"We think the problem should be put at the doorstep of the Can Company," said Dan Tracy, vice president of the Canton Community Association. "The No. 1 quality-of-life issue in Canton is parking. There's just too many cars for the available on-street parking. It's not a new issue. We've been dealing with it for a long time."

Street parking near the Can Company became a flash point last year when a group of residents, including Beczkowski, who live in an eight-square-block area near the complex petitioned the Parking Authority to institute residential permit parking.

Spaces are scarce in that part of Canton. A Parking Authority study last year found there are about 220 parking spaces for 216 houses in the eight-block area. Since many households have more than one car, parking is tight already — and then each day, workers from the Can Company flood the streets looking for parking.

The study showed that 72 percent of the vehicles parked in the area during the day were not owned by neighborhood residents. That fell only to 63 percent in the evening, according to the study.

The residents' group got their section of Canton its parking permit requirement. Area 43 is now one of 18 areas in the city where residents are required to buy annual permits to park, as a way to limit visitors from overextending their parking times, according to the Parking Authority.

Visitors have a two-hour parking limit, unless they have guest passes. Those without a permit between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight are issued a $52 citation, according to Steve Robinson, a Parking Authority supervisor. After multiple citations, a driver's car could be towed.

"It took the [residential permit parking] process to get the businesses to the table, to start talking," Beczkowski said

The Can Company's property management firm entered into a joint contract with the Department of Transportation to create a transportation management plan that will help tenants of the complex find sustainable parking options and modes of transportation, Robinson said.

"A similar plan was done for the business community of the Inner Harbor, which helped to relieve parking demand significantly," he wrote in an email response to questions from The Baltimore Sun.

Parking has improved for Area 43 residents, but Can Company workers have started parking in other parts of Canton, Tracy said. Now, residents in those sections want their own permit parking, he said.

As a last resort, the city could implement permit parking for all of Canton, Councilman Kraft said.

Some in the community, including business leaders and Kraft, said they've tried to get Safeway, which owns a large parking lot, to be a part of the solution.

Craig Muckle, a Safeway spokesman, said the company would be willing to discuss parking problems with the community groups. In the past, he said, the store has allowed some of its spots to be rented to neighboring businesses.

But the lot is critical to the store's operation, Muckle said. In other locations, the company has found that when it has allowed the community to use its lot, it appears full and that deters potential customers.

Muckle said the company is exploring whether to put meters in the parking lot and make it available for anyone willing to pay. Safeway customers would get a period of free parking for shopping at the store, he said. But the company hasn't made any decisions.

"If someone wants to discuss it with us, we'll be open to it," Muckle said. "But I'm not suggesting 'open' means we're going to accede."



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