. It is very inequitable that all the wealthy home owners south of Queen have their own “beach” parking, while the rest of us are only permitted to park in 9C.

Given the councillor’s very clear public statements that she wants to address inequitable parking, if I were living in 9D, I would prepare to lose the exclusivity of the 9D parking permit. Given the councillors sneaky tactics, I would not expect any notice or warning. The days of 9D parking are clearly numbered. Have fun next summer!

Dear Councillor McMahon;

I, like most of my neighbours, am very disturbed by the decision on your part to unilaterally decide to open Pine Crescent up to permit parking.

We have submitted a petition showing more than 70% of the residents of Pine Crescent to be opposed.

I have read several interviews that you have given. Several of the residents on Pine have spoken with you on this matter following the motion you put forward and have relayed the content and tone of those conversations to me.

You have stated that you feel it is inequitable for some residents to have to pay for parking while others do not. This assumes that those residents on non-permitted streets do not pay for parking. With all due respect, that position can only be supported by willfully ignoring the facts.

Approximately 12% of the surface area of my lot is taken up by my driveway and garage. I pay $14,000+ in property tax and it is a reasonable extrapolation that $1,680 of that is related to the land area occupied by my driveway and garage. Alternatively, I could easily argue that the value of my home is substantially increased due to the on-property parking and that increased value is reflected in the assessment which is the basis for the property tax I pay.

While you may wish to argue about which method is appropriate to reflect the share of my property tax is related to on-property parking, it is an absolute mis-statement to say, as you have, that it is free.

You state that the…

I agree with everyone here strongly pointing out lack of courtesy and respect for properly communicating with citizens by Councillor McMahon’s office. I know firsthand she will say one thing as a politically mollifying gesture, but act totally opposing the way a voted-politician should act with fairness to a constituent in the right.

Every constituent needs to speak up and expose these tactless misdirections that Councillor McMahon’s office is becoming more well-known for these days.

The agendas of all too many councillors and the Mayor all lean to favouring corprations, developers and the wealthy.
This contradicts the standards of equality and fairness in the City Hall Code of Conduct that City Council is supposed to represent. These councillors need to be all held openly accountable to the public.

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