With the highly-anticipated Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM) project on its way for 2023, there is still uncertainty in the air concerning how many parking spots will be available for local drivers in the West Island.
REM officials have confirmed there will be vehicle parking at two of four stations on the West Island, as part of the 26-station network. However, it is not yet known whether the park-and-ride option will be available at the Kirkland and Pointe Claire (Fairview) stations.
“In regards to the availability of parking at the Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue station, we have already secured 700 parking spots (Des Sources and Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue) and we are currently working to identify, analyze and eventually add other parking spots for the other stations,” Jean-Vincent Lacroix, spokesperson for REM, told the media.
Lacroix said there will be multiple ways of accessing the REM stations. “When the REM will be in service in 2023 on the Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue branch, many ways will be offered to users to access the stations: by bus, by active transport, by car, and other innovative mobile methods,” he said, adding that there is still time to add parking spots to the stations as construction moves forward.
Kirkland Mayor Michel Gibson hopes to see a parking component to the project, especially at the Kirkland station, which will be located near the RioCan retail mall and Colisée Kirkland cinemas. “We know for a fact there will be a drop-off zone for cars — there will be a bus terminal,” he told the media. “As for the actual number of parking spots, we know there are parking spots there. How many will be used by the CDPQ, and how many will be and what arrangement will they have with RioCan? We don’t know.”
Gibson is confident that the REM project will not become obsolete in the decades to come. “I would doubt it because there is a need for public transportation, fast transportation,” he told the media.”
Having more parking spaces will encourage people to use the REM, which will indirectly protect the environment, said Gibson. “I went to Toronto recently to see a baseball game with my son,” he told the media. “All along the highway, from Oshawa on, you have parking lots on three or four levels for the GO Train. They’ve got a system that is bar-none the best. And us, we’ve got our time of getting two parking spots.”
He added that the REM will also bring workers, visitors and citizens from other parts of Montreal to the West Island in addition to bringing West Islanders to downtown Montreal. “It’s a great project for the West Island,” he said. “Our economy was already booming but it will boom even more, and adding parking will make it more successful.”