West Island REM stations need more parking spots
When the REM (light-rail transit) system was first announced, West Island commuters rejoiced as they were finally going to have access to a viable system offering them efficient and reliable transportation across the island – something the municipalities have been wanting for years, if not decades. They were going to be able to avoid the hours upon hours spent in traffic in their cars or the long haul of connecting bus, train and metro systems to get to work, school or appointments in the city – a city they contribute to greatly. After dropping off their children at daycare centres or schools they would be able to simply park at one of the six West Island REM stations and travel into town in less time than it ever took before – repeating the pattern in reverse at the end of the day, often even longer because of having to run errands.
But after all the promises, the REM is not coming through with the most essential thing needed to accommodate the many potential users of the system; enough parking spots for their cars at the stations.
For some reason REM officials think people in the West Island will leave their cars at home then simply grab a bus, with children, backpacks and bags in tow, do the rounds and then grab another bus to the closest REM station to get to work or appointments. It almost seems as if they have no idea how the West Island is set up or they have never set foot in the area. Just to get to a bus stop located on one of the main streets is often far away from the residential areas where people live – far enough that the inconvenience and time it would take to get finally get to a REM station makes no sense at all. Most residents will opt out of using the new system and stick to their cars.
Parking lots are now in question for the KIRKLAND station, it was originally supposed to have around 1800 spots – and the POINTE CLAIRE station at Fairview was to have 650 parking spaces, but that number is apparently being reduced. Station DES SOURCES is supposed to have a parking lot with approximately 500 spaces and Station SAINT-ANNE-DE-BELLEVUE with around 200 spaces. But it is still unclear exactly how many parking spots will be available as nothing has been fully confirmed. At the PIERREFONDS-ROXBORO and SUNNYBROOKE stations, REM users are supposed to be able to park their cars in the existing parking spaces for the Deux-Montagnes train line – but given the changes and confusion to date nothing is sure or if it is even enough. So far the answers being given to these questions and uncertainties are that ‘bus networks will be revised to optimize feeder service to REM’s stations’ – short of inspiring any confidence that things will be done right for West Island commuters for once and for always.
By: Bonnie Wurst – firstname.lastname@example.org