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Businesses not happy with proposed parking changes on Dundas St. West

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 | 8:52 AM
CBC News

Finding a place to park in Toronto could get a lot tougher in the coming months.

Toronto city council is considering broader restrictions on rush-hour parking along Dundas Street West.

The TTC says the restrictions are necessary to reduce streetcar delays. But business owners argue fewer parking spots will mean fewer customers.

“Taking the parking away is going to effect us really badly,” said Leonardo Pacheco, who owns an herbal medicine store.

He says his business depends on customers who use their cars.

“Because people can come here and stop for a few minutes and pick up a tea, or anything else. Pick up vitamins,” he said. “This is going to affect lots of businesses here, not just mine.”

Parking was long banned on both sides of Dundas West during rush hour. But in the fall of 2007 that was changed to allow parking on the “off-side” — westbound in the morning and eastbound during the afternoon.

TTC chairman Adam Giambrone says that has caused problems for the Dundas streetcar.

“The quality of the service diminished. The time it takes to pass through the area increased.”

Giambrone is proposing to limit off-side rush-hour parking.

“When you increase the amount of parking and therefore decrease the amount of vehicular capacity on the road it has a detrimental effect on streetcars,” said Giambrone.

Sylvia Fernandez of the Dundas West Business Association questions whether parking is to blame for slower streetcars and says the plan will harm her group’s efforts to make the neighbourhood more livable.

“To do that we need to improve the area and we need to attract businesses. And with no parking four hours of the day, it’s very difficult,” she said.

Fernandez says many Portuguese immigrants have moved out of the neighbourhood but still like to drive there to do their shopping.

“And the small businesses we have here — which are mainly family-run, family-owned businesses — really depend on this kind of business,” she said.

Council will vote on the parking restrictions at its meeting next week.