Being labeled one of the Top 20 worst cities in the world for parking by an IBM study on commuter pain, I feel as though my experience may have some relevance to my fellow Torontonians. Let me begin with my personal experience, and then I’ll give you a broader picture of how screwed up the temporary parking permit system is in Toronto.
I wanted to park for 24 hours here, on sunny Beverley Street near the University of Toronto.
View Larger Map
So I went online and clicked on the new temporary permit parking link on the City of Toronto’s website. Followed through the instructions and read the disclaimers and terms. One term I paid particular attention to was the following:
Where parking meters or parking machines have been erected on a portion of a road in a permit parking area, the holder of a valid permit for that area shall not be required to deposit payment in the meter or parking machine, subject to the permit being properly displayed. [Source]
I noted this because Beverley Street has parking meters which I have so lovingly fed many times before. Next they ask me where I want to park. I put in the address, 222 Beverley, and say for 24 hours starting from 2pm that afternoon to 2pm the following day. The site came back with something similar to the following message:
Excellent! Parking was valid from 2pm to 2pm on 222 Beverley St for $9.04. That’s way cheaper and more convenient than filling up the meter! I was genuinely excited. I download the parking instructions. You can find that here if you’re interested in reading through the particulars. Here’s a convenient map of the area (6D) outlining the permit parking area:
The information in the PDF also talks a fair bit about the distinction between zoned parking and street parking. Zones help maximize the available parking by grouping a number of streets together. Beverley Street is in a zone. My little printed ticket (which I got after filling in my credit card info, license plate and all that), had big 6D letters on it. Zone. Got it. In the middle of the PDF you’ll find the line:
Permits issued on an area basis will have the corresponding area shown on the face of the permit. A permit holder with such a permit may park on any street authorized and signed, which bears the same area code. [Emphasis their own]
So, go ahead and check for me, Beverley Street is in the zone, right? Heck they even printed “222 Beverley Street” on the “Step 1 – Space is available“ page above. I was thrilled. This was going to be great.
Fast forward a few hours later and it’s 9 o’ clock. Paid parking is over anyways (ends at 9pm and you can park overnight for free until 8am), but I step out of my
Porsche 911 Turbo Pontiac Sunfire and place the temporary permit on my dash. Then I head off on my merry way and don’t come back to my car until the next morning at 8am.
BLAMO! $30 ticket for failing to display receipt in windshield. I got this shot of the two pieces of paper beside each other. Like any good detective, I needed to reconstruct the events, so I made a timeline.
Confused? Join the club.
The bigger, badder, uglier picture
There are two primary cases that can cause major confusion (and steep tickets):
- Parking on a street with a “No parking except by permit only” allows you to park on that street with a temporary permit. Even if during the day, that part of the street is metered (paid) parking.
- Parking on a street in absence of the “No parking except by permit only” sign above means you cannot park on the street without paying the meter. Even if the city charged you for a temporary permit valid for that street number and street.
- Daily metered parking has no affect on whether or not your temporary permit is valid [Source]
- Only in the presence of a “no parking except by permit” sign allows you to park there willy-nilly all day long
- The lack of sign (which you are unaware of unless you read this website) implies you will be charged about $30 in addition to the $20 you paid for permit parking.