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New Project Introduces On-Street Parking Spaces for Car Share Vehicles in Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / October 2, 2009

Auotshare Car TorontoIn a move designed to promote further alternatives to car ownership in the city, Toronto City Council has approved a proposal to allow car share vehicles to occupy reserved on-street parking spaces in selected areas throughout the downtown core.

The one-year pilot project, which is part of the Sustainable Transportation Initiative, includes 20 spaces in such areas as King and Yonge and the Entertainment District. Up until now, companies like Autoshare and Zipcar have had to use primarily private parking lots and spaces to store their vehicles. And although these are common throughout Toronto, the ability to utilize street parking will almost certainly increase both the visibility and convenience of car share programs city-wide.

The decision to pilot the program in Toronto comes on the heels of a proposal to build the city's first condominium without permanent parking spaces at the former site of the Royal Canadian Military Institute at Dundas and University streets, and at a time when citizen participation in car sharing is at an all time high. Zipcar's Toronto membership, for instance, has increased almost 40% since last year. And, according to the city of Toronto, between its fleet and that of Autoshare, there are now over 12 000 residents participating in car share services through the use of approximately 600 vehicles throughout the city.

Autoshare Car TorontoSimilar programs have been successful in other cities throughout North America, including Portland, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington DC.

Allan Brown, a Zipcar user and downtown resident, welcomes the increased ease that on-street car share spaces will provide. "Car sharing is already quite convenient, but it's a natural progression that such vehicles will now be located on city streets."

Autoshare founder, Kevin McLaughlin, believes that Toronto's willingness to pilot the project "is another example of [the city's] willingness to show leadership in sustainable transportation and carbon reduction." Naturally, Micheal Lende, General Manager for Zipcar Toronto also expressed enthusiasm over the project's approval. "We're thrilled with the leadership the City of Toronto is demonstrating by recognizing the importance of car sharing," he explained shortly after the proposal passed.

According to studies, one car share vehicle reduces approximately ten private cars from the road and can reduce a user's annual driving by as much as 50%.

Lead photo by Tim Shore, second by the robertson building of Flickr.



jack / October 2, 2009 at 10:55 am
that's gonna help the auto industry!
Corina / October 2, 2009 at 11:16 am
Is this really a new program? There have been street parked Zipcars for awhile now...

However now that I own my own car, I'm a little annoyed that the cheaper street spaces are going to be crowded out by company vehicles.
James / October 2, 2009 at 11:23 am

This is good progress.

Now if we could just get the TTC to agree to let carsharing companies use their parking lots, we'd be in business!

Its long since time car-sharing came to Kennedy Station!

N / October 2, 2009 at 11:26 am
600 vehicles - a drop in the bucket.
Derek / October 2, 2009 at 11:29 am
The program was just approved. If car share vehicles were using public streets for storage purposes prior to this, it wasn't city authorized. Of course, some Zip and Autoshare spots are directly beside public streets already... But the key here is that the car share companies have to buy (relatively inexpensive) permits to use public streets to store vehicles indefinitely.
jack / October 2, 2009 at 12:18 pm
the MINI cooper brand image is totally tarnished
cocoa / October 2, 2009 at 12:55 pm
I love this program. Glad the city is supporting it. 600 might be a drop in the bucket, but baby steps, you know?
AC / October 2, 2009 at 01:13 pm
Will the city also clear snow from around these vehicles so they can get out? Because Zipcar sure won't...
Alogon replying to a comment from J-Dawg / October 2, 2009 at 01:41 pm
"The sun is going to blow up someday"
Actually, the Sun will eventually become a Red Giant. Some time after this, because it has insufficient mass to generate temps high enough to fuse carbon at its core, it will evolve into a White Dwarf. Due to the Sun's mass being less than the Chandrasekhar Limit, the Sun will not become a supernova.
TokyoTuds / October 2, 2009 at 01:52 pm
I am an AutoShare member, and it would be a great idea if city on-street parking and Green P spots were offered free to further encourage the practice. I learned recently that motor-cycles do not have to pay for on-street spots, and I think this carrot would be appropriate here.
cocoa replying to a comment from Alogon / October 2, 2009 at 01:53 pm
Don't worry, Cillian Murphy <a href="";>is on the case!</a>
gadfly / October 2, 2009 at 01:59 pm
Another hare-brained city idea. Why would the city want to suppport private businesses like Zipcar, that exclusively buy foreign cars, BTW? If the city wants to treat all private motor vehicles as parriahs, that's one thing, but cherry picking the 'lessor of 2 evils' is a joke.
TokyoTuds replying to a comment from gadfly / October 2, 2009 at 02:12 pm
AutoShare where I am a member is Canadian owned and operated, and the fleet is mostly made up of Toyotas. These cars are all made in Canada by Canadian auto-workers: there are no imports in the fleet. I am supporting my family and friends in Ontario who work directly and indirectly for Toyota Canada.

