Street parking allowed for 5 hours a week to accommodate Windsor Mosque members

Street parking allowed for 5 hours a week to accommodate Windsor Mosque members
Temporary parking approved around Windsor Mosque
Parking has been an issue in a south Windsor neighbourhood near Northwood Street and Dominion Boulevard for some time, but on Monday night, Windsor city council voted on a bylaw amendment to provide a short-term solution.

Council members voted to permit parking on Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. year-round for the next four years on four residential streets — which will be a big help to people going to Friday prayers at the Windsor Mosque.

"People gather for the weekly prayers and it does get pretty busy," said Mirza Baig from the Windsor Islamic Association, also pointing out that around that time, there is also additional traffic from schools in the area.

"In one week you have a total of 168 hours, we're only talking about four hours. So the remaining 164 hours is still the same restrictions," he said. 

Previously, various parking restrictions were placed on parking on Mark Avenue, Everts Avenue, Curry Avenue and McKay Avenue. A report to council says opening up those streets during those hours equates to 92 additional parking spaces.

In May of 2017, Ward 10 Coun. Paul Borrelli submitted a petition from residents living on those streets, asking council to retain the parking restrictions.

While he understands some residents continue to have concerns about allowing parking on those streets, he said the bylaw amendment is a fair measure.

"I think accommodation for four hours, when people are at work, students are in class, I don't think it's all that incredible of a measure to allow this," said Borrelli.

He said there's a similar exception made for churchgoers on Sundays, which "nobody complains" about.

However, Ward 10 councillor-elect Jim Morrison said "it's not because the residents don't want to be neighbourly" that they're against the on-street parking.

"No traffic moves, it's very, very unsafe. Certainly no emergency vehicles could ever get through any of these streets," said Morrison.

For now, Baig said the association will stress to members of the mosque to use those street parking spots as "a last resort," and to look at carpooling, find parking elsewhere or arrive earlier to park at the mosque.

"We're going to keep reminding our congregation to not park on those parts as much as possible," he said.

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A file photo of the Windsor Mosque at 1320 Northwood Dr. in Windsor, Ont., on Oct. 18, 2013. (Chris Campbell / CTV Windsor)

Council voted 10-1 on Monday night to allow on-street parking on neighbouring streets between 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. during Friday prayer service.

The issue has been a contentious one in the south-end neighbourhood as residents have complained the area becomes a parking lot.

This is not going to solve the problem, said resident Jim Morrison, who is also the new councillor-elect in Ward 10. We need a bigger solution to this issue than just a few spots that are going to be a big problem for the residents."

Residents are worried the 3,500 people who attend the mosque on Fridays will turn their streets into parking lots. They also argue the move will threaten pedestrian safety and prevent access for emergency vehicles.

"If we are neighbours here, we can work this out, said Dr. Sinan Yasarlar, the director of public relations for the Windsor Islamic Association. This solution has to be enforced temporarily to satisfy all the parties in the area."

The mosque sits at one of the busiest corners in the city, at Northwood Street and Dominion Boulevard.

The Windsor Police Service is in the process of recruiting and hiring 24 new officers, but it may take time.