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Why residents near St. Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener want street permit parking to end


Some of the residents living near St. Mary’s General Hospital are petitioning the City of Kitchener to end its requirement for on-street visitor parking permits.

For the last 20 years, drivers parking on Glen Road and other streets in the area needed to display a permit.

The system was put in place to ease parking pressures caused by the nearby hospital.

Now that more parking lots have been added over the years, some residents say it’s time for the permits to go.

“You’re only given two permits so basically you’re only allowed two visitors. So if you have a birthday party or something and you’ve got five visitors, you don’t have anything to support those visitors,” explained Curtis Collins, who has lived on Glen Road for more than 25 years. “They added an additional parking lot on Queen Street so the idea of all these extra vehicles has been alleviated, and they increased the size of the parking lot, too.”

Residents can contact the city to get additional permits for special occasions or circumstances. The permits have a three-hour parking limit and can only be used by a visitor of a nearby property. Even homeowners can’t use them.

“I’m not allowed to park on the road with that permit. I don’t see why we need the permits,” said resident Mike McKelvie, adding that if something was going on in his driveway, or he wanted to allow his guests to park in the driveway, he isn’t permitted to use the street.

Mike McKelvie, Curtis Collins and Anibal Martens (from left to right) are in support of dropping visitor parking permit requirements on Glen Road. (Stefanie Davis/CTV Kitchener)

Anibal Martens, who has lived on Glen Road for about 37 years, also wants to get rid of parking permits.

“I’d like it to be the same as it was before,” Martens said, referring to way it was back in 2004.

Collins noted that some streets around Grand River Hospital don’t have the same parking requirements - some offer free two hour parking to anyone.

“They don’t have a permit system, so I wonder why we need a permit system,” he asked.

After consulting with City of Kitchener staff, Collins visited houses on the street with a petition calling for the permit requirements to be removed.

He said the majority of homeowners he contacted were in favour of the change, though some were against it and others did not respond to his inquiry.

When the petition was presented to the Community and Infrastructure Services Committee meeting on March 25, city staff said they called around to the people who responded to confirm their stance and identity.

Then they recommended that council drop the parking permit requirement, citing the petition results. City staff said the street is wide enough to offer parking on both sides.

Two residents who spoke as delegations at the meeting said they felt more consultation was needed before any moves were made.

“I’m not for or against this movement. I want to make sure it’s done properly with the accurate numbers,” one of them said.

Another voiced concern about what the street would look like if permits were no longer required.

“Hospital visitors, visitors to properties on the surrounding streets and visitors to the two parks in the area would take advantage of the free three hour parking,” the resident argued.

Councillors discussed the matter. They voted against a motion asking for more consultation with the neighbourhood and the hospital, and then against any changes at all.  

“These were difficult discussions at the time, many years ago, and I’m not sure that everyone fully understands the impact,” Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said at the March 25 meeting. “Looking at it from a single road perspective and leaving [permits] in place in others, it’s only going to – in my view – move the problem onto this road. I think without that broader conversation and without a conversation with our hospital partners, which I think is absolutely key but I respect the decision of this group, I can’t support it in its present form.”

Collins hopes city council will reconsider.

“If [people] want to park on our street, that’s fine. I think they should be allowed the opportunity.”

In a statement, the City of Kitchener explained permit parking is on some streets around the hospital “to limit hospital visitor on-street parking and ensure there is on-street parking available for local residents and their visitors.” Top Stories

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