The reason the city would want to support his idea is that it can reduce road congestion and pollution. The city report says it is revenue neutral, meaning the net cost is zero for the tax-payer. AutoShare and Zipcar will pay an annual parking fee for these on-street spots. My question is why wouldn't the city want to do this?

So what if AutoShare is a private business, all levels of government give some consideration to businesses to encourage good community outcomes whether it is increased employment or otherwise.
Alogon replying to a comment from gadfly / October 2, 2009 at 02:15 pm
Gadfly, you can't blame Zipcar for choosing the cars they do. They choose based on what people want, fuel-economy, cars that hold their value over time and cars that produce less carbon exhaust. American cars mostly don't fit that bill right now. Also, the vehicle manufacturers they buy from all have manufacturing plant in North America.
And to be correct, every car is a foreign car in Canada since we don't have a Canadian car maker.
The point of the project is to reduce traffic congestion and the use of private cars. Since these vehicles are shared, they do not fit the definition of private car.
Alogon replying to a comment from J-Dawg / October 2, 2009 at 02:18 pm
You missed the point, it won't blow up.
Alogon replying to a comment from J-Dawg / October 2, 2009 at 02:23 pm
Ok, but when it doesn't blow up, you owe me a dollar.
Alogon replying to a comment from J-Dawg / October 2, 2009 at 02:26 pm
I think you meant to reply to TokyoTuds, could I be right?
I never argued for support for Ontario's auto sector.
o_O / October 2, 2009 at 02:35 pm
I couldn't believe it when Denzil Minnan-Wong spoke out against this idea at city council yesterday. City Hall did something to support drivers and cars, and Minnan-Wong swatted down the idea saying that this was corporate welfare. Just goes to show that even the War on the Car mongers don't even believe in what they say, this is just all about right versus left.
TokyoTuds replying to a comment from Alogon / October 2, 2009 at 02:37 pm
The Ontario auto industry is not the banner I am flying. I was just making the point that Gadfly thinks supporting auto-sharing is a waste of the city's time and money. I agree that the auto bail-out money was a waste of money and that American car companies are dropping the ball.

But, as Alogon says, I DO take it a step further. I try to buy only from Canadian retailers (no Walmart no matter how cheap), Ontario fruits and vegetables over imports even if they are more expensive, and shop at mom & pop shops in my neighbourhood. None of this is to support auto-workers: it is to support Ontario agriculture and main-street retailing.

I think Alogon and J-Dawg and I are on the same page, really.
Meee replying to a comment from J-Dawg / October 2, 2009 at 02:50 pm
Denzil Minnan-Wong is a knob.

And Sandra Bussin is an idiot.
Tokyotuds replying to a comment from J-Dawg / October 2, 2009 at 03:55 pm
J-Dawg, you are persistent in disagreeing with me, just for the sake of doing so, I reckon.

The reasons to avoid Walmart are so numerous, one could write a book. Oh, somebody already did:

I am willing to bet that you worked there when Sam Walton was still alive: he seemed to have a conscience. Walmart is well known for squeezing suppliers ruthlessly, and I bet your old employer had to give up supplying Walmart to a Chinese competitor, or go broke trying to keep Walmart as a customer. I haven't been to Walmart in 10 years, and never will go again, even if they do stock some Canadian made goods. I'll buy your Leslieville made goods at another retailer, and keep those old friends of yours employed that way.

gadfly replying to a comment from TokyoTuds / October 2, 2009 at 06:00 pm
Wow, you've drank deep the Toyota Koolaid! Without this turning into a Japan Inc versus Detroit argument, all I can say is that I've worked for both Toyota and GM. Let me say that Toyota does not deserve the sterling reputation it does; it just happens to build shiny-happy cars for the right type of yuppies that write in places like the Toronto Star.
Of course, if you did any digging, you'd see that Consumers Reports mea culpa last year (due to the all the problems the V-6 Camry and new Avalon were having) ended that love affair, finally.
And, yes, Toyota does assemble a few vehicles here, but that is only to avoid any future protectionist motions of our governments. GM and Ford both build and DESIGN their vehicles here. The GM fuel cell vehicles were designed in Oshawa, as were the Impala and Equinox. Toyota and Honda import most of their parts from Japan and throw their cars together here so we can pat ourselves on the back because we are driving 'Canadian.' Ever driven the anemic Corolla? Do you think it's 'real world' gas mileage is the same as the Cobalt when pushed hard? Or do you not realize that both the EPA and Energuide numbers are generated on a dynometer in a lab?
But here's the $64,000 question: where are the value-added jobs. You know, the metallurgists, the chemists, the engineers who design the cars? Japan. Since the Auto Pact (and all the way back to McLaughlin) GM, Ford and Chrysler have invested billions in Canada so that we can stay in the game.
Who cares about a few assemlby line workers: no single item produced by Mankind results in anywhere near the same spin off technologies and advantages for society than the automotive industry. Exhibit A would be the fact that all of the G8 nations, and G20 for the most part, have healthy auto industries. All other nations are relegated to the back of the bus - and the G20 nations know this, which is why such a hue and cry was raised when they are threatened. Not even aerospace employs the same numbers of people or results in the same investments in all types of technologies, from fuels to plastics to electronics - the list is endless. Canada needs a piece of that action; not the lipservice the Toyota and Honda pay.

Anyway, as usual City Hall is taking a chain saw to the challenge of Toronto's traffic. Good grief - Toronto is a lousy 3 million people and we moan and groan about what can we do about our traffic? Gee, what did New York, Paris and other cities do when their cities hit 5, 10 and then 15 million?

This city needs to stop congratulating itself for being world-class and grow up. Our traffic is atrocious and throwing bandaids like propping up auto-sharing fads are not going to solve anything in the long run.

And J-dawg, the Ontario Milk Marketing Board ensures that no Japanese milk will get into Ontario, so you need not fret about what kind of milk to buy, just the bread.
Stu replying to a comment from jack / October 2, 2009 at 07:40 pm
Who said anything about helping the auto industry?

And it does help the auto industry cause its people in an automobile that wouldn't otherwise be in one.
TokyoTuds replying to a comment from Stu / October 2, 2009 at 09:47 pm
Gadfly brought it up when he asked why the purchase of "foreign" cars by car sharing clubs. I deeply regret replying to his question, as he now has the bit in his teeth, and just wants to sit back and take potshots at others who are trying to put forward positive ideas and be proactive in their actions.
parkdalian / October 2, 2009 at 11:06 pm
I personally don't mind these companies parking their cars in lots, but on the streets?? Are there really that many?

On the other hand, I'm all for alternative solutions to "single-rider" owned cars. And maybe by allowing these companies to park on the streets, in front of business, it may make people think twice about using personal cars to do simple "down-the-block" groceries. More cars off the road really.

So ya, good idea.
gadfly replying to a comment from TokyoTuds / October 3, 2009 at 07:54 am
The 'bit in his teeth' remark is very appropro: the tree huggers won't be satisfied until everyone is riding in a Tiny Tin Can, or riding a horse.
Let's just wind the clock back to the 1800s, then everyone can be happy. It's so much easier than actually having to move forward.
mondayjane / October 3, 2009 at 08:41 am
I actually wish street parking on main thoroughfares were abolished altogether.

It takes at least 15 minutes to drive from Bloor/Ossington to Bloor /Lansdowne - not in rush hour. Between the lack of left-turning lanes and parking on either side of Bloor (and College, and Dundas, and Queen, and King - never mind the pokey old streetcar tracks), no wonder people in this city have road rage - all the busiest streets are single-lane! It is entirely frustrating to drive anywhere. If you're going across town, unless you are hauling a heavy load the only sensible thing to do is take the subway.

I am an Autoshare member for one year now, and couldn't care less about whether I got to park on the street or in a Green P or on a quiet side street. I mostly use the shared car for trips to places that already HAVE parking (grocery stores, shopping centers, peoples' homes, etc).

TokyoTuds / October 3, 2009 at 10:42 am
See, gadfly spouts off again with no information, suggestions, or fact-based critique: troll.
gadfly replying to a comment from TokyoTuds / October 3, 2009 at 09:27 pm
I won't sink to your level. If name calling is the best you can do, others can judge for theirselves the value of your end of the 'discussion.'
TokyoTuds replying to a comment from gadfly / October 3, 2009 at 10:31 pm
Troll isn't name calling, it's a conclusion.
Alogon replying to a comment from gadfly / October 4, 2009 at 01:57 am
But the $billions invested by the US automakers weren't out of the goodness of their hearts. In fact out of $3.5 billion dollars invested by them, approx. $635 million of it was government money.
The Big 3 realized that with Canadian productivity being superior, lower taxes and production costs coupled with a free trade zone makes building in Canada an economic "no-brainer". In fact during the Auto Pact, the U.S. companies only kept blue-collar jobs here the same as you are deriding the japanese for. The Asian car companies see Canada as the more economical place to do business when selling to the US for the same reason I mentioned for the U.S. concerns so they build here for that reason as well. I doubt that they really spend so much money building plants here merely to avoid any weak government protectionism which they could complain to the World Trade Organization about the same as they did about the Auto Pact. Besides, that is something the US makes did as well, so that is two things you tried to use as a negative about the Japanese yet already applied to the US makers you were promoting.
I also disagree that no other industry except the auto industry has led to more spin-off tech. I think that would have to go to the military arms and vehicles industry. Many, many of the common products today were based on or developed from military products and R & D. This especially since the practice of war has been around much longer than the making of cars.
Alogon replying to a comment from gadfly / October 4, 2009 at 01:57 am
Above I forgot to note that it was $635 million of OUR government's money.
Joey / October 4, 2009 at 11:50 pm
Nothing is going to blow up. Now keep calm and carry on. OR ELSE.
Kevin McLaughlin replying to a comment from parkdalian / October 5, 2009 at 04:57 pm
A couple of comments related to the City's pilot project:
i) It is just that, a Pilot Project, for 1 year, to see how it works for everyone involved (and to look at things like appropriate fees etc..)
ii) Taxi's, for instance, do not pay anything to park at taxi stands all over the city - because the city sees these as important to our Transportation System
iii) Something like 40% of our parking spaces at surface lots have disappeared in the last 4 years, turned into condos & commercial buildings
iv) parking standards for condos & commercial buildings were not designed with modern ideas like car sharing in mind. This pilot project is important to help the city plan better for the next 30 - 50 years. Surely we can all see that there will be fewer private cars in our city, and more shared cars (and sorry, no flying cars). So for instance, more condos need parking that can also be made available to the public, or at least to a car sharing program.

While Zipcar & AutoShare may have less than 600 cars in Toronto today, that still translates into more than 20,000 people, oalmost 1% of Torontonians, using the service (or, about 3% of the old city, and as high as 5% in certain neighbourhoods). And we are growing every day, with access to suitable parking the biggest obstacle to becoming convenient in every neighbourhood.

Kevin McLaughlin
President & founder
Mike / October 6, 2009 at 09:30 am
^ Well said
Solex replying to a comment from TokyoTuds / October 17, 2009 at 03:07 am
So you still want people to be on welfare and UI using food banks, do you Tuds?

When are you going to stop this shit and accept that GM & Chrysler are the economic backbone of this province? That neither company can build mass transit vehicles? That what they're good at is what they're good at?
TokyoTuds / October 17, 2009 at 10:20 am
Who said anything about UI and Welfare?

GM and Chrysler are not the economic backbone of this province. They are a part of the automotive sector, which is apparently about 40% of all manufacturing in Canada. So, in fact all automotive in Canada employs less than 5% of workers, and GM and Chrysler a part of that:

Not to mention Chrysler went bankrupt earlier this year as did GM. Ontario has a diversified economy, thank goodness, and that will go along way to keeping people off UI and Welfare.

And finally, GM was a major public transit manufacturer building locomotives and buses for decades:

They should get back into it.
gadfly replying to a comment from TokyoTuds / October 17, 2009 at 05:54 pm
Well, thank God we have you to link us to all the 'accepted' websites. It would be terrible if people actually had an original thought or knew about what they were talking about.
TokyoTuds / October 17, 2009 at 06:04 pm
"See, gadfly spouts off again with no information, suggestions, or fact-based critique: troll."
Solex replying to a comment from TokyoTuds / October 17, 2009 at 11:35 pm
<blockquote>And finally, GM was a major public transit manufacturer building locomotives and buses for decades:

They should get back into it.</blockquote>

Except that they <i>don't</i> want to get back into it, Tuds-especially since there are companies making buses, streetcars, subways, and LRT's that do the job better than GM might, as I said before. GM's specializing in what they do best; making cars, trucks, and vans, and trying to make those cars cleaner (the upcoming Chevy Volt hybrid). With cars and vans like that, buses, subways, streetcars, and LRT's mean nothing to them.

FWIW, I support AutoShare & Zipcar, and wish both the best of luck.
TokyoTuds / October 18, 2009 at 11:10 am
Well, fair enough, it is only my opinion that they should get back into public transportation. How do you know they don't want to? My idea is not for GM to re-tool and make cookies.

There are huge opportunities in North America for making streetcars and subways as the only domestic maker is Bombardier. Siemens has a plant in Canada too, I think, but the profits leave the country (as do profits of foreign automakers, at least until GM and Chrysler's bankruptcies). There is more competition in the bus arena.

As I have said before, we need an integrated transportation network, which naturally includes cars and public transport. I feel auto-makers could get some nice incremental and not insignificant profits from having a public transportation division.
SURFNFX replying to a comment from AC / December 31, 2009 at 11:17 pm
I drive a city of Toronto snow plow. Yes we do bury your car if it is on a main street. But I do the major streets. The ones with the SNOW ROUTE signs. But if your parked on a SNOW ROUTE I will plow you in. Sorry but these route are cleared to help the EMT'S, FIRE DEPT and POLICE get to you. You would also curse if your way to work / shopping was not cleared for you.If shopping wait a day! It is a catch 22. PLEASE DO NOT PARK ON SNOW ROUTES AT ALL! NOW IF ONLY THE POLICE WOULD DO THERE JOB AND TOW YOU OFF THE SNOW ROUTE, THE JOB WOULD BE DONE FASTER AND CHEAPER! Cheaper means less taxes! BUT YOU PARK WHERE YOU WANT! So you have dig yourself out! Don't want to dig out the car? Park somewhere else!
SURFNFX / December 31, 2009 at 11:36 pm
BY THEY WAY IT IS ONLY 20 PARKING SPOTS IN THE WHOLE CITY! READ THE LINK TO THE SUBJECT! And AC if you did own a car you would have to dig it out anyway!
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