No more free parking spots in Montreal?

Click to play video: 'Call to remove all free street parking in Montreal sparks controversy'
Call to remove all free street parking in Montreal sparks controversy
Local environmental group Conseil régional de l'environnement de Montréal (CRE-Montréal) is proposing a long list of actions for Montreal to address mobility concerns. The group claims a large part of Montreal's budget is dedicated to maintaining parking spots and that important savings could be made if free parking were eliminated. But as Global's Gloria Henriquez reports, that proposition isn't sitting well with everyone. – Mar 7, 2023

An environmental group is calling for the City of Montreal to do away with its free parking.

In a report, the Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal (CRE-Montreal) makes 23 recommendations to improve mobility in the city.

Among them is that Montreal charge for its free parking spots.

Blaise Rémillard is responsible for the group’s urbanism and mobility initiatives. Rémillard believes the move makes financial and environmental sense.

“And it makes sense for business, too, and it makes sense for Montrealers who want safe, quiet streets and places they can go by foot to shop or to work,” Rémillard said.

According to the CRE-Montreal, each parking spot costs the city $1,275 annually.

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With around 450,000 free parking spots available across Montreal, the group estimates that could earn the city $573.7 million a year.

“It’s a big waste of money,” said Rémillard. “It’s half a billion per year, so the value is 100 times the value we put into helping homeless people in Montreal. It’s a new Rapid Bus Service on Pie-IX every 18 months, so it’s huge.”

Rémillard says tariffs would be implemented gradually, starting in neighbourhoods where there is good public transit, such as the Plateau-Mont-Royal, where Charlotte Whyte lives.

“I think it’s a good idea and it’s good to raise people’s awareness of it, but I think the culprits are these huge corporations that are emitting tons and tons of CO2 emissions a year,” Whyte said.

Meanwhile the head of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM) calls charging for parking “excessive”.

“At this moment, what we need more is people using public transit, of course that should be the focus,” said Michel Leblanc, the CEO and president of CCMM. “We should not lever new taxes on owners of cars just because they need to own a car.

The City of Montreal says they don’t envision implementing such a measure in the short term.

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“We welcome the report brought forward by the CRE, the vision carried throughout the document meets the city’s when it comes to equitable sharing of the road between all users and leveraging parking as a tool for mobility and sustainable urbanism,” said a statement from Sophie Mauzerolle, Montreal’s executive committee member responsible for urban planning.

Mauzerolle added that they are studying ways to encourage people to take public transit or use car sharing services instead.

“In order to get there, we need to first ensure we enhance our active and collective mobility offers and we are for sure working with our partners,” Mauzerolle wrote.

Click to play video: 'Mind where you park: Montreal snow-removal operations underway'
Mind where you park: Montreal snow-removal operations underway

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