Montreal maintains the status quo on the parking meter schedule
Olivier Zuida Le Devoir The announcement of the extension of pricing hours last month raised an outcry from traders.
After the controversy surrounding the extension of parking meter charging hours last month, the administration of Valérie Plante decided to maintain the moratorium on the project “until further notice”.
“We took the concerns of the partners very seriously and it is in this perspective that we went to meet them over the past two weeks. We will take the time necessary to continue our discussions,” said the head of transport and mobility on the Montreal executive committee, Sophie Mauzerolle, in a statement sent to the media on Monday.
During the weekly meeting of the executive committee this Wednesday, elected officials will adopt an ordinance to maintain the status quo on the parking meter pricing schedule. “And if there are any changes, we will communicate them in advance and in due form,” said the elected official.
Recall that in mid-April, the daily The Gazette had reported that a new fare schedule was now in effect downtown as well as in several boroughs. On weekdays in downtown, the pricing period was to extend until 11 p.m., instead of 9 p.m. On Saturdays, parking was to be paid from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., instead of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., instead of 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The news had raised an outcry from traders who had not heard of these changes. The Société de développement commercial (SDC) Montréal centre-ville had said it was “firmly” opposed to the application of the new schedule and had requested a moratorium of at least one year on the schedule change in order to allow an evaluation of the project.
The Plante administration, which itself was unaware of the entry into force of a new schedule, had suspended the measure for two weeks, the time to consult traders and partners.
On Monday morning, the opposition for its part demanded that the administration give up the project. “She tried to give a quick one to the people of Montreal,” accused Ensemble Montreal leader Aref Salem. He criticized the administration for having buried the proposed schedule change in a voluminous document on rates submitted to the municipal council last December without publicizing it or consulting merchants beforehand.
“The least we can do is for the mayor to come out and tell Montrealers: here's the change to come. Not do it on the sly and wait for some media to announce it,” Salem said. The elected official admitted that the information was in the budget document adopted by the city council in December, but that the opposition had not seen it. Ensemble Montréal, however, voted against the City's 2024 budget.
According to the opposition, extending parking meter rates to 11 p.m. penalizes downtown residents and motorists traveling to Montreal to enjoy cultural events and frequent restaurants. She therefore wishes that the administration does not follow up on it. At the municipal council meeting on May 15, Ensemble Montréal will present a motion to amend the By-law on fees and restore the schedule previously in effect.