Tag Archives: parking

Posted in Montreal, Photos

Where’s a cop when you need one?

A row of cars parked in the middle of a high-traffic bike path on Boyer St.

A row of cars parked in the middle of a high-traffic bike lane on Boyer St.

It’s bad enough when a car ignores the signs and painted lines and decides to park in the middle of a bicycle lane – actually, straddling both bicycle lanes – but it’s even more annoying when other drivers follow the lead and park there too. Here we see at least half a dozen cars and vans parked on Boyer St., which is part of the Route Verte.

There were some mitigating circumstances here. There was construction in this area and the bikes were being detoured on to St. Hubert St. That also meant those green poles that normally separate the lane from the roadway were removed.

Still, there was no indication that the lane had been cancelled or that parking was allowed on it. So I wondered, where’s a cop – or a parking enforcement officer – when you need one?

A parking enforcement officer surveys the scene and chats with an errant driver

A parking enforcement officer surveys the scene and chats with an errant driver

A police officer on his bike leaves the scene without giving tickets or ensuring the vehicles are moved.

A police officer on his bike leaves the scene without giving tickets or ensuring the vehicles are moved.

Oh, there they are. They didn’t end up giving any tickets that I could see. The drivers agreed to move their cars, and the two officers left while most were still parked in the lane.

Still, it felt good to know that occasionally the authorities do notice these things.

Posted in Montreal, Photos

Creative Parking, Summer Edition

During the winter, when huge snowbanks are blocking the sides of streets, I’ve noticed many drivers like to bend the rules when it comes to where they can park their cars.

In the summer, I think it’s just laziness.

Bixi parking

Bixi parking (rear)

Really? You’re going to park across the entire Bixi station? Do you not know what it’s for? Has it not been talked about enough in the news that you don’t recognize it?

I know it used to be a parking space, but you don’t think the giant contraption (not to mention the red “no parking” bag over the meter post) might have been an indication not to park there?

No wonder we need garish concrete barriers installed next to these stations.

A fire hydrant at Sherbrooke and Clark forces this driver to park a bit ahead

A fire hydrant at Sherbrooke and Clark forces this driver to park a bit ahead

Then we have this guy (or girl), who decided to obey that don’t-park-in-front-of-the-fire-hydrant rule but disregard that don’t-park-too-close-to-intersections rule.

You'd think the fact that you have to park at an angle might be an indication you're too close to the corner.

You'd think the fact that you have to park at an angle might be an indication you're too close to the corner.

It looks like it's making a turn, but there's no one inside.

It looks like it's making a turn, but there's no one inside.

What gets me is I’m pretty sure I saw the same car parked the same way in the same space a few weeks earlier. Someone needs to give the driver a ticket or this behaviour is going to continue (or worse, spread).

Posted in Photos, West Island

How’s my driving?

Moving truck

I can’t begin to describe how illegal this driving is, except to note that the truck got into this position because it was trying to extricate itself from the bike path it had parked in … backwards.

Posted in Opinion, Public transit, West Island

Beaconsfield applies NIMBY to parking

Here’s a really short-sighted idea: Beaconsfield town council has approved a measure that would reserve 30 parking spaces near the Beaurepaire commuter train station only to permit-holding Beaconsfield residents.

While 30 spots at a station in Montreal’s equivalent to the middle of nowhere won’t make much of a difference in the long run, the worry is that this will become a trend. Other municipalities might enact similar measures, making it more difficult to park near train stations. Imagine if Pierrefonds restricted parking near the Roxboro and Sunnybrooke stations to only its residents, or if Montreal did the same for the Du Ruisseau station on the Deux-Montagnes line.

Such NIMBYism (while not foreign to Beaconsfield) is counter-productive to traffic problems and only serves to build walls between neighbouring towns.

Posted in Montreal

Creative parking

Creative parking 1

As the snow fell this weekend on Montreal, the post-snowfall ritual sprang into action. It usually starts with lots of people complaining about the fact that the snow hasn’t been plowed yet. The complaints come so fast I have a feeling they’re written before the snow starts falling in the first place. With the complaints come increasingly ludicrous suggestions on how to fix the problem, such as:

Almost all the letters are ignorant of just how much organization goes into plowing streets in Montreal, and assume that, without having spent a single second inside a snow plow, they know better how to efficiently clear streets.

