March 16, 2016 1:40 pm
Updated: March 16, 2016 5:58 pm

Pricey parking in Montreal hurting businesses, says Board of Trade

WATCH ABOVE: The Board of Trade wants the city to reduce parking fees in Montreal. As Global's Kelly Greig reports, it says businesses are hurting because rates are much too high.

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MONTREAL – Finding a parking spot can be a pain in Montreal – and that includes to the pocketbook.

So, how can we improve parking in the city?

Montreal’s Board of Trade released a long list of recommendations that include reducing rates to make sure shoppers want to come downtown.

Montreal is middle of the road in terms of parking rates compared to other Canadian cities.

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READ MORE: Montreal tests new digital parking signs in pilot project

Rates are $3/hour compared to $2.50/hour in Ottawa and up to $4/hour in Toronto.

Alain Creton, President of the Peel Street Merchants Association, said this year is exceptionally bad because construction has already cut into their revenue.

“The parking has been like that since forever, but lately, because of construction all the people from downtown are having a hard time,” he said.

For months, the city has been looking at ways to improve parking.

Montreal’s current policy was written in 1957.

READ MORE: Montreal promises to fix notoriously confusing parking signs

A series of public meetings have been held to open the floor to suggestions.

“You have 19 different kinds of parking,” said Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre.

“You need to have one policy. We need to be open and listen to those in the field and the importance of parking, in the residents’ perspective and for the economic development perspective.”

READ MORE: Need to find parking in Montreal? There’s an app for that

The City of Montreal has taken steps to improve the efficiency of parking, like allowing people to pay from their phones using an app, but many insisted there’s still room for improvement.

“Make it cheaper in the afternoon?” suggested Creton.

“This is the way to attract people downtown, to be flexible at different hours. Why are you charging until 9 p.m.?”

Last year, Montreal made $50 million from parking meters alone.

Without change, the Board of Trade said motorists will stay away from the city and merchants will be the ones to pay the price.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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