Soon it may be more difficult for west-enders who commute from Kipling and Islington stations to find a place to park their cars and get on the Better Way. Nearly 400 spots, at two Islington lots and one Kipling lot — will be shut down for six weeks starting this weekend.
The lots are closing because Hydro One is upgrading power delivery to the western part of the city, including for the upcoming Eglinton Crosstown LRT.
“They need to get into our lots at Kipling and Islington. That will result in about a quarter of the spaces being lost,” says TTC spokesperson Stuart Green. “It’s a short-term inconvenience but it’s important work.”
Hydro One is upgrading a transformer station and 10 km of power lines, some of which run above the lots. To do the work safely, they’re closing the affected areas to drivers. This has regular commuters worried.
“I don’t know where people are going to park, they don’t give them much choice anymore,” says commuter John Settino.
Settino says he may end up taking the bus to Islington Station from the Islington and Finch area.
Other commuters are already feeling the pressure, as the lots are often at, or close to, capacity.
“We intentionally came here early this morning to find a spot, so that’s going to be rough,” says commuter Olivia Gallagher, who parks at Islington every day. “The other day, because I missed a parking spot here, I had to pay $18.”
Islington Station has been losing parking capacity since 2016, when the TTC permanently shut down the Cordova lot — losing 473 spots.
And in April of this year, the Fieldway lot at Islington was completely shut down for renovations – putting 160 spots out of commission until November. That’s in addition to the partial Hydro One closures at Islington’s main lot (losing 200 of 534 spaces), the Lomond Drive lot (losing 75 of 283 spots),and Kipling’s south lot (losing 115 of 829 places).
With all closures considered, Islington Station alone has 748 fewer spaces than it did two years ago, though half are set to return.
The TTC’s Green says the transit agency worked with Hydro One to limit the inconvenience to commuters.
“We did some work with Hydro One to reduce not only the size of the length of closures, but the length of time. Originally, a couple of these lots were going to close in their entirety for an eight-week period of time,” says Green. “Hydro One was very cooperative and worked with us to get that down to a six-week period and about a quarter of the spaces in those lots. So, it’s less than 400 spaces, from over 1,600 spaces, will be closed during this work.”
In a statement last month, Hydro One said its crews would be working “from dawn until dusk” to get the work done.
“A typical project of this nature could take several months; however, Hydro One will be using every available crew to complete the project as safely and quickly as possible within four to six weeks,” said Natalie Poole-Moffatt, vice president of customer and corporate affairs at Hydro One, in a statement.
While the work is being done, the TTC is advising commuters to plan ahead and arrive early to secure a spot or to make alternate arrangements.