We continue to hear complaints about the lack of parking on the Bayview Avenue commercial strip. It is even sometimes blamed for the local shops losing business to the shopping centres and the big box stores with their huge parking lots.
We are quite sympathetic to this. However, we also fear shoppers are not taking advantage of parking that is available in the area.
On days when Bayview is fully parked up and cars are trolling the strip for an opening — which is just about any day — we’ve found the three parking lots at the Millwood Road corner have plenty of space.
On a recent Thursday at 11 a.m., the underground parking below the TD Canada Trust bank, the lot above the bank and the city lot immediately south of the bank all featured more empty spaces than parked cars.
On a subsequent Saturday at about noon hour — with Bayview buzzing with life — we checked the same lots. More cars were parked there, as expected. But still we saw four spaces underground, five spaces above, and seven in the open lot. That’s 16 spaces in total.
We monitored them for an hour and they never came close to filling up.
This mirrors what we’ve found in several other midtown areas. While drivers and merchants bemoan the lack of parking on the streets in front of the shops, nearby lots just off the strips go wanting business.
Ah, “off the strips” — no wonder people don’t park there. Who wants to walk all that way? And if you’re shopping on Bayview north of Millwood, you wouldn’t want to stroll all that way from just south of Millwood, would you?
Yet, many people will park blocks away in the residential areas, where parking is free, and then trek over to the main drag.
Some years ago the city proposed knocking down the building at 1560 Bayview Ave. to put in parking right in the middle of the strip. Naturally, local residents and merchants were up in arms over it and the idea was scrapped. (We remember it well because Town Crier offices were in that building then.)
But without such a drastic plan, we are left with trying to make better use of the facilities we currently have. We should encourage our customers and neighbours to better use the locally available parking lots.
Then, if they are filled, we can go back to our complaining.