Over the last few years residents of CDN’s Brighton Street have been struggling to find parking near their homes, despite owning residential parking permits. They believe their situation is grossly unfair and they want a solution.
Residents blame the proximity of institutions such as Brébeuf, HEC Montréal and Ste. Justine for the heavy traffic on the street at rush hour, as students and workers scour the area for available parking.
In individual interviews with residents from both ends of Brighton Street, many complained about the lack of parking spaces and the heavy influx of non-residential cars looking to park and causing nearly constant traffic woes.
Peter Koziris, self-described as “a long-time activist for pedestrian safety and traffic calming,” says he was “mostly brushed off” when he tried to bring up the issue with borough director Stéphane Plante last week.
Despite attempts made by Les Actualités, Plante could not be reached for comment.
Koziris believes that 30-40 per cent of the spaces are reserved for residents with permits and would like to see it increased to at least 50 per cent.
“If you look at other areas in Montreal that have major institutions like McGill University or the Children’s Hospital, it’s all residential parking everywhere – visitors and workers have to pay,” he said.
“We have residents coming and parking on Brighton from Linton, Hudson and McShane, and when we ask them why, they say there isn’t space on their own streets,” he added, noting that it only gets worse in winter when many parking spots are lost due to the snow.
Residents currently pay $60 for their first parking permit and double that for a second permit. Many are starting to regret buying them, seeing how few spots there are.
One afternoon last week, 67-year-old Felix Benabou parked his car where he always has, in front of his modest residence near the intersection of Brighton and Hudson, only to be faced with an $86 ticket from the City of Montreal later that day.
To his dismay, he later found out that the city had removed two residential parking spots that very day, including the one he had chosen that morning.
“We ask for more and they take some away,” he said.
Benabou has been living there for 14 years and said he can’t believe how bad the situation has become.
“Look around, when my children come to visit, where are they supposed to park?” he asked.
Marion Markowitz has been living on Brighton Street since 1949, when her father bought one of the first houses on the street.
“We were here before the hospital, and back then nobody would come on the street unless they lived here. Now we’re living in a residential area with no parking. It’s utter chaos!” she said.
After a recent accident, she now walks with a cane. Occasionally, she says, she has to park as far away as the closest shopping centre, taking her as long as 20 minutes to walk home.
“It’s a total disaster,” added Nancy Bucovetsky, a senior who also lives on Brighton.
“In truth, when I have to come home by myself, I don’t particularly like to have to walk by myself that far alone at night,” she said.
“And it’s not getting better, it’s getting worse!”
Photo: Jesse Feith