March 14, 2019 6:35 pm
Updated: March 14, 2019 6:36 pm

Pointe-Claire mayor voices concerns as REM to eliminate thousands of parking spots

In Montreal's West Island, some mayors are upset over revised plans for the REM stations. As Global's Tim Sargeant reports, thousands of parking spots have been eliminated from future stations.

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Users hoping to park and ride on the future electric rapid rail system known as the REM — or Réseau express métropolitain — are feeling like the doors are being shut on them.

REM officials are eliminating thousands of parking places, especially in the West Island.

The station at Pointe-Claire will lose all of its parking spots. REM originally proposed 1,500 parking spaces in 2016.

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Kirkland is also losing all of its 500 places as originally promised. The future station in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue will see its parking places reduced to 200 from the 2,000 originally announced in 2016.

READ MORE: New Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge plans don’t include space for REM — for now

“Well, absolutely we’re concerned because we want the REM to work. It’s a great project but the way it’s going to work is if people can feel comfortable driving there, parking their car and getting on to go somewhere,” Pointe-Claire Mayor John Belvedere said.

Belvedere says the West Island isn’t built like downtown or its immediate surroundings. He doesn’t think the local bus network can meet the demands to move people from their homes to the train stations.

However, the spokesperson for the REM insists changes will be made to help move people around.

READ MORE: REM officials lay out mitigation measures for commuters as construction ramps up

Harout Chitilian insists the culture around car use will change in the long term.

“What we see right now is a great potential to gradually make a shift from a car-centric development to a transit-oriented development. But that will not happen overnight,” Chitilian said.

The REM line through the West Island is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2023.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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