Montreal

Curfew leaves some Montrealers scrambling to move their cars before snow-removal operations

The second snow-removal operation of the season started on Sunday at 7 a.m., with hospitals, access to public transit networks and major arteries a top priority. 

City makes a few changes now that residents aren't allowed to move their car between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Snow-removal operations in Montreal can be a headache for car owners who have to remember to move their vehicles before the machines come through. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Montreal resident Alexandre Cherton checked his street for any orange "no parking" signs before leaving his car next to the curb.

There weren't any, so he headed into his apartment, thinking his car would be safe from tow trucks for at least another day since the city will remove any vehicle blocking snow-removal operations.

Cherton was dismayed when he finally noticed the signs at 9 p.m., but he wasn't allowed outside. The province's curfew went into effect an hour before and moving his car before 5 a.m. would mean risking a hefty fine.

That gave him a two-hour window Monday to get his car safely out of harm's way, as towing could start as early as 7 a.m.

"This morning we had to wake up earlier to put the car elsewhere, make sure we don't get fined or get towed," Cherton said. "So it could be managed a little bit better by the city."

Sud-Ouest Coun. Craig Sauve says he is looking into Cherton's complaints.

"You know there's thousands and thousands and thousands of these signs that go up and down every day but we can trace it back hopefully and help him with this," he said.

But the city has put in a few extra measures this year, recognizing the curfew is creating a bit of a headache for car owners who need to move their vehicle when the infamous "no parking" signs go up.

Alexandre Cherton thought his car could stay where he parked it for the night. He only found out after curfew that he had to move his car before 7 a.m. the next day. (Franca Mignacca/CBC)

The second snow-removal operation of the season started on Sunday at 7 a.m., with hospitals, access to public transit networks and major arteries a top priority. 

In a statement, the city says parking-prohibited signs, which are usually installed up until 8 p.m. for snow-loading starting the next day at 7 a.m., will be installed before 7 p.m.

This is aimed at giving people an extra hour to move their cars before curfew.

Montreal also added nearly 3,000 free parking spaces to various municipal facilities for a total of 8,400. These spaces are available during snow-loading operations.

Additionally, the city says people can park for free in any off-street park-and-ride spots between 3 p.m. and 5 a.m. during snow-removal days.

Of course, the parking lots are sometimes closed when snow-removal operations are scheduled there as well, the city says.

Due to the curfew, snow-removal vehicles will stop activating their sirens after 7:30 p.m. to warn people to move their car.

While residents are expected to adhere to both the snow-removal signs and the curfew, Montreal police will use their best judgment in an exceptional case where a car must be moved, the city says.

Issuing fines for a curfew violation is completely up to the discretion of officers.

The city publishes all information about snow operations, free parking spaces and towing on its website.

with files from Franca Mignacca

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