By Kelsey Brennan
Two weeks ago, third-year image arts student Kaja Tirrul parked her car in front of the Image Arts building on Bond Street, turned the four-way flashers on, and ran inside to drop off props and materials from a photo shoot she had been working on. When she returned five minutes later, a yellow parking ticket fluttered from under her windshield wipers. She has yet to pay the $30 ticket because she thinks it’s “ridiculous” that she got ticketed so fast when she was simply trying to drop off borrowed materials.
As Tirrul points out, there is some garage parking nearby, but in the case of a quick equipment return or library pick-up, street level parking is more convenient — and absent on campus, students say.
“There’s a parking garage up the street, but it doesn’t make sense to drive down there and pay $10 if you’re only going to take five minutes,” she said. With the pick up and drop off of heavy equipment clashed with the diligence of parking authorities doling out tickets on a regular basis, those who are in and out of the school within seconds are slapped with parking fines leaving them feeling apprehensive about driving downtown.
The St. Lawrence Co-Op Daycare, on 4 Market St. offers three parking spaces in front of the building. Parking is strictly enforced at 10-minute intervals, and only allowed from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m., from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
This is something Ryerson will try to consider as it goes forward in its Master Plan for revitalizing campus, said President Sheldon Levy. “If there’s a way of accommodating the students (who are having trouble with parking) we’ll work on it,” he said.
The plan currently includes goals to track the travel habits of faculty, staff and students and to analyze current parking provisions. “Transportation is a central consideration in developing the new campus plan,” said master plan official, Marianne McKenna.
School officials are not the only ones who want to see changes in and around the downtown campus.
Kyle Rae, city councillor for Ward 27, the area encompassing Toronto centre and Rosedale, serves on the board of directors of the Toronto Parking Authority. He has also shown a good deal of support for Ryerson’s Master Plan.
Ward 27 not only encompasses Ryerson University, but also a section of the University of Toronto. Rae embraces the student populations and is dedicated to serving the unique needs they present in the area.
“My focus has been on alternative transportation to lessen the gridlock, but parking remains an important issue in the downtown core,” said Rae. “I’m working together with the school to increase accessibility for all students.”
Five citizens appointed by city council, as well as two city councillors, run the Toronto Parking Authority. They operate approximately 17,500 on-street spaces around Toronto.
The parking enforcement unit of the Toronto Police Services enforces those spaces, as well as illegal parking in non-designated areas. Street level parking in non-designated areas is only available by parking permit, which are available for periods of six months to a year.
Weekly permits are also available for temporary residents and visitors, but not for students. Visitor parking passes cost approximately $15 per week, and are only available for eight consecutive weeks. Even after the ticket is received, there is still a way out.
The Toronto Police considers certain circumstances surrounding some violations, including prohibited parking areas, expired meters, and exceeding time limits. So there’s a chance Tirrul can spend that $30 on something more pleasant.
— with files from Sarah Boesveld