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Commuter parking given thumbs down

City can spend money elsewhere, budget chief says

By Paul Moloney
Toronto Star City Hall Bureau

Toronto budget overseers are “dolts” for refusing to fund expanded commuter parking at outlying subway stations, TTC chairman Howard Moscoe has charged.

Moscoe had wanted to use $5 million from a GO Transit surplus received by the city to add 1,200 spaces at Kipling, Downsview, Wilson, Finch and Kennedy stations - part of a two-phase project endorsed by the TTC.

Because every new parking space yields $1,000 annually in additional fare revenue, the project would pay for itself in four years and two months, he told council’s transportation committee yesterday.

The 12,300-space commuter lots are jammed weekdays and more subway riders would be attracted if they were expanded, TTC route planning supervisor Bill Dawson told the committee.

“There is a pent-up demand for commuter parking and it’s quite large,” Dawson said.

Moscoe (North York Spadina) said the project - which would need money from the city to proceed - would entice commuters from the 905 region to park their cars and take the subway rather than drive downtown, reducing traffic congestion and smog.

“For every person we can get out of their car from the 905 on to public transit, it’s a lot of money for us,” he added.

TTC chief general manager Rick Ducharme agreed that the cost of adding parking would be quickly repaid through fares.

“There is a business case,” Ducharme said in an interview.

But the city’s budget committee, chaired by Councillor Tom Jakobek, rejected the expansion plan.

“It’s a no-brainer, but apparently there are a lot of people around here that have no brains and can’t multiply,” Moscoe said in an interview.

“They have to start thinking like business people. The mayor thinks like a business person, but he’s got a bunch of dolts around him that can’t even think.”

Jakobek responded: “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.”

Jakobek (East Toronto) said the city needs the GO Transit surplus for other purposes and can’t afford to spend it on commuter parking.

“As far as we’re concerned, we’re struggling with a zero tax increase, we’re struggling to maintain the services we have, not expand free parking,” he added.

“As far as we’re concerned, we’re struggling with a zero tax increase, we’re struggling to maintain the services we have, not expand free parking,” he added.

Moscoe said he hopes the money can still be found to revive the project.

The second phase calls for another 6,500 spaces at Kipling, Downsview, Wilson, Finch and Kennedy stations. The cost is $35 million, which would include construction of parking garages as well as surface parking.




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