Really, the complaints are more misplaced frustration at having to spend two hours digging out their car with a shovel when they were already late for work. Sadly, no magical solution has been found for that yet.

The city then gives a guesstimate about how long it will take to clear, overemphasizing the fact that more snow or rain will delay the operation.

Then, as the plows finally come by to clear the streets, car-owners who ignored no-parking signs panic to relocate them before getting a ticket.

The big difference this time is that the city decided to open up its paid parking lots for free overnight parking (when they’re not used anyway). Drivers can park their cars in them during snow-clearing operations, provided they get them out of there by 6am 7am (thanks Andy) the next day.

Except, because the move was poorly publicized (or because no one wants to get up that early), the lots sat unused this time.

So instead, drivers desperate for a place to park had to each solve the standard snowbank parking dilemma. When faced with a free spot knee-deep in snow, there are three options:

  1. Find some temporary place to stash the car and dig the spot out with a shovel, hoping nobody swoops in and steals the spot after you’ve cleared it (this also presents the recursive problem of where to put the car when you’re clearing the spot)
  2. Declare the spot unparkable, and keep going looking for another one, which most likely doesn’t exist
  3. Drive the car as far as it will go into the spot, and then give up, leaving it either parked diagonally, parked far from the curb, or both

The pictures below show some Montreal drivers who chose Option 3 on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

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Posted in Montreal, My articles, Technology

TWIM: Parking and Wi-Fi

This week on This Week in Me:

I speak to Ville-Marie’s Jacques-Alain Lavallée about how complicated on-street parking restriction signs are in Montreal. I’d been bounced around through about four or five people talking about this subject, but settled on the borough since boroughs set the policies for on-street parking. He notes that a lot of the restrictions come by request from residents and businesses who want space for deliveries, diplomatic vehicles, etc.

Perhaps the only controversial statement was his answer to why the signs are unilingual French:

The city of Montreal is a French organization. The signs are pretty visual and easy to understand, but as a French organization, the law allows us to have a French-only policy. All the signage on autoroutes is French (except on bridges, which are federal jurisdiction).

I’m sure that’ll satisfy the tourists who are trying to figure out what “MAR-JEU” means.

Also this week, I have a bluffer’s guide on the health risks involved with Wi-Fi. (No link because it’s not online — Page B5 of Saturday’s paper). I’ll post it in a week when the copyright clears, but in a nutshell there’s no proof that electromagnetic radiation causes cancer. The only thing it can do to human tissue is heat it up a bit. Whether that may cause long-term health effects is up for debate, but I find it unlikely to have a statistically significant impact.

Posted in Business, Montreal

A bicycle path isn’t the end of the world

Store owners are greedy. It’s hard to blame them, since the business they do is directly proportional to the money they get. A few slow weeks could put them out of business.

But the store owners are very pro-car. They want parking spaces. And when those spaces are taken away for reserved bus lanes on Park Ave., expanded sidewalks on Decarie Blvd., or a bike path on de Maisonneuve Blvd., they start screaming bloody murder. No thought is given to the idea that increased public transit might compensate for the loss of parking spaces, or to the idea that beautification of the area might encourage pedestrian traffic.

Instead, we get sky-is-falling exaggerations like this one:

“It could turn downtown into a ghost town,” he warned.

Really? A ghost town? When has a bicycle path ever turned a metropolis’s downtown into a ghost town?

“It’s an open-air shopping mall and people, especially higher-end customers, want to get there by car.”

“Who wants to go to a high-end restaurant by bus or by métro?” Parasuco asked.

Oh. Think of the embarrassment that would ensue if a high-end customer had to take – gasp – public transit!

Or they could just take a cab.

The problem with downtown parking is already there. People with cars go to Wal-Mart and Loblaws where ample parking is available. They park at strip-malls and go into the stores there. A trip downtown means circling for half an hour looking for a space at a meter.

The solution to this problem isn’t to encourage more cars, which is an entirely unsustainable idea. It’s to encourage public transit, walking and cycling as alternative methods of getting around.

Turn downtown into a pedestrian haven, and suddenly people are walking around doing a lot of shopping.

UPDATE: The Gazette agrees with me. And so does letter-writer Kim Smart.