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Soknacki wants to ban parking on major Toronto streets

Toronto mayoral candidate David Soknacki has proposed banning parking on major streets in the downtown core to ease traffic congestion.

According to his plan, there would be no parking on arterial routes from Bloor Street to Front Street and Spadina Avenue to Jarvis Street — on roads like Bloor Street, College Street and University Avenue.

“Gridlock is such a reality that lane space on key roads is more valuable to move people than it is to park cars,” Soknacki said.

“This is an opportunity for us to reexamine our public infrastructure.”

Soknacki said the ban would ease gridlock, by making way for more cars, transit and cycling. It would also allow the city to expand and beautify sidewalks.

“For us to use this public space the best for all of us is the goal,” he said.

The Entertainment District BIA said there’s only a handful of street-level parking lots left in its neighbourhood and a ban would be a serious blow to the restaurants and theatres in the area.

Executive director Janice Solomon also pointed out the city is already taking measures to ease congestion, like extending its “no parking” hours.

“Right now it feels like another layer of restriction until we’ve tried the other measures and seen how they work,” she said.

Soknacki said the plan would be open for consultation and could be phased in over three years, from 2017-2019. He said the city could work with private companies to develop as many as eight multi-level Green P parkades to compensate for the lost spots.

He said other major cities like New York, Montreal and Philadelphia also have severe limits on street downtown parking on key thoroughfares and Toronto itself has tried the approach before.

Mayor William Stewart pushed for a similar ban in 1931, which Socknacki said reduced gridlock but was cancelled due to complaints about lost business.

Click here to read more about the proposal.

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