June 20, 2014 3:55 pm

Ban street parking downtown to ease gridlock, Soknacki says

WATCH: David Soknacki says the parking ban would be limited to arterial streets, leaving smaller side streets alone.

TORONTO – David Soknacki wants to end street parking in Toronto’s downtown core.

If elected mayor, the candidate announced Friday morning, phase out street parking between Bloor and Front streets and between Spadina and Jarvis in an attempt to ease gridlock.

The plan would be phased in over three years (2017-2019) and, ideally, would free up space for more cars and cyclists to use the road.

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“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 in a press release. “New private and public off-street parking can compensate for parking demand over the course of the phase-out.”

Jared Kolb, the executive direction of Cycle Toronto, said eliminating street parking downtown would break down a major barrier preventing the city from building more cycling infrastructure.

“Our downtown streets aren’t getting any wider, so it’s a question: Should our main thoroughfares be used to move road users or should it be used for vehicle storage?” he said.

Kolb also welcomed the idea of building more off-street parking – Green P parking for example – that would still provide places for drivers to park.

Soknacki’s idea may not hurt businesses much, either. A 2009 study of business in the Annex neighbourhood by the Toronto Clean Air Partnership found that 90 per cent of the area’s patrons walk, cycle or take public transit. Only ten per cent of patrons drive to the area.

Soknacki noted it’s been tried in Toronto before – in 1931.

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