In a matter of days, hundreds of commuters will be scrambling for parking with the closure of Wilson Station’s west lot and its 610 spots.
The City declared the lot surplus, allowing Build Toronto to turn it into retail space.
Now, a group of savvy entrepreneurs is trying to turn the closure into an opportunity.
It’s been canvasing commuters and nearby homeowners, hoping to connect both sides.
“We came out here and flyer-ed over a thousand cars and reached out to a number of people in the community who have driveways and parking pads who could benefit from extra money, especially over the holidays,” said Sarah Selhi co-founder of the online community SpaceiShare.
“We are trying to put those people together so commuters are not driving in circles when there is limited supply.”
SpaceiShare launched in July with the goal of connecting people looking for storage with homeowners who had space to spare.
They’re now expending to parking.
“Space is a premium here in Toronto,” said co-founder Karen Wong. “It’s important we start connecting people and be part of the shared economy.”
At Wilson Station on Tuesday, there appeared to be an appetite for renting a parking space in the area.
York University student David parks at Wilson every day and doesn’t yet have a plan for when the lot closes on Thursday.
“My friend and I already considered renting a spot nearby,” he said. “We just don’t know where to start. Maybe we start knocking on doors.”
Dianna, who often parks in the lot to commute downtown will also be looking for a rental.
“I know people who do it already,” she said. “They’re using alternatives — neighbourhood parking lots and houses that have a spot to rent.”
In a small subdivision across from Downsview Station a couple of homeowners are planning to list their driveways, calling it a win-win.
“Everybody is scrambling — There’s always a shortage,” said Wendy. “Our street is close to Downsview and people will be parking on our street if there is not a parking solution.”
But not everyone is on board. Nina, who lives a few blocks away from Wendy, had concerns.
“Definitely increased traffic would be the first thing I think about,” she said. “Our street is already busy as it is. So, I would just imagine it being even busier.
“There are kids around and it wouldn’t be ideal.”
Commuters pay $3 to $4 a day to park at Wilson Station. Renting a spot from a homeowner would could cost anywhere from $80 to $150 a month depending on proximity to the subway.