Outremont plans to remove free street parking amid environmental push

Cars are parked on a Mile End street in the Plateau-Mont-Royal neighbourhood. Francis Vachon/The Canadian Press

Outremont Mayor Philipe Tomlinson wants to eliminate free parking along the tree-lined streets of his picturesque Montreal borough.

The proposal, which was announced on Thursday, would allow residents to purchase annual parking permits or vignettes to park anywhere in the area. Drivers from outside the borough will be able to purchase daily or monthly passes in order to park in Outremont.

Outremont is well-served by the city’s public transit services and enforcing stricter parking regulations would encourage people to ditch their cars, according to Tomlinson.

“We have the opportunity to be innovative with our parking spaces, to put our residents first and foremost, and that’s what we’ll do by the end of the summer of 2019,” he said in a statement.

READ MORE: Outremont tests out 3D crosswalk in hopes of slowing down drivers

The number of cars in Outremont increased by 10 per cent over a five-year period between 2008 and 2013. The borough says more than 50 per cent of visitors to the area travel by vehicle.

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In Outremont, about 60 per cent of street parking is currently free. The other 40 per cent of parking is reserved for residents with vignettes or imposes a two-hour parking limit.

Wiping out free parking would allow the borough to carry out necessary work and revamp streets to make them more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, according to Tomlinson.

“We can’t work on them,” he said. “We can’t see the possibilities, because day after day there is always cars so it’s difficult to do permanent improvements.”

READ MORE: Montreal announces new road safety measures on Mount Royal

The move comes amid a growing environmental push in Montreal. Earlier this week, the Valérie Plante administration announced details of its expansive bike network in a bid to promote active transit among city dwellers.

New safety measures will also be implemented on Mount Royal to make it safer for all users this summer. These include reducing traffic in the green space and implementing designated lanes for cyclists and pedestrians.

Outremont plans to use the money from parking permits to invest in greenery, including planting trees, funding urban agriculture and creating green alleyways.

The borough is expected to adopt the motion in early June. No parking signs will start going up in August and the plan will be fully rolled out across Outremont by the end of October.

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WATCH: Plateau Mayor Luc Ferrandez quits political life

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Plateau-Mont-Royal Mayor Luc Ferrandez quits – May 15, 2019

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