My ears are burning from the tongue-lashing I am getting for my position on allowing overnight parking during the summer. Since the issue wasn't debated last night, I need to clarify.
First of all, I didn't vote against overnight parking, I voted against re-considering a motion on which council had already taken a position only a few weeks earlier. Had a motion come forward that addressed the concerns that I had at that time, I would have been happy to discuss and consider the possibilities. But that was not the case.
I supported the pilot project for last year and, for the most part, it seems to have been successful but it was not an unqualified success for all neighbourhoods. In some areas it worked very well; in others it turned neighbourhood streets into virtual parking lots to the distress of the residents.
In my area, for example, overnight parking is not a problem. There is the occasional house party that needs to be accommodated and nobody minds. But if you live in a residential area close to downtown, especially if you live close to the bar district, you will have people parking in front of your house all day every day and all night every night. Forget about your overnight guests. There is no room for them.
Small lots and high densities present additional problems, with more people choosing to leave their cars conveniently on the street rather than parking in their driveways. This creates safety hazards for children and drivers backing out of their driveways.
Then, there are the areas with a high proportion of students (even in the summertime) where house parties are likely to be a standard feature rather than an occasional event.
What we need is a system of controlled overnight parking that addresses the needs of visitors to our community, the right of residents to enjoyment of their property, and the costs of parking to the taxpayer.
Councillor Judy Bryant brought forward an excellent request that would have allowed council to do just that. Unfortunately, the committee (the Environment and Transportation Committee) receiving that request ignored it and instead recommended doing what had already been turned down by council because it didn't address those concerns. I am confident that if we re-visit Councillor Bryant's original request, we can find a balanced solution to the overnight summer parking issue.
With a little time and effort, and a modicum of cooperation among council members, we can create a by-law that works for everyone. But we have to stop approaching this as an all or nothing situation. We can make the compromises that the residents deserve and I think we can do it before summer if we put our minds to it.