September 14, 2018 12:13 pm

REM construction at South Shore parking lot frustrates drivers

Five hundred parking spaces have been closed at the Panama bus terminal in Borossard to facilitate REM construction. (Global News)

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It’s been a rough week at the Panama bus terminal parking lot in Brossard.

To facilitate construction on the new Réseau express métropolitain (REM) station, 500 out of 1,500 spots were closed at the Panama terminal parking lot last week. A further 30 spaces will also be closed later this year.

Now some drivers say they even have to wake up extra early to get one of the remaining spots.

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“Because you never know,” says Chantal Reed on her way to catch an express bus at the terminal. “If there’s no parking there, where am I going to park?”

Authorities say they’re building new infrastructure as they ramp up preparations for the electric train.

“To build a temporary bus terminal,” explains REM Spokesperson Jean-Vincent Lacroix. “We want to keep the access for express buses until the REM is in service.”

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Once it’s built, work will start on building the REM station at the old terminus.

But several drivers were caught by surprise when the 500 spaces disappeared. Many who parked at a strip mall across the street had their cars towed. That space is now closed and reserved just for clients.

But 350 places are now available nearby.

“Right now there’s some parking space at Loblaw’s that are available and we invite users to take them,” explains Lacroix, referring to the parking lot of a closed Loblaw’s supermarket across the street from the terminal. But it fills up quickly.

“See, I just arrived and already there’s no place here,” driver Jessica Joseph tells Global News, explaining that when she arrived Thursday, there were so many cars, some were parked on a median separating the parking lanes.

Because of the lack of space, others are forcing several drivers, like Paul Richard, to park several blocks away.

“The closest residential area where you might be able to park,” he says, “would take at least 10 minutes to walk!”

READ MORE: REM construction blamed for new commuter train delays

The REM is working to find other parking spaces.

In the meantime, authorities are encouraging people to use public transport to get to the terminus whenever possible.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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