Parking concerns at Kingston Road condos meeting

“No parking after 5 p.m.” isn’t a rule for people who live just south of Kingston Road near Main Street.

It’s just a pesky fact of life.

Speaking at a May 25 meeting about two new condos proposed for Kingston Road, neighbouring residents said street parking in the area is already bad, and the condos could make it worse.

A street-parking manager with the City of Toronto confirmed that area of the Upper Beach is close to capacity.

But the developer, Streetcar Developments, says the issue is largely out of their control.

“Our presence is somewhat immaterial to the overall, bigger problem,” said Jason Garland, vice-president of business and project development.

Streetcar plans to build one six-storey condo at 663 Kingston Rd, the former Dip ‘n Sip Donuts site on the southeast corner of Kingston and Southwood Drive.

Another six-storey condo is planned for 646 Kingston Rd., a site just west of Main Street that backs onto the Glen Davis ravine.

Together, the two condos would have 95 underground parking spaces for 107 suites – four fewer than city requires for the residents of those suites. Eleven more would be required if bylaws on visitor parking and parking for the ground-floor shops at 663 Kingston Rd. are strictly applied.

But even if they fall short of the city requirements, Aaron Knight, Streetcar’s development manager said the buildings are very well provided for.

That’s because after selling 90 per cent of the suites at 663 Kingston Rd., nearly half the purchasers waived the option to buy an underground parking spot.

It’s a trend Streetcar has seen over 15 condo projects across the city, said Garland. Buyers often leave a large surplus of empty parking spaces below the building.

But after hearing that underground spaces in the Kingston Road buildings cost between $25,000 and $30,000, several residents suggested buyers will simply favour a cheaper street-parking permit from the city.

Knight said that is a possibility, though he noted that many buyers prefer indoor parking if they can afford it, while others are forgoing car ownership altogether.

In any case, Knight said, given Streetcar’s past experience and the sales data so far, building more parking spaces for either condo on Kingston Road is unlikely to solve the problem.

Streetcar has already changed its original plan by buying a residential property east of 663 Kingston Road so it can expand the underground garage by 18 spaces. Streetcar plans to build a pair of townhouses on that additional site.

City councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon said there are several ways to improve street parking in the area.

On streets such as Glen Stewart Avenue and Glen Stewart Crescent, the free daytime street parking for non-permit holders is the city default: three hours.

Residents can petition to limit such non-permit parking to one or two hours, said McMahon, noting that where the limit is less than three, parking is automatically enforced, rather than complaint-driven. Adding some metered spaces for non-permit holders on flanking streets is another possibility, she said.

After one resident mentioned the seniors who have trouble walking up the hill to Glen Stewart Avenue when forced to park below it, McMahon said residents can apply for reserved accessibility spots.

McMahon also said residents can request that people living in the new condos be prohibited from buying a street-parking permit.

As it stands, condo dwellers can buy street parking even if underground spaces are available – the permits cost more than triple the permit for someone with no parking on-site, such as a house with no driveway, but it still less than a $25,000 indoor space amortized over 30 years.

“It’s not something I would like to do,” said McMahon. “I do feel as a taxpayer in the City of Toronto that I have the right to park on a road, because the road belongs to the public realm.”

“But it has been done,” she said. “There needs to be support for that.”

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