Parking Lot by Hobvias Sudoneighm
A lot of you have asked me about parking in Toronto, so I thought I'd gather the most important information and put together a guide for you. The parking law in Toronto is quite complicated and since this is just a general summary you should contact the appropriate authorities to help you with your specific situation. Still, most of the information in this guide can be applied to all kinds of situations.
The basic situation is that you can't park anywhere for more than three hours without a permit. First, we should define what kind of permits are available in Toronto.
The Alley of St Joseph Street Three by Anthony Easton
In most areas, there are two types of permits you can get:
Six and Twelve month term resident-only permits
This type of permit is issued to residents on a six month basis, but you can apply for a permit for two consecutive terms : December to May, or June to November. Fees for this permit vary according to a priority system based on need:
- No access to on-site parking for resident's first vehicle: $14.04/month plus HST
- No access to on-site parking for resident's second and any subsequent vehicles: $35.13/month plus HST
- Resident does have access to on-site parking (permit is for convenience): $49.18/month plus HST
Temporary resident or visitor permits
This type of permit provides 24-hour, 48-hour and weekly on-street parking within the limits of a permit parking street or area provided space is available.
- The cost for a 24-hour permit is $8.39 plus HST.
- The cost for a 48-hour permit is $12.59 plus HST.
- The cost for a one week permit is $19.66 plus HST.
Temporary parking permit can be purchased on-line up to maximum of 1 week in advance of the date required. If you need a longer permit, you have to visit the Permit Parking office, where you can purchase a permit up to a maximum of 2 weeks in advance or up to a maximum of 8 consecutive weeks.
Front Yard Parking by Danielle Scott
Accessible parking permits
There are four types of accessible parking permits:
- A regular permit (blue) is issued to people with permanent disabilities and is valid for five years.
- A temporary permit (red) is issued when the disability is expected to last more than two months, but is not a permanent disability.
- A traveller permit (purple) is valid for up to one year and is issued upon request to individuals who hold a valid Accessible Parking Permit and plan to fly from any Ontario airport.
- A company permit (green) is valid for up to five years and is issued to companies and non-profit organizations that own or lease vehicles used to transport people with physical disabilities.
Accessible parking permits are issued by the provincial government, Ministry of Transportation and placed on the dashboard. Applications can be picked up at any Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office. Persons with Disabled Parking Permits can apply for Designated Disabled Street Parking Spaces issued by the City's Transportation Services, Traffic Operations.
Freshly Painted Handicap Wheelchair Parking Sign in Parking Lot by D.Sharon Pruitt
- Accessible Parking Permits are free of charge.
If a person wants to obtain an Accessible Parking Permit, they must meet certain eligibility criteria. You can find them here. Medical condition must be certified by an Accessible Parking Permit (APP) program recognized health practitioner. You can apply for APP even if you do not own a car or have a driver's licence. This kind of permits are issued to individuals, they ensure a disabled person's ease of access anytime and from any vehicle.
Off-street parking is not available in all Toronto districts. You can find the licensed locations here. But even in the areas where this is possible, there are laws that can stop you from parking your car in front of your house. You may wonder why is there a law that forbids you to use your front yard as a parking spot, but the City of Toronto has its reasons for these regulations, like for example insuring the replenishment of ground water level to provide water to our trees, ensuring that our storm water system remains adequate to collect storm water or preventing the development of urban heat island effect that increases temperatures in cities.
Older houses didn't always have driveways and today owners have to build new ones. All new houses must be built with a driveway. You should be aware of that if you buy a house that has a driveway, this doesn't necessarily mean you have the right to park there. A front yard parking license isn't automatically transferred to the new owner of the property, therefore after buying a house, you have to apply for the licence. You can find the application here. You can apply for a licence providing that on-site parking is neither available nor feasibly accessible, by means of a driveway or a contiguous street or lane.
There are certain wards in Toronto where front yard/boulevard parking isn't available.
Application for a licence to park on any portion of a boulevard shall not be accepted for residential properties located within Wards
- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,7, 8, 9, 10, 16 (portion outside former City of Toronto, excluding the portion east of Avenue Road, south of Brooke Avenue in the former City of North York),
- 23, 24, 25 (portion outside former City of Toronto),
- 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 44.
A front yard parking application shall not be accepted for front yard parking for residential properties located within
- the area of the former City of Toronto in Wards 14, 18, 19, 20, 27, 28, 30, 31 and that portion of Ward 21 (located south of St. Clair Avenue West).
A front yard parking application shall not be accepted for residential properties located within
- Ward 26, which do not have an existing mutual driveway.
If you want to build a front yard parking pad, you have to follow certain conditions. You can find all of them in the by-law, but I've chosen some of them which I think most of people may need to know about.
- The front yard parking pad has to be constructed to slope upward at a 2 percent to 6 percent gradient from the rear edge of the sidewalk or curb, where no sidewalk exists, to the private property.
- The proposed front yard parking pad must be paved with permeable paving material.
- The width of the front yard parking pad must not be less than 2.2 metres and not more than 2.6 metres, except for a front yard parking pad licensed to the holder of a disabled person's parking permit which shall not be more than 3.66 metres in width.
- The total length of the front yard parking pad can not be less than 5.3 metres and not be more than 5.9 metres.
- Any driveway leading to a front yard parking pad must be maximum of 2.0 metres in length measured from the rear edge of the sidewalk or, where no sidewalk exists,the face of the curb or edge of the roadway and maximum of 2.6 metres in width.
- You can not park less than 0.3 metre from: the back edge of the public sidewalk, any door of any residential building (measured perpendicular to the door) the bottom step of any stairs, any basement or ground floor window in any residential building (measured perpendicular to the window, and in the case of a basement window).
- The front yard parking pad has to be situated vertical to the adjacent sidewalk and, if there is no sidewalk, vertical to the face of the curb.
- An angled front yard parking pad may be permitted only where there are obstructions such as fire hydrants, trees, and hydro poles or if the front yard or boulevard is not deep to accommodate the motor vehicle from being parked vertical to the adjacent sidewalk or curb.
- In the case of a mutual driveway, the proposed front yard parking pad cannot be located within the existing mutual driveway, but can be constructed adjacent to the mutual driveway, while maintaining the existing grade of the mutual driveway.
There are some other interesting rules regarding your private parking that the by-law from 2010, the most recent one, brought:
- If you have a single car garage you are allowed to park one car in the garage and one in the driveway.
- If you have a double car garage you can park two in the garage and two in the driveway.
This two rules apply mostly to the people who are building new houses, but if you want to update your old driveway, you should be aware that:
- If you own a single car garage and you want to widen your driveway for two cars, you would be declined the permit.
- If you had a double car garage you would be approved to widen your driveway.
When applying for a front yard parking licence and planning to build a front yard parking pad you also have to be aware of the conditions regarding landscaping.
Front yard post-landscaping by Robin Zebrowski
Front yard landscaping
- For lots less than 15 metres a minimum of 50 percent of the boulevard and front yard must be maintained as landscaped open space.
- For lots greater than 15 metres a minimum of 60 percent of the boulevard and front yard must be maintained as landscaped open space.
Front yard soft landscaping
- A minimum of 75 percent of the boulevard and front yard must be maintained as soft landscaping. The remaining 25 percent of this area will be permitted as hard surface such as walkways, patios, and other hard surface areas.
- Hard surface paving areas must be separated from driveways, front yard parking pads and walkways by means of a permanent physical barrier.
- Walkways located on the boulevard from the back edge of the sidewalk or back of curb to the property line shall not have a width greater than 1.05 metres.
*This is just a general summary and the conditions may vary depending on your lot size and characteristics as well as your location. For more information contact the appropriate District office.
To help you decide how much landscaping you have to have, here are some examples.
Determine your maximum driveway width:
1. You have to determine your lot frontage.
This is the distance between your side lot lines at the front of your lot.
2. You have to determine how wide your driveway can be.
With a lot frontage of 16 m, your maximum driveway width may be 6 m.
Determine your required front landscaping:
1. To determine the area of your front yard, you should multiply your lot frontage by your front yard setback.
In this case, the lot frontage is 16 m and the front yard setback is 6 m.
The area of the front yard is: 16m*6m = 96 square metres
2. Now determine how much of your front yard needs to be landscaped. The lot frontage in this case is 16 m, you are required to have 60% of your front yard as landscaped open space.
Determine required front yard soft landscaping:
First you have to determine the area of your front yard not including the area taken up by your driveway.
So, if the front yard area is 96 square metres and the driveway area is 6 m*4 m=24 square metres. Area not included is the front yard area minus the driveway area so 96 square metres - 24 square metres = 72 square metres.
The requirement for front yard soft landscaping is 75% of the front yard area, not including the area occupied by a driveway.
In our case 72 square metres (front yard area - driveway area) * 0.75= 54 square metres.
So, 54 square metres of your front yard area must be soft landscaping.
- No person shall remove a tree for the purpose of the front yard parking.
- If your license is revoked or expired, you have to plant a tree. If you don't do this on your own, the City will do it, but you will have to pay a fee.
Fall Street with Trees on Fire by Jarome Matthew
In an effort to maximize green space and preserve community streetscapes, the City currently has an incentive programs for restoring paved areas to sod:
If you are currently licensed for front yard parking but wish to relinquish the front yard parking licence and have the paved area restored to sod, the City, at its expense, will:
- Plant a City tree in the boulevard
in front of the house where feasible;
- Re-sod the boulevard area; or Re-sod the boulevard and front yard parking area;
- Remove the curb cut;
- Provide free downspout disconnection service
- Offer a free water conservation
audit to the property owner; and
- Where it is available in accordance with other City by-laws, provide one year's free on-street permit parking,for one vehicle in the household.
The preservation and planting of street trees is crucial to the main-
tenance of healthy residential streetscapes and can play an important role in minimizing the effect of Front Yard, Driveway Widening and Boulevard Parking. To provide sufficient space for tree growth and planting, it is necessary to limit the amount of paving or impervious material such as concrete or interlocking brick used in front yards and on City boulevards.
Fork in the Road by Loozrboy
Increased use of pervious materials will provide greater water infiltration to support trees and vegetation, in addition to diverting rainflow from the sewer system.
It is also important to consolidate tree planting areas to create places for trees to grow to maturity.
Paving in proximity to City trees must comply with the following specifications contained in Building Division Streetscape Manual:
TORONTO STREET TREES - GUIDE TO STANDARD PLANTING
Really helpful are also the questions and answers about the by-laws, you can find a lot of valuable information that can maybe be applied to your situation.
Another helpful resource is Parkingspots.com. This website is an "online parking marketplace". Find available parking spots online, reserve yourself a parking spot and start parking!!