AMT’s paid parking pilot initiative poses dilemma for Pierrefonds-Roxboro

Anthony Abbondanza
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An AMT pilot project targeting Roxboro-Pierrefonds Train Station will cause a safety dilemma in the surrounding neighbourhoods, according to the borough's mayor, Dimitrios (Jim) Beis.

Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough mayor Jim Beis is upset Roxboro Train Station was among five train and metro stations selected for the AMT’s paid parking pilot project.

Effective tomorrow, 20 per cent of the train station's 887 parking spaces will be reserved for paying customers; the result is roughly 170 fewer free spots, leaving those incapable of paying the required $80 monthly fee stuck without parking.

"To me you're catering to the segment of the population that can pay. What about those who can't? We have to serve our community and all equally. An initiative like paid parking separates the users," said the mayor, adding the option left for customers without a parking spot is to either take their car to work or park on neighbouring streets near the train station, causing secondary problems.

The latter has long been a safety issue for the borough, said Beis, one which city officials were forced to correct by enacting parking bylaws last year, prohibiting parking on streets near the train station.

The borough has already responded by coordinating with the Societe Transport de Montreal (STM) in adding two new bus 407 stops in front of borough hall, so as to encourage residents to take public transit to travel to the train station.

Roxboro-Pierrefonds Train Station is one among six train and metro stops included in the AMT's pilot project, announced late May. Prices range $50-$110 each month depending on the available parking space at each station.

The provincial transport authority's spokesperson Claudia Martin told The Chronicle surveyed customers were in favour of the paid parking scheme, noting the value of "guaranteed space."

While customers were surveyed and public consultation meetings took place, mayor Beis was shocked to learn Roxboro-Pierrefonds Train Station was selected as part of the pilot project two months ago following a discussion with AMT officials.

The borough was not consulted, added Beis, and that "as partners, all efforts should have been made way in advance to communicate this information together so we could have come up with a solution."

According to Martin, AMT head Nicolas Girard spoke personally to all municipalities impacted by pilot project such as Deux-Montagnes, Terrebonne, Ste. Therese, and Pierrefonds-Roxboro among others.

The project is expected to last between six to 12 months, after which AMT officials will evaluate the paid parking scheme.

"After the evaluation, we'll consider implementing the tariffs to more stations," said Martin.

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Organizations: AMT, Roxboro-Pierrefonds Train Station, Societe Transport de Montreal The Chronicle

Geographic location: Deux-Montagnes, Terrebonne

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