Nightmare of Night Time Parking for Contractors.
By Erin Stillaway.
We were painting a Downtown Toronto office for a well known marketing company. The first day of the job I drove to work. What a mistake that was. My initial plan was to park on Spadina, by the Center for Social Innovation building. I remember this was a cheap parking lot and a seven minutes walk to the job site. You could park there for $4 from four pm till six am. Apparently that had changed since I’d last been there and it wasn’t until after 6 pm that you could park for $3.
Tips for Condo Parking & downtown Parking finds
Taking transit is an option, however sometimes it takes you a very long time to get to where you need to go. Carpooling is another option, but in my case, I don’t live close to any of our painters. When we’re painting a downtown condo, we inquire about visitor parking or contractor’s parking at the condominium building. Sometimes we ask the customer if we can use their parking spot when they leave for work. They usually agree to it, as long as we leave before they come home at night. Most of the time there is available parking, you just have to ask.
We were painting a condo for a customer at the Ritz Carlton. You would think that in a building like that, contractor parking would be of low priority. It seemed that residents there get a lot of perks for their maintenance fee dollar. One of these perks is that the building management helps with the logistics of using contractors. After a lengthy but well organized registration period, we were practically escorted to the customer’s door.
When painting in a commercial building, it doesn’t hurt to ask the employees where they park and what their recommendation would be. After all, they know the area best and can be very helpful. Sometimes we pass the parking cost savings to the customer and they are happy to help out. Night parking usually gets cheaper after 6 pm but who wants to start work this late?
In underground parking lots the height clearance is relatively low for a contractor’s full size van. This is especially true in buildings that were built before SUVs and minivans were popular. For example, some of our vehicles have ladder racks and they don’t make it in underground buildings. Unless you want to park outdoors and far away, try using a smaller car to move equipment.
We’ve found a couple parking lots that are quite cheap. One is on Sullivan St just east of Spadina, and another is a spot at Queen St and Triller Ave just east of Roncevalles on the north side. When we used it about a month ago it was only five or six dollars for the day!
You can park for free on Liberty Village all along East Liberty Street. There are very few spots available but if you are lucky to find one, get it. Most condo buildings on Liberty have underground parking for contractors but they are not convenient and you have to walk a lot.
Parking on Gladstone Avenue north of Queen is still free, which is surprising considering the new condo development there.
If you know any more, please share with us in the comment section.
Green P and a Parking App
Green P Parking is a good and relatively inexpensive option. If you are lucky to work close to one of their locations, they have both indoor and outdoor lots. From their website:
“..It contributes significant revenues to the City’s general reserves while successfully meeting its mandate to provide safe, attractive, conveniently located and competitively priced off and on-street public parking, which is required by commercial strips and neighbouring residential areas to survive”. More about Green P here.
There is also this amazing parking app for your phone called “Toronto Parking Finder”. It will search the parking spots on the street and in lots nearest to you and will give you the best choice based on the price, and it includes the free parking spots. You can find the app here.
Parking on Residential Streets
Parking on the street can also be a solution. Don’t always assume that parking meters are more expensive than parking lots. Some meters on inner city streets are inexpensive. Parking around schools during their off hours is an option, but of course read the signs.
Reading the signs is very important and keep an eye out for signs blocked by trees in the summer. When parking on the street, keep an eye out for parking enforcement attendants patrolling the street as there is a one hour limit. Move the car two or three times a day, to avoid a ticket. In some residential you cannot park at night or earlier than 10 am. If you are working in a house with no driveway, ask the homeowner for parking suggestions.
Ecopainting is a Painting Contractor servicing clients in downtown Toronto. We hope you find our tips and parking experiences useful.
Note: this blog is first written in 2013 and updated in March of 2017. As of now the above information is still accurate but parking information is always changing.