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“P” stands for Pricey Parking in Toronto

Courtesy: Flickr Commons

Courtesy: Flickr Commons

One of the many issues in Toronto is parking. Just ask drivers. It’s often talked about; especially by those who drive to Toronto every day for work or school. Complaints about parking echo, especially in the downtown area.

With the holiday season approaching, some of us drive down south. But for those who shop downtown, parking can be a hassle.

“It just gets too busy in traffic and there aren’t too many places to park,” said Margaret, who has been driving for six years in Toronto but does not like driving downtown.

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A transit agency expert’s advice to Torontonians is to live close to work and use public transit.

“I would recommend anyone living in the downtown area not to buy a car before they’ve thought about using public transport and shared car rentals and rent a car probably on a weekend to go out of town or something,” said Anthony Cooper, who volunteers for Travellers’ Aid Society.

The agency has a booth at Union Station to provide information and direction to commuters. It has over 25 volunteers who answer questions about sightseeing in the city and help newbies find their destinations.

But what if you already own a car or you can’t afford to live downtown to dismiss the idea of a private vehicle? What do you do about parking? Cooper’s choice is Green P Parking.

“I would always recommend Green P Parking in the downtown area. It offers the best value in terms of money. There’s absolutely no doubt about it,” he said.

“There’s one near Union Station which is at University and York and that’s Green P. It’s very quick for going to Union Station or if you want to go to the CN Tower, or the Rogers Centre. That one is essential in the downtown area,” said Cooper.

He is also a fan of a lot west of York Street, across from the Harbourfront.

“Another very good Green P which I sometimes use is on Bloor Street just next to the InterContinental Hotel. It’s the corner of Prince Arthur Avenue – very convenient and flexible,” he said.

And if you’re shopping downtown this holiday, consider three Green P parking lots which are only a block away from each other, said president of the Toronto Parking Authority, Lorne Persiko.

First, the Dundas Square garage across from Eaton Centre, which has a direct connection to the shopping mall, secondly, the city hall garage, which isn’t too far, and thirdly, the lot on the east side of Yonge “which is just east of Victoria Street across from St. Michael’s hospital,” said Persiko.

Persiko confirmed parking in the city is expensive, hence the complaints. But Green P believes in affordable parking, he said.

“Our pricing is fair. I think it’s below. Our rates are probably equal to the competition in the private sector but our half hour rates are below, so it’s cheaper,” said Persiko.

Cooper said we complain because there is limited parking in the city.

“Like 10, 15 years ago there used to be a lot of car parks and now they have condominiums and office buildings on them. But having said that there are car parks underneath them, but you have to pay a fortune to use them,” said Cooper.

“I would (also) blame it on the construction right now in the city.”

“A lot of the places are $4 for a half hour – these are private car parks and go under condominium buildings and office buildings. Each time I see them $4 for a half hour it’s a bit extreme,” said Cooper.

Cooper’s tip for drivers is to keep their eyes out for weekend parking because there are no business drivers on the streets.

“Sometimes after 5 or 6 p.m. on Friday evening you can get some good deals on York Street and Richmond Street. There’s a car park next to The Keg. They have some good deals on Friday in the evening and all day Saturday and Sunday. A lot of these car parks downtown lower their prices on the weekend,” he said.

Both parking experts’ advice to Torontonians is to consider the public transit. And if you want our advice, try the Green P Parking app if you must drive downtown.

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