02/08/11 – By JORDAN MAXWELL
On Feb. 7, Toronto City Council voted in favour of bringing back the 70 parking spaces on Dundas Street between Dovercourt and Sterling Rds. which were taken away during former Adam Giambrone’s reign as councillor of Ward 18.
“Our past councillor was not a friend and people were very, very upset about what was happening,” said Lori Nytko, owner of the Full of Beans Coffee House and Roastery (1348 Dundas St. W).
Bailao told thebloordalepress.com that the left-turn restrictions would remain in place.
The decision to remove 42 per cent of parking paralyzed business owners who lost potential customers because they had to nowhere to park.
Nytko said that the decision to remove almost half the available spots not only paralyzed business in the area, but also made it unsafe for residents around the streets with the added second lanes.
“It’s really fast and it’s dangerous. There are a number of crosswalks people don’t stop at and if there’s only one lane of traffic to get in and out of the city, they might take safer routes,” said Nytko.
Robert Cavral, owner of Robert Automotive Supply and Hardware (1375 Dundas St. W), has been in business for over 35 years and scoffed at Giambrone’s original decision after his business began seeing a decline.
“Someone had lost a screw or something because that’s insane for something like to happen to a business-oriented street,” Cavral said.
Bailao also said that the Dundas West BIA led the charge to reverse the decision by filing a freedom of information (FOI) request to analyze Giambrone’s initial study that found that the spots were delaying transit services by 40 per cent.
“It was devastating,” said Sylvia Draper Fernandez, head of the Dundas West BIA. “Not only did they take the parking, but they made it a no-standing zone. So when you park quickly to go to the store, people would come back and find a $60 ticket.”
Fernandez said the ferocity of parking enforcement at City Hall gravely threatened business and prompted some folks to stop coming to the ward.
With virtually no place to park, Fernandez said that spaces between Sheridan Ave. and Brock Ave. were reduced from 25 to just eight.
After the FOI investigation into Giambrone’s reports, the BIA concluded that the reports in both March 2006 and March 2008 were inaccurate and “corrupted” and pressed for a more conclusive report after the motion was passed in October 2009, said Fernandez.
The final report given to the Dundas West BIA two weeks after Giambrone’s motion was also deemed to be insufficient.
Fernandez said that even a TTC streetcar superintendent said that the TTC delays had little do with parking.
Now, parking has returned and the five-year battle waged by the Dundas West BIA is over and Bailao continues to deliver on the campaign promises that seemed to elude ex-councillor Giambrone.
“It’s amazing. She has already broken the record for a councillor attending BIA board meeting,” Fernandez said in a jokingly austere tone.
Bailao said she plans to hand out a press release to residents to make them aware of the decision.
With files from Matthew Lopes, chief copy editor of the Bloordale Press.