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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The car-sharing debate isn't over in Toronto

Two months ago, the world's largest car-sharing service left Toronto in a fit of fury, shaking its fist at City Council on the way out for refusing to even test a free-floating car-share pilot on residential streets.

Now, the issue is coming up at City Hall once again — and if councillor Mike Layton's updated version of the original policy is adopted, Car2go might come back to The 6ix, no doubt pleasing roughly the 80,000 Torontonians who once used the service.

"Until now, car-share vehicles needed to be parked in a limited number of dedicated parking spots – this is about to change," wrote Layton on his website last week in an appeal for citizens to sign a petition.

"We know there are over 200,000 residents who use car-sharing services in Toronto. Let’s make sure our voices are heard loud and clear," he continued. "Reducing car ownership can reduce parking pressure on neighbourhood streets and reduce traffic congestion on city streets."

Layton explains that a proposal going before council tomorrow is to start a pilot program for roaming parking permits, and only for a limited amount of car-share vehicles.

"There will be rules to help avoid bunching many car-share cars on single streets, restrict parking in areas which are already oversubscribed for parking permits, and ensuring vehicles aren’t parking illegally," he noted.

The pilot would allow eligible Toronto residents to park on the street in areas with overnight parking permits when they want to end their trips, as opposed to taking car-share vehicles back to a small, specific lot.

While City Council did shoot down a similar proposal earlier this year (the vote was a decisive 30-2), the revised version of it has some key differences thanks to the input of seven different car-share companies that Layton says will "improve the viability of the Free-Floating Car-Share Pilot."

Transportation Services, which authored the report, recommends the following two major changes:

  • that the beginning of the 18 month pilot be established as the first month in which Free-Floating Car Share pilot permits are issued, and that Transportation Services report back to Public Works and Infrastructure Committee on the findings of the pilot project and a recommended way forward following completion of twelve months of pilot operation; and
  • that City Council revise the authority granted to Community Council to add/remove and/or exclude a street and/or area from the pilot to take effect six (6) months after the commencement of the pilot, so that it shall take effect twelve (12) months after the commencement of the pilot, and that Council reconsider the need for such delegated authority at the time of the report back on the pilot.

There's a chance City Council will vote differently this time around, swayed by the backlash from citizens after Car2go left, but only time can tell. 

If things go as they should, we'll find out during another marathon meeting at City Hall on Wednesday.

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

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