Dear Urban Diplomat: how do we keep our neighbours from hogging all the parking spots?

Dear Urban Diplomat: how do we keep our neighbours from hogging all the parking spots?

Dear Urban Diplomat,

Cars parked on a residential street (Image: Chris Hunkeler/Flickr)
 

My wife and I live in the west end, where street parking is limited. There are two spaces in front of our house; if we don’t get one, we have to park way down the block or pay for a spot around the corner. A new couple to the neighbourhood now park one of their two cars in a way that hogs both spots, to save a place for the other. We chatted, and they said we have “too much time on our hands” if we’re monitoring their parking tactics, and that one of them often gets home late and doesn’t want to hunt for a spot. We have two young children, so parking closer helps us a lot too. Suggestions?

—Circling the Block, Hillcrest

Given your neighbours’ Machiavellian ways, it would be nice if the city had your back. But while it’s against bylaws to use traffic cones, chairs or house pets to reserve a parking space, hogging two with one car is not. So, you have two choices. Start a feud, complete with nasty notes and calls to the city every time they commit a minor infraction, like parking more than 30 centimetres from the curb. Or, preferably: kill their attitude with kindness. Host them and other neighbours for a barbecue, and make them see you’re more than just competitors for scarce parking resources. Once you’re all pals, hopefully they’ll be more inclined to park nice. If not, nobody will blame you if you invest in a tape measure.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com