Residents exploring ways to fix Rouge Beach’s decades-long parking problem

Parking has been an issue at Rouge Beach for at least 40 years. The Green Line's Anita Li takes a look at possible solutions, which would stop cars from parking all over the neighbouring residential streets.

By Anita Li

Instead of fun in the sun on the beach, people in the West Rouge are spending their time driving in circles looking for somewhere to park their car.

On weekends, residents say parking around Rouge Beach gets so busy that cars spill over into the surrounding neighbourhood.

“When you look at a map of Scarborough … there’s only two access points to the beach,” said Glenn De Baeremaeker, former city councillor for Scarborough Centre.

De Baeremaeker spent 15 years on council dealing with similar issues at Scarborough’s only other beach in Bluffer’s Park.

“Bluffers and Rouge have the same problem … lack of access.”

The lack of available parking spaces has also become a safety issue for nearby residents.


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Christyne Gautheir has lived in West Rouge for over four years and said she’s watched the problem get worse over time, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The streets are very narrow. There are no sidewalks. People would park on both sides of the street, so pedestrians would end up walking in middle of street, so clearly dangerous situation,” said Gauthier.

“When we invest in our city, we have to invest in all the city.”

Community members have begun offering possible solutions, including shuttling people in from the Rouge Hill GO Station parking lot, converting the grassy boulevard along Lawrence Avenue East into parking or constructing a tunnel under the train tracks at the entrance of the park to save people the long trip up and down the hill to Rouge Beach.

These solutions could stop cars from parking all over the neighbouring residential streets.

To complicate things even more, Parks Canada is planning to construct a two-kilometre boardwalk trail as part of its Rouge Beach improvements project.

Some residents, like Gautheir say it’ll bring more traffic to the already overflowing parking lots.

“I think the community is nervous about proceeding with such a big project [boardwalk] in the absence of a solution.”

But this isn’t just an issue of limited accessibility and safety concerns, for De Baeremaeker, this is a community that’s looking for investment from the city.

“When we invest in our city, we have to invest in all the city. If you go to downtown Toronto, you can get to the beach. You can get to the waterfront. And why would anyone come to Scarborough if you can’t get access to the beauty that’s here,” said De Baeremaeker.

West Rouge is the neighbourhood featured this week on CityNews’ Your Community. Find out more on the neighbourhood and other Toronto neighbourhoods CityNews has profiled here.